2020 seems to be exponentially getting worse with every passing day and what that has ensued is us having plenty of topics to talk about. So it is time to delve into the now-chaotic world of sport and see what the heck is going on. Presenting you the June 7 edition of ‘Good, Bad & Ugly’.
Tamim Iqbal’s honest admission about Virat Kohli and India
Amongst a lot of things that have unfolded in the world of cricket during this global lockdown, it could be said that players from different countries interacting on Instagram has come as a true blessing. It has, after all, showed everyone that animosity between players starts and ends on the field and, more often than not, most cricketers do admire and respect their ‘rivals’ off the field. Tamim Iqbal’s comments earlier this week about how he felt motivated after seeing Virat Kohli hit the gym, how India’s fitness revolution rubbed off on Bangladesh and how he idolized Sachin, Dravid and Ganguly were particularly sweet. In this day and age, be it in the film or sporting industry, an ugly side of the industry is the hatred that’s seen amongst fans, with them making it visible by clashing on social media. One feels that more interactions and honest admissions like these could go a long way in making the fans realize that there is no point in ‘fighting’, for, at the end of the day, the athletes, themselves, love and respect each other.
Tea Katai taking accountability for his wife’s racist posts
Earlier this week, MLS club L.A. Galaxy, after mutual agreement, decided to terminate the contract of their player Tea Katai, after the player’s wife was found posting a tirade of racist and violent messages on social media in the midst of the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the country. Now after an incredible amount of backlash, the club eventually had to take the moral stance and boot the player out of the club, despite him not having any direct involvement in any of those posts. However, what was heartwarming to see was Katai, instead of outraging over the club terminating him, took accountability for his wife’s actions and apologized to the club and its fans for causing pain during these times of turmoil. From an individualistic standpoint, I do believe he had every reason to be upset with the club for doing what they did, but he instead chose to be professional and classy about it, owning up to something that was not completely his fault.
Tottenham player tests positive for coronavirus
On Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur, in an official statement, confirmed that they had been informed by the Premier League that one of their players had tested positive for coronavirus. A player - name not disclosed due to medical confidentiality - testing positive for the virus is bad enough, but what’s more concerning is the implications it could potentially have on the restart of the league. After a full round of testing last week which returned zero positive results, the Premier League confirmed that the league will restart on June 17, but one wonders if this one case could give birth to complications. There are quite a few questions to be answered - why none of the other Spurs players is in quarantine, could this give birth to more positive cases and what would the league do if the next round of testing returns more positive results are just a few of them. As things stand, a June 17 restart might be way more complicated than we initially thought.
Robin Uthappa opening up about his mental demons
The fact that Robin Uthappa is someone who has struggled with depression is something that has been quite well established, but the former Karnataka man spoke about the true extent of his struggles earlier this week. Uthappa revealed that there were times when he genuinely felt like ‘jumping off the balcony’, with cricket being the least of his concerns in life. These admissions coupled with revelations of Dom Bess, Praveen Kumar and Mohammad Shami just go to show us how much of a ‘voodoo’ topic mental health still is, in the world of cricket. If anything, all these points towards all sides - starting from the domestic level - having a sports psychologist permanently travel with the team to help them deal with the issues better. It is encouraging to see more cricketers open up about their struggles, but it is equally important that all this eventually leads to a substantial change that will help the athletes of the current generation.
Indian cricket and its fight with subtle racism and casteism
The really, really ugly side of Cricket, unfortunately, came out this week and it is harrowing when you realize that it would have just passed had it not been for external factors bringing it to the limelight. Earlier this week, Yuvraj Singh was found guilty of hurling a casteist slur at Yuzvendra Chahal in an Instagram chat with Rohit Sharma while last night, Darren Sammy expressed his anger after learning that the term ‘kaalu’ used by Indian fans to refer to him was in fact racist. In these two cases, it is important to look at the bigger picture: the buck does not just stop with Yuvraj or a few fans who abused Sammy; the problem is ingrained within the society to such an extent that the usage of racist/casteist terms has unfortunately been normalized. This is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed and the only way of doing so is education. Fans and players need to be actively educated about these issues in order to slowly wipe away the evil that has continued to live inside the common man in the country for generations. Denial is something that won’t help, that’s for sure.
Ex-Pakistan cricketers’ baseless allegations against the Indian side
Ben Stokes, in his book, claimed that he was a bit baffled by the lack of intent Dhoni showed in chasing 338 last year in India’s World Cup encounter versus England and piggybacking on that statement, a few former Pakistan pros have accused India of deliberately throwing away the game in order to knock Pakistan out. Well, to be honest, it is embarrassing that these former players are always itching to make everything an ‘India vs Pakistan’ thing, trying to create animosity between the two nations. At the time of playing England, India, themselves, were only at 11 points, just two ahead of Pakistan, seeking hard to seal a spot in the top two. ‘Deliberately’ throwing away the game would have meant them giving up their 100% record in the tournament whilst also putting the ‘top two’ spot in jeopardy. Are these ex-players really trying to suggest that India decided to concede 337 runs and permanently and deliberately break the KulCha combo for good just so that they could ‘potentially’ stop Pakistan from making it to the semi-final? Give me a break.