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Good, Bad, & Ugly ft. PV Sindhu, Harendra Singh & Australia Cricket Team

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Good, Bad, & Ugly ft. PV Sindhu, Harendra Singh & Australia Cricket Team

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Subhayan Dutta


From PV Sindhu finally breaking her jinx in the finals of the World Championships, to some of the best names in cricket applying for the Indian women’s team coaching role, Indian sports had a lot of good elements. However, COA and India hockey team’s debacle have levelled it out in the end.


PV Sindhu finally managed to destroy her jinx of the finals as she defeated old foe Nozomi Okuhara 21-19, 21-17 to win the BWF World Tour Finals. The Indian World No. 2 shuttler has definitely been one of the most consistent performers in the last year or so with her only hurdle being the final match on multiple occasions. Since winning the Korea Open title last year, Sindhu has lost seven consecutive titles, the major of them being the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and the World Championships. The 23-year-old was quick to point out after her win that none would ask her about her records in finals, now that she has ended the voodoo. The road wasn’t easy as she had to beat World No. 4 Akane Yamaguchi, top-ranked Tai Tzu Ying, No. 11 Beiwen Zhang, and ninth-ranked Ratchanok Intanon, before winning against No. 8 Okuhara on Sunday. This was the last major tournament of the calendar year and now that Sindhu ends it with a breakthrough, the upcoming season looks all the more promising.

The Indian Women team might be in the news for all the wrong reasons at the moment, but one cannot deny that the bunch of players have impressed many with their scintillating individual performances. The side is brimming with potential with a World Cup win just around the corner with the proper guidance, which made the influx of applicants for the coach's post that include some of the top names in world cricket very unsurprising. Among the multiple applicants feature former Australian cricketer Dav Whatmore, former South African cricketer and head coach of Kuwait, Herschelle Gibbs, and India Men’s team World Cup winning-coach Gary Kirsten. Though Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana have thrown their weight behind the re-appointment of Ramesh Pawar, any chances of that happening look slim given the fact that the above names would be an upgrade on the former Indian player any day. 


A lot was said and done prior to the India-Australia series concerning Australia’s team culture. The Kangaroos cricket board was branded “arrogant” and “controlling” and even to an extent responsible for the ball-tampering incident in Newlands. An independent report was also made that had particularly stated Cricket Australia’s culture had a “strong systemic and organizational input” into the decision to use unfair means during their third Test against South Africa. In the report, the interviewees had revealed that they had adopted bullying behaviour, ostracized people and created a “win-at-all-costs” mentality, which led to players “play the mongrel”. The cultural review had some very harsh words and more than the CEO stepping down or the suspension the three players not getting reduced, it had instilled a fear among the Australians. While it was necessary, the sudden culture check has also made the ongoing Test series blunt with no sledging or passing comments by the hosts. Even the last time when Australia had visited India, the continuous repartee between Mathew Wade and Ravindra Jadeja had created headlines. In the ongoing series, a chirpy Rishabh Pant has been the most extreme that the audience has been treated to.

The promotion of India’s tour of Australia was rightly done by Sony. More than the excitement of India’s chances of creating history down under by winning a series for the first time, the fans were much more anticipating to see the bad blood between the sides, which have made all their previous encounters immortal. However, with Steve Smith and David Warner already suspended following the sandpaper gate earlier this year in Newlands, the hosts were expected to be in the best of behaviours. Hence, when umpire Kumar Dharmasena was accused of inattentive umpiring by Tim Paine, one could imagine how south things could go had it seen controversial decisions to compound the silent brewing storm among the hosts after the first Test loss at Adelaide. Fox Sports even released a video that revealed an over of Indian pacer Ishant Sharma, who had evidently overstepped in all his six deliveries of the over when Dharmasena was at the business end of the game.


With all the preparations going down the drain after India’s recent quarterfinal defeat against the Netherlands in the ongoing Hockey World Cup, India coach Harendra Singh’s comments on the umpiring standard has raised many eyebrows. India losing to the Dutchmen in the quarterfinal was something which was pretty much on the cards but the way the umpires were criticised by the coach during the post-match press conference on Thursday was certainly unexpected. The Indian coach had complained that his 11 men were playing against 13 from the opponents’ camp and heavily criticised the umpires for being biased against the hosts during the last quarterfinal game, a defeat which denied India a place in the quarterfinals after a 43-year long wait. The FIH president Narinder Batra and CEO Thierry Weil have slammed the Indian coach by terming the comments unacceptable. Harendra’s contract was till the end of the World Cup and after India’s exit, his comments and the reaction of both FIH president and CEO, it remains to be seen whether Hockey India will continue with Harendra or not in the near future.

If the feud was between the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) all this while, it has now turned into an ugly internal fight between existing COA members Vinod Rai and Diana Edulji. Since Rai had thrown his weight behind Rahul Johri following sexual harassment allegations against the latter, it has become public knowledge that the duo doesn't see eye to eye on certain topics. And Ramesh Pawar’s rift with Mithali Raj following Indian women’s elimination from the World Cup added fuel to the fire with Rai firmly standing in removing Pawar from the position while Edulji strongly advocating for the former Indian cricketer to stay. Edulji has even recently questioned BCCI why was Virat Kohli allowed his choice of coach and not Harmanpreet. Amidst the public mess, Justice (retd) RM Lodha, who had headed the committee that put together the report for reforms in the functioning of the BCCI, has called COA’s proceedings disappointing. After the SC had ruled in implementing most of the Lodha Committee proposals back in 2016, a four-member COA was appointed to oversee the implementation in 2017. However, since then two members have departed leaving Rai and Edulji at the helm.

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