Football fans back inside the stadium, Indian-Australia series in full swing - finally it seems everything is getting back to normal. With more action, there’s unlimited drama brewing in the background - which brings us to this edition of Good, Bad and Ugly.
EPL set to allow fans back inside stadiums
It has been a long wait, and an anxious one too, with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing to put the brakes on football leagues all around the world within a blink of an eye. Even though live-action returned a few months down the line, the matches were played in front of empty stands - a sorry sight indeed. But, with the situation stabilizing gradually, we are expecting fans to fill up the stands once again. For instance, Arsenal allowed 2,000 fans to watch their team lock horns with Rapid Wien in the Europa League fixture last Thursday evening. London, placed in tier 2, has been given a go-ahead to allow a limited number of supporters in English Premier League matches too, with the North-London Derby between Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal set to be attended by 2,000 fanatics this Sunday. Finally, we are taking strides back to normal.
Shah Rukh Khan makes investment in USA Major League Cricket
For long the United States of America has been in the foray, having made a few appearances in ICC events but have been short of making their entry as a full-time member. Major League Cricket has been making efforts to popularise the game in North America, which has been fruitful to a certain extent. In an attempt to give it a new life, Shah Rukh Khan - the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders and Trinbago Knight Riders, will be making “a significant long-term investment” in the future of American cricket as they become stakeholders for the T20 tournament which is set to start in 2022. The top brass - led by Shah Rukh Khan, along with Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta is part of a strategic long-term investment to help USA Cricket run the six-team T20 league.
1st ODI between South Africa and England cancelled
It was a bright and sunny day in Cape Town, with English captain Eoin Morgan arriving at the gorgeous Newlands Stadium for the first of the three-match ODI series. Not long after they started warming up for their showdown with the Proteas, the visitors were informed to take the road back to the hotel - 90 minutes before the toss, with one of the South African player’s testing positive for COVID-19. The decision to postpone the game was announced by Cricket South Africa on Twitter a few moments later, after consultation with the England and Wales Cricket Board. Officially, Sunday’s game in Paarl will be the first ODI, followed by the second and third in Newlands, Cape Town. The name of the infected player has not been revealed, as usual, with him kept in isolation, while the other players will undergo a fresh set of tests before the action finally kicks-off on Sunday.
Australia not happy with India’s concussion substitution
Ravindra Jadeja had already done the damage for India in the opening T20I, having stormed India to a par score following a slow start. It was in the last over that the southpaw was hit on the helmet by a fierce Mitchell Starc bouncer. Even though he was on the field till the end of the innings, Jadeja was not in the best of his health when he was back in the dressing room, waiting to roll his arms with the ball. As per the norms, Yuzvendra Chahal was brought into the game as a concussion substitute, with the leggy making the difference, picking up 3 wickets in four overs to take the game away from the Aussies. Just before the start of Australia’s innings, their coach Justin Langer was having an animated discussion with match referee David Boon - likely regarding the substitute. The video went viral, with experts giving their views regarding the incident, with people from either side at loggerheads - a sorry sight, especially in these trying times.
Robbie Fowler makes 'the' inappropriate comment
With arch-rivals Mohun Bagan already making an entry to the Indian Super League via a merger with ATK, the onus was on East Bengal to follow in the footsteps. The 11th-hour entry into the tournament was inevitable with the likes of the West Bengal government and Sourav Ganguly intervening into the matter. But, the lingering problem lied in the fact that they had only a month to assemble a team before the ISL kicked-off. The lack of proper pre-season is reflecting in their performance, with SC East Bengal yet to score a goal this season, having lost all their matches so far. The frustration crept in and their head coach Robbie Fowler, seeing the sorry state of affairs, stated that some of ‘Indian players looked like they have never been coached before.’ With tried and tested Indian players in the ranks, the comment was untoward and unacceptable, going along with the fact that the players did not get enough time to gel amongst themselves.
Yorkshire County Cricket Club tangled in racism incident
Cases of racism were already afloat, but it took yet another turn when Indian International Cheteshwar Pujara was called ‘Steve’ - a racist name for coloured people. The Yorkshire County Cricket Club was already facing the heat, with its former players and employees backing Azeem Rafiq’s claim of ‘institutional racism.’ Former West Indies cricketer Tino Best, along with ex-Pakistan International Naved-ul-Hasan Rana providing evidence regarding the same. As per the former Yorkshire star Taj Butt - “They called every person of colour ‘Steve’. Even (India batsman) Cheteshwar Pujara, who joined as an overseas professional, was called Steve because they could not pronounce his name.” As per another ex-cricketer of the club Tony Bowry, many youngsters failed to make progress and found the environment of the dressing rooms very difficult and unwelcoming, as a direct result of racism they faced. Not a great exhibition for such a prestigious cricket club.