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The Good, Bad & Ugly ft. Harmanpreet Kaur, Virat Kohli and Dipa Karmakar

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The Good, Bad & Ugly ft. Harmanpreet Kaur, Virat Kohli and Dipa Karmakar

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Subhayan Dutta


From the Indian eves opening their T20 World Cup in a smashing manner banking on Harmanpreet Kaur’s century, to Virat Kohli receiving scathing criticisms for his “hyper-national” comments, to Dipa Karmakar laying bare the cold war among authorities, we bring you the best and the worst of this week.

The Good

Despite not winning a World T20 before, the Indian eves had entered the tournament as one of the strongest contenders for the sheer names they have on paper. In the likes of Smriti Mandhana, Harmanpreet Kaur, Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jemima Rodrigues, and others, the Women In Blue have a similar number of match winners in the side if compared to their male counterpart. And their opening match against New Zealand was an exhibition what one of them can do on their day. Harmanpreet Kaur had to come in early in the match when Dayalan Hemalatha was sent back only in the sixth over, but she never looked to need any settling time whatsoever. Alongside Jemimah, the duo added a whopping 134 runs for the fourth wicket with Harmanpreet smashing an unbelievable 103 off 51 balls. The innings, which also makes her the first centurion from India in the shortest format, included eight monstrous sixes that totally engulfed the New Zealand side who eventually lost the match by 34 runs.

After staying in the Indian Premier League’s shadow for years now, Indian Super League and Pro Kabaddi League have finally started to spread its wings both in terms of their popularity and quality of performances. While ISL has seen more competition than ever with as many as five teams as genuine contenders for the playoffs position, PKL has also failed to see a complete dominance by any one side. In terms of emerging names, while ISL has seen the likes of Michael Soosairaj, Gaurav Mukhi, Komal Thatal, and more impressing in every game, the likes of Siddharth Desai, Pawan Sehrawat, Abhishek Singh, and more have taken PKL by storm where most had expected the likes of Monu Goyat, Girish Ernak, and Manjeet Chillar to run the show. Apart from the exciting names, most matches have also been found to be going right down to the wire and more often than not, not ending in a draw. Hence, while the financial powers don’t see the three leagues at par, the entertainment quotient surely does.

The Bad

It was really unfortunate how the whole mean tweets gaffe played out during Virat Kohli’s app launch but what was even more ridiculous was how Kohli’s “opinion” was taken by the social media. Advocating free thinking and speech has been one of the favorite pastimes of social media in the recent past and yet it is ironic how the microcosmic world has failed to tolerate the same from the other end. Kohli’s reaction to a rather wrongly constructed quote was definitely not the most decent one but the backlash that he had to receive was worse. In retrospect, it was largely the common people’s fault that they were expecting an ideal answer in the public from Kohli, who is the least pretentious of people in the world of sport and they love him for that on the field. While few cricketers came in Kohli’s support, many others criticized the skipper for losing his perspective off the pitch. Some even went on to the extent of teaching him that hyper-nationalism and good sportsmanship cannot go hand in hand. 

Unlike the situation during the Commonwealth Games or the Asian Games, shooting would definitely not be on India’s biggest hopefuls list in the Tokyo Olympics, especially after a discouraging show by the shooters in Jakarta. And the Sports Authority of India might seem to dig a deeper grave for the sport with their recent shenanigans. The shooting contingent was sanctioned a one-week training camp in New Delhi by SAI where six senior shooters, six from the rifle and six from the pistol category, were present alongside the juniors. However, after all was done and the participants were all decked up to leave for the Kuwait-hosted Asian Airgun meet, SAI informed the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) that the ministry had only allowed the juniors to participate. This had infuriated the shooters, some of whom even wanted to participate without the government’s expense. While SAI justified the move by stating that the Meet was not a part of the Annual Competition and Training Calendar (ACTC), the shooters clearly sounded miffed as they were robbed off some crucial practice time ahead of the important competitions coming later this year.

The Ugly

It seems like SAI has taken over BCCI’s mantle to create raucous now as apart from the shooting incident, where they managed to annoy NRAI, it is now star gymnasts Dipa Karmakar who has spoken up about the ministry’s stiff relationship with Gymnastics Federation of India (GFI) which was disqualified by the Indian government back in 2012 owing to internal quarrel and factionalism. There has been a simmering tension between the two since then with India yet to have a permanent government approved gymnastics body. The issue came to fore again recently with Indian gymnasts Pranati Nayak and Yogeshwar Singh not getting clearance from SAI while the likes of Karmakar, Aruna Budda Reddy, Rakesh Patra, and Ashish got their confirmation to participate in the Individual Apparatus World Cup. Karmakar and her coach Bishweshwar Nandi revealed that the differences at the top level are definitely affecting the gymnast and suggested that the two bodies should sort out their differences for the betterment of the sport.

Pakistan’s loss to New Zealand was completely overshadowed by the antics of Ross Taylor to throw Mohammad Hafeez off gear and the Kiwis batsman, in his act, infuriated the Pakistan skipper. After being at the receiving end of a clean sweep by Pakistan in the T20I series, it was expected that the Black Caps would be desperate for a comeback in the ODI series. But, the tactics that Taylor used to achieve it wasn’t the most ideal one. Facing Hafeez, who was back into the Pakistan side after getting suspended three times for bowling with a bent arm, Taylor kept signaling to the umpire that the bowler was at it again. However, the field officials didn’t find anything wrong with his bowling. This annoyed wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed who had an animated discussion with the umpires before taking on chit-chat war with Taylor as he persisted with Hafeez. Eventually, the umpires had to intervene to calm the situation, although Ahmed used the post-match press conference to call Taylor “disgraceful” for his act. It was always the umpires decision to make and Taylor’s attempt to influence their decision only make things uglier.

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