Good Bad Ugly ft. Cricket Australia's bold step, Dutee Chand's Facebook post and a careless Jofra Archer
Good Bad Ugly - July 19 Edition|
We are back once again with the thrills and chills from the world of sports in this week’s edition of Good, Bad, and Ugly. While the resumption of sports activities all over the globe has largely given us high hopes, there have been quite a few incidents that let us down in troubled times.
Cricket Australia has taken mental health of its players seriously
In a pandemic stricken world, maintaining mental health should be given utmost priority and Cricket Australia has taken a great initiative in appointing a ‘mental health and wellbeing’ expert. The cricket board was not only the first in the world to do so but also made a statement on how important is the role of an expert in these troubled times. Primarily, the personnel will be working with the mental health of the contracted players, even though the name of the expert has not been announced yet. Meanwhile, Michel Lloyd and Peter Clarke are already in CA’s roster as their psychologists for the men’s and women’s teams respectively.
The cricketers are stranded inside domestic space for the past four months, which could give rise to more mental-health related issues as stated by CA’s high-performance chief Drew Ginn. The decision has been taken in the wake of mental breakdowns suffered by the Victorian trio of Glenn Maxwell, Will Pucovski and Nic Maddinson last year, while CA too have been vocal about the mental health of players in the past. Even though players from other countries have not reported such cases, mental health is an aspect which should be taken more seriously.
Graeme Smith sets an example for his countrymen
Lungi Ngidi was heavily criticised for his statement last week, where he urged his fellow cricketers to stand together in wake of the Black Lives Matter movement. Boeta Dippenaar, Pat Symcox and Rudi Steyn publicly were among the most prominent faces to raise their voice against the post made by the speedster, while many backed him, including teammate Tabriaz Shamsi. Director of Cricket South Africa, Graeme Smith, sang along the same tune and promised to ‘take the knee’ before the start of the 3TC Solidarity Cup, in Centurion, this Saturday.
Makhaya Ntini, along with 30 other players signed a statement in support of the BLM movement, which says racism still prevails in the African nation. As promised, everyone present inside the SuperSport Park in Centurion took the knee ahead of the three-team tournament this Saturday. Graeme Smith was spotted beside Makhaya Nitini during the same, which was a cherry of the cake. The incident just put to rest all the mishap that has thronged the social media in the past couple of weeks.
Indian sports stuck in a pandemic dilemma
Getting over the lockdown hasn’t been easy under any circumstances, while it has been more than painful for athletes even more. With more than four months out of action, the sports associations, with their wholehearted efforts, are trying to take strides towards normalcy but things aren’t ready to die down soon. In spite of several attempts to kick-start the shooting training camp, the NRAI has failed to do so, with many reluctant to travel at this point in time where Covid-19 cases are shooting up exponentially.
While combat sports are not likely to get a nod anytime soon, we were expecting non-contact to start proceedings, but the worsening health crisis has put an end to all such probabilities. Even though the Boxing camp started with social distancing norms in place, the team doctor, Amol Patil has tested positive for the deadly virus. Meanwhile, paddlers Sharath Kamal and Gnansekaran Sathiyan stated they are not inclined to travel to Bengaluru, a city where the number of cases are on the rise, with the hockey camp also cancelled for the same reason. With a bit over 12 months left for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, this isn't a good sign for Indian sports.
Dutee Chand dents her legacy over Facebook post
With Indian sports largely stalled, this entry has been a rather surprising one, but it’s ‘bad’ nevertheless. The Internet broke loose when Dutee Chand, one of India’s most decorated athletes put her BMW up for sale citing she needed financial assistance to fund her training for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The post circulated within a blink, while the Odisha government stormed into the scene, following which she deleted the Facebook post. She later clarified that it was becoming a heckle to maintain a luxurious car and could use the proceeds for her training purposes.
But, by then the topic had gained pace, with Tennis stars Somdev Dev Varman and Purav Rana questioning the government for not providing enough funds for their athletes. The Odisha government kept the ball rolling by issuing a statement that provided the exact amount of financial support she received in the past year, amounting to Rs. 4.09 crore. Sources close to the Times of India also revealed that she receives much more than what Asian Games gold medallists Hima Das and Swapna Burman get from the government, but they haven’t complained much. Whatever may be the case, it doesn’t paint a good picture of Indian sports as a whole.
Jofra Archer gets dragged into controversy - once again
Speed sensation Jofra Archer has found himself in my list for the second consecutive week. The ongoing Test series between England and West Indies is being played with several restrictions in place, one of which includes maintaining a bio-secure bubble. England players were supposed to travel in separate cars from Southampton to Manchester, following the first test match, which was a part of their latest COVID-19 tests and strict orders about approved stop-off points en-route. But, as per reports, Jofra Archer took a detour to Brighton to meet up with a friend for a couple of hours, which Ashley Giles admitted could have cost them tens of million pounds.
The England fast bowler thus breached the bio-secure protocols in place, which cost him a place in the second Test at Old Trafford. The speedster will now be in isolation for five days during which he will be undergoing two COVID-19 tests. If each of the tests are negative, the self-isolation period will be lifted and will be eligible to be picked up for the third Test. Even though Jofra Archer apologised for the incident, it was very irresponsible on his part, especially with the pandemic situation worsening.
Makhaya Ntini bowls bouncer off the field
South African cricket is not done with internal spat it seems, with the Black Lives Matter movement hogging the centre stage once again. Lungi Ngidi received mixed reactions from his compatriots following his post on social media urging the entire team to join together in protest of the matter. This week, one of Proteas' most successful fast bowlers, Makhaya Ntini, opened up his voice on how he was victimized during his playing days and was subject to racism.
Ntini played alongside other greats of the game like Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Graeme Smtih and Jaques Kallis but claimed that he was ‘forever lonely’ during his playing days. Recalling past experiences, Ntini went on to lament on how he teammates used to avoid him while making plans, sitting in front of him and nobody came to sit with him on the breakfast table. Many cricketers have been public regarding the racist slurs they’ve faced in the past and we hope there are no additions to it.