Champions Trophy 2017

The Champions Trophy 2017 proves that cricket can’t just be about the Big Three

This was a tournament which was supposed to showcase the inequality of world cricket. Then Pakistan happened.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this, right?

The background theme was set up to be more valedictory. England, Australia and India were here to waltz through the group stage and then fight between themselves for a world title. They probably wouldn’t have minded South Africa joining them. This was the Champions Trophy, after all – and even if the Proteas were expected to choke, the No 1 one-day team in the world were mostly supposed to wait till the semi-final stage to do that. Remember how large the gap between the top four and the next four was supposed to be?

This was supposed to be a celebration of the brilliant over the inept. Of consistency over capriciousness. England, “brave”, “new” England, who had plotted and planned for the last two years with the sole aim of winning this title. World champions Australia here with their fast bowlers to crush everyone over and collect (yet) another title.

Then there was India. Led by a modern great of this generation – Virat Kohli. Packed with a team of pedigree and panache. Here to defend the prize they had won in 2013. It should have all come together so well. The best-laid plans, after all.

Tearing up the script

Instead we got Sri Lanka. Yes, Sri Lanka, who started the rebellion, posting a measured, calm chase to stun – would you believe it? – the “chasemasters” themselves, India. Sri Lanka, who showed that despite the loss of legends like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, they still had talent and style in abundance. Style and chutzpah that could defeat even Virat Kohli. Don’t believe? Go, check out Kusal Mendis’s alluring strokeplay. I’ll wait.

Of course, Sri Lanka didn’t actually make it to the semi-finals, despite that barn-storming win over India. Instead, we got Bangladesh. Yeah, the same “Bangladesh are an ordinary side” Bangladesh. Rain gave them an opening against Australia, then they ripped into that opening and proceeded to eliminate World Cup finalists New Zealand. Oh, and by the way, they did so after recovering from 33/4. England kept up their end of the bargain, by disposing of old rivals Australia. Yes, Bangladesh, Bangladesh, were in the semi-finals of an ICC global tournament.

A green force of nature

India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and England in the semi-finals. That’s the sixth-ranked (eighth at the beginning of the tournament) and the seventh-ranked team joining No 3 and No 4. Not what you’d have expected, right? But, you’d still take it. A bit of a wobble, but nothing much. Two out of four, after all. India and England would make the final. “Everyone wants to see an India-England final,” said Kohli on June 13.

Instead, he got Pakistan. And not just the old, meek, object-of-derision Pakistan. He got a Pakistan which decided, enough is enough. Mercurial, unpredictable, erratic? Who us, they asked. Yes, replied an entire cricketing world, still unable to come to terms with how they had come this far after India had handed out a proper 124-run thrashing in their first match of the tournament.

So Pakistan pulled one last rabbit out of their hat. They decided to tap into their inner Australia, circa 2003. Perhaps, even they did not know it even existed, but it worked – England were roughed up, slashed and bundled. Ben Stokes, he of the mighty swing and the mighty smash, wasn’t even allowed to croak in a wimpy little 64-ball 34. Their batsmen, as if daring the world to ask them to collapse, defiantly and insolently smashed Eoin Morgan’s men all across Cardiff. For all of England’s planning, for all England’s best-laid-plans to win a world title, they were shown the door at their own party.

But it was against England, right? India was going be more than a match. Right? Right? Right?

South Africa, England, India…they’re all the same, replied Pakistan insolently. And they stuck to their word. Look guys, it’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, supposedly two of world cricket’s best spinners. Let’s hammer them all over the park. Hey, look, there’s their special talent Jasprit Bumrah. Let’s give him the kitchen sink and see how fares.

Unbelievably clinical

But India are the chasemasters, said defiant fans after that first-innings carnage. But hey, here’s Mohammed Amir bounding in. Doesn’t Rohit Sharma want everyone to stop talking about him? Maybe they will now – and talk more about how Amir ripped through his defences and struck him plumb in front.

No worries, here’s Kohli, the king of a chase. Okay, he just got himself out twice in two deliveries. What about finisher MS Dhoni? Accounted for. Yuvraj Singh? Done. Shikhar Dhawan? Check, check and check….and that’s the lot.

The Champions Trophy was a tournament to showcase the inequalities of world cricket. A chance for cricket lovers to see how far the best have progressed and how far back in the distance, the rest have been left behind. Instead, the beauty of sport means that Pakistan, written off, criticised, lampooned, laughed at, derided, has defeated the No 1 ODI team, the “fearless” hosts and their supposed bogey team to lift a world title after eight long years.

The Champions Trophy may not be a World Cup. It may still not provide enough context. But this edition of the tournament has proven an important point. Cricket is not just about India’s mechanical precision, Australia’s bulldog tenacity and England’s hard graft. Cricket is also about the magic of Sri Lanka’s papare band, the roar of Bangladesh’s passionate tigers and the ludicrous joy of Sarfaraz Ahmed rushing to the fans in a victory which resonates across a cricket-deprived nation.

In a nutshell, thank you, Pakistan, for making cricket equal again. Bring on West Indies next time!

It's that winning feeling for Shoaib Malik. (Image credit: Reuters Staff)
It's that winning feeling for Shoaib Malik. (Image credit: Reuters Staff)
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

India’s urban water crisis calls for an integrated approach

We need solutions that address different aspects of the water eco-system and involve the collective participation of citizens and other stake-holders.

According to a UN report, around 1.2 billion people, or almost one fifth of the world’s population, live in areas where water is physically scarce and another 1.6 billion people, or nearly one quarter of the world’s population, face economic water shortage. They lack basic access to water. The criticality of the water situation across the world has in fact given rise to speculations over water wars becoming a distinct possibility in the future. In India the problem is compounded, given the rising population and urbanization. The Asian Development Bank has forecast that by 2030, India will have a water deficit of 50%.

Water challenges in urban India

For urban India, the situation is critical. In 2015, about 377 million Indians lived in urban areas and by 2030, the urban population is expected to rise to 590 million. Already, according to the National Sample Survey, only 47% of urban households have individual water connections and about 40% to 50% of water is reportedly lost in distribution systems due to various reasons. Further, as per the 2011 census, only 32.7% of urban Indian households are connected to a piped sewerage system.

Any comprehensive solution to address the water problem in urban India needs to take into account the specific challenges around water management and distribution:

Pressure on water sources: Rising demand on water means rising pressure on water sources, especially in cities. In a city like Mumbai for example, 3,750 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of water, including water for commercial and industrial use, is available, whereas 4,500 MLD is needed. The primary sources of water for cities like Mumbai are lakes created by dams across rivers near the city. Distributing the available water means providing 386,971 connections to the city’s roughly 13 million residents. When distribution becomes challenging, the workaround is to tap ground water. According to a study by the Centre for Science and Environment, 48% of urban water supply in India comes from ground water. Ground water exploitation for commercial and domestic use in most cities is leading to reduction in ground water level.

Distribution and water loss issues: Distribution challenges, such as water loss due to theft, pilferage, leaky pipes and faulty meter readings, result in unequal and unregulated distribution of water. In New Delhi, for example, water distribution loss was reported to be about 40% as per a study. In Mumbai, where most residents get only 2-5 hours of water supply per day, the non-revenue water loss is about 27% of the overall water supply. This strains the municipal body’s budget and impacts the improvement of distribution infrastructure. Factors such as difficult terrain and legal issues over buildings also affect water supply to many parts. According to a study, only 5% of piped water reaches slum areas in 42 Indian cities, including New Delhi. A 2011 study also found that 95% of households in slum areas in Mumbai’s Kaula Bunder district, in some seasons, use less than the WHO-recommended minimum of 50 litres per capita per day.

Water pollution and contamination: In India, almost 400,000 children die every year of diarrhea, primarily due to contaminated water. According to a 2017 report, 630 million people in the South East Asian countries, including India, use faeces-contaminated drinking water source, becoming susceptible to a range of diseases. Industrial waste is also a major cause for water contamination, particularly antibiotic ingredients released into rivers and soils by pharma companies. A Guardian report talks about pollution from drug companies, particularly those in India and China, resulting in the creation of drug-resistant superbugs. The report cites a study which indicates that by 2050, the total death toll worldwide due to infection by drug resistant bacteria could reach 10 million people.

A holistic approach to tackling water challenges

Addressing these challenges and improving access to clean water for all needs a combination of short-term and medium-term solutions. It also means involving the community and various stakeholders in implementing the solutions. This is the crux of the recommendations put forth by BASF.

The proposed solutions, based on a study of water issues in cities such as Mumbai, take into account different aspects of water management and distribution. Backed by a close understanding of the cost implications, they can make a difference in tackling urban water challenges. These solutions include:

Recycling and harvesting: Raw sewage water which is dumped into oceans damages the coastal eco-system. Instead, this could be used as a cheaper alternative to fresh water for industrial purposes. According to a 2011 World Bank report, 13% of total freshwater withdrawal in India is for industrial use. What’s more, the industrial demand for water is expected to grow at a rate of 4.2% per year till 2025. Much of this demand can be met by recycling and treating sewage water. In Mumbai for example, 3000 MLD of sewage water is released, almost 80% of fresh water availability. This can be purified and utilised for industrial needs. An example of recycled sewage water being used for industrial purpose is the 30 MLD waste water treatment facility at Gandhinagar and Anjar in Gujarat set up by Welspun India Ltd.

Another example is the proposal by Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) to recycle and reclaim sewage water treated at its existing facilities to meet the secondary purposes of both industries and residential complexes. In fact, residential complexes can similarly recycle and re-use their waste water for secondary purposes such as gardening.

Also, alternative rain water harvesting methods such as harvesting rain water from concrete surfaces using porous concrete can be used to supplement roof-top rain water harvesting, to help replenish ground water.

Community initiatives to supplement regular water supply: Initiatives such as community water storage and decentralised treatment facilities, including elevated water towers or reservoirs and water ATMs, based on a realistic understanding of the costs involved, can help support the city’s water distribution. Water towers or elevated reservoirs with onsite filters can also help optimise the space available for water distribution in congested cities. Water ATMs, which are automated water dispensing units that can be accessed with a smart card or an app, can ensure metered supply of safe water.

Testing and purification: With water contamination being a big challenge, the adoption of affordable and reliable multi-household water filter systems which are electricity free and easy to use can help, to some extent, access to safe drinking water at a domestic level. Also, the use of household water testing kits and the installation of water quality sensors on pipes, that send out alerts on water contamination, can create awareness of water contamination and drive suitable preventive steps.

Public awareness and use of technology: Public awareness campaigns, tax incentives for water conservation and the use of technology interfaces can also go a long way in addressing the water problem. For example, measures such as water credits can be introduced with tax benefits as incentives for efficient use and recycling of water. Similarly, government water apps, like that of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, can be used to spread tips on water saving, report leakage or send updates on water quality.

Collaborative approach: Finally, a collaborative approach like the adoption of a public-private partnership model for water projects can help. There are already examples of best practices here. For example, in Netherlands, water companies are incorporated as private companies, with the local and national governments being majority shareholders. Involving citizens through social business models for decentralised water supply, treatment or storage installations like water ATMs, as also the appointment of water guardians who can report on various aspects of water supply and usage can help in efficient water management. Grass-root level organizations could be partnered with for programmes to spread awareness on water safety and conservation.

For BASF, the proposed solutions are an extension of their close engagement with developing water management and water treatment solutions. The products developed specially for waste and drinking water treatment, such as Zetag® ULTRA and Magnafloc® LT, focus on ensuring sustainability, efficiency and cost effectiveness in the water and sludge treatment process.

BASF is also associated with operations of Reliance Industries’ desalination plant at Jamnagar in Gujarat.The thermal plant is designed to deliver up to 170,000 cubic meters of processed water per day. The use of inge® ultrafiltration technologies allows a continuous delivery of pre-filtered water at a consistent high-quality level, while the dosage of the Sokalan® PM 15 I protects the desalination plant from scaling. This combination of BASF’s expertise minimises the energy footprint of the plant and secures water supply independent of the seasonal fluctuations. To know more about BASF’s range of sustainable solutions and innovative chemical products for the water industry, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of BASF and not by the Scroll editorial team.