The Good, Bad & the Ugly ft. Hardik Pandya, Mary Kom and Indian football team

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The Good, Bad & the Ugly ft. Hardik Pandya, Mary Kom and Indian football team

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Subhayan Dutta


After starting 2019 with mild elements in ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ segments, we were overawed by the influx of things into the negative light. From Indian football team starting well in the Asian Cup to Hardik Pandya hogging attention with misogynistic comments, we bring this week's Good, Bad and Ugly.


There were a few good things this week and we are incredibly indebted to Indian football for that. Evidently and shamefully, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul’s tête-à-tête in Karan Johar’s cosy couch was a way bigger interest for the Indians than Stephen Constantine’s men taking a shot at creating history in UAE in the AFC Asian Cup. However, it didn’t stop Sunil Chhetri and Co. from starting their campaign in a terrific manner as they swept away Thailand 4-1 to strengthen their chances of making it to the knockout stages. Though it was followed by a 2-0 defeat against the hosts, the provision of four third-placed teams qualifying from the group stages pretty much ensures that the Blue Tigers would make it to the knockout stages of the tournament for the first time since it stopped staying a round-robin format in 1972. 

If there was ever a time in India when feminism as a phenomenon gained prevalence, it is now. Whether it is in education, in the corporate sector, or in sport, the closest women in India have ever got to have the respect and recognition for their hard work, has been over the last few years. And if there would be one role model for them all, it should be Mary Kom. The 35-year-old mother of three had become the first female boxer to win six World Championships after her latest feat two months back. And last week, she was ranked number one by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) in the Light Fly 45-48 kilogramme category, with her score being 1700 points. Although her chances of representing Indian at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic look increasingly slim for her 48-kg category is not included in the roster, her achievements and attitude towards success have been the best example for any sportsman they can ever be.


The biggest and ‘baddest’ news of the week was, of course, Pandya’s shenanigans at Koffee with Karan where the all-rounder had boasted of how many women had sex with and numerous similar comments. "At a party, my parents asked me acha terawalakaunsa hai (Which are your women)? I said yeh, yeh, yeh (pointing out women) and they were like waah proud of you beta," Pandya had said in one of his comments. When Karan Johar further asked, "If you all hit on the same women, then how do you decide?", while Rahul answered saying, "up to the woman" an outspoken Hardik said: "Nahi nahiaisakuchnahi hai, talent pe hota hai. Jisko milawohlekejao (Nothing like that, it's about talent, whoever gets them, takes them)". His sexist views went viral with a host of criticisms coming his way with the BCCI and COA eventually deciding to suspend him until further enquiry. Pandya also saw his contract with Gillette getting suspended as both him and Rahul were sent back to India. The age-old discussion of cricketers needing to behave like role models for kids have resurfaced again, with Pandya becoming the subject of debate this time.

While hosting the AFC Asian Cup after over twenty years was definitely a huge chance for the United Arab Emirates to endorse themselves in the proper manner, it was tarnished to a large extent by video clip circulated showing a man locking up Indian football team supporters in a bird-cage ahead of India’s second group stages match with UAE on Thursday. It was later known that they were the man’s workers, who were said that it’s not good to support India while living in UAE and were threatened to be released only after they supported UAE. A statement from UAE’s Attorney General office had later informed that legal action was taken against the man after a warrant was issued. It also stated that they saw the act as a criminal offence punishable by law and it didn’t reflect the values of tolerance and respect. 


It seems India’s ability to handle failure at anything isn’t up to the mark. The recent major disappointment for the country was the early elimination of the Indian hockey team from the World Cup that the country hosted a month back and the things that followed it are downright ugly. Failing to go far in the tournament, Harendra Singh became the sixth coach to be sacked by HI in six years and this time, he was asked to move back to his post of head coach of the junior men’s team. However, the matter didn’t end there as Harendra Singh soon wrote a letter to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India (HI) stating that the federation had interfered in World Cup team selection. The reply came after Hockey India’s high performance and development committee had said that they given the coach “a free hand to select players for major tournaments”. But, Singh alleged that Singh was asked to drop players Rupinderpal Singh, SV Sunil and, Birendra Lakra from the World Cup squad after his November selection.

Pandya’s misogynistic comments were definitely atrocious and it is deserving of a punishment of some form. However, the constant differences between COA chiefs Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji in almost over everything have eventually engulfed this issue as well. While Rai has been of the opinion that the impending inquiry about the players should have been conducted before the second ODI between India and Australia, Edulji was quick to state that it should be done taking considerable time for it could seem as a “cover up” after BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, who was facing sexual harassment allegations recently, was seen facing flak in the manner his inquiry was done. While the legal team has advised the appointment of ad-hoc ombudsman as Rai wanted the view of amicus, Edulji was quick to question that too, asking CoA and office bearers to be part of the inquiry as CEO’s presence would be perceived as “bad optics”. Dragging things in such cases hasn’t been a successful way to deal with as was evident with Indian women’s team’s recent debacle and delaying this issue could only make things worse.

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