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Good Bad Ugly ft. Sreesanth's return, VAR malfunction, and IOC cat-fight

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Good Bad Ugly June 21 edition

SportsCafe

Good Bad Ugly ft. Sreesanth's return, VAR malfunction, and IOC cat-fight

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Bastab K Parida

06/21/2020

English Football is back, Cricket is on the verge of return, and then we have perennial wrangling in the world of sports and politics that go with it. Does Corona give us a breather all these while? Not really, as we, at SportsCafe, list down the Good Bad Ugly from the world of Sports. There you go!

The Good

Sreesanth’s return after seven long years

One of the finest ever seam bowlers of modern-day cricket, Sreesanth could excite as much as he could frustrate - majorly because of his erratic behaviour and indisciplined lifestyle. His life ban for his involvement in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, imposed by the BCCI and challenged subsequently in Kerala High Court and Supreme Court of India, was the final nail in the coffin and his future ended up being a story in dark chambers. But the decision was later changed by the BCCI Ombudsman and Ethics Officer Just. DK Jain - from life-ban to seven-year - and now we are going to see the Keralite doing amazing art with the ball once again. As a matter of fact, KCA have included him in the training camp probables which is a heartening news, as Sreesanth, at 37, still believes he has some years of cricket left in him. The pacer was always a pumped-up personality and his mental strength needs to be applauded for he persisted against the world to showcase what he still has in him lest he makes it to the final squad.

3TC postponed

Not because it is a ridiculous format to begin with, organising a whole day cricket competition without any proper security to be ahead of the Corona curve was baffling from the onset. That the tournament was supposed to be played in Centurion, one of the hotspots in South Africa, seemed a proper recipe for disaster. Thankfully better sense prevailed as the South African government denied to grant permission for their venture, with the board now awaiting for the second degree of approval from the health ministry as well as the department of sport to use the venue for the match. While the world is itching for the resumption of live sport, this shouldn’t come at the cost of players and other professionals involved putting themselves under danger. This decision was all the more worth it. 

The Bad

Three Bangladesh players test positive for Coronavirus

The impact of the novel Coronavirus has gripped the world completely, changing the life-style of the world entirely. The cricket world has not been spared either, with Shahid Afridi contracting the virus after doing days of charity work across Pakistan. This week’s meltdown news came in the form of former Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Mortaza testing positive for COVID-19, which is sad, because Mortaza, who is a member of parliament from his hometown and constituency Narail, had been quite active with humanitarian efforts across his locality during this global pandemic. Not only Motaza, former left-arm spinner Nazmul Islam and former opener Nafees Iqbal have also contracted the virus, sending fears among common public. As a matter of fact, Islam was involved in distributing food in his hometown Narayanganj, which happens to be one of the hotspots for the virus in Bangladesh. We can do nothing but wish for their speedy recovery as our wishes matter now more than ever.

The VAR Malfunction in Premier League

While the VAR technology has been under the scanner for over two years now, the criticism has reached the zenith in the Premier League game between Sheffield United and Aston Villa as, during the first half of a 0-0 draw, the VAR failed to notify the referee about a call that should have been under review. Basically, a free-kick to the far post found the arms of Villa goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, who went back of his own goal line with the ball after running into a teammate, but the Hawk-Eye got occluded. This should have been a goal in Sheffield United’s favour but the lack of clarity meant the points were split. The mess-up forced the technology provider to send an apology to Premier League and Sheffield United, who were at the receiving end of the mess-up. So much was the lack of faith in it, Tottenham Hotspur got the VAR to check three times ahead of their game against Manchester United. With VAR being under the scanner for a long time now, this is an issue that amplified the problems with football at the moment, something that needs an immediate overhaul.

The Ugly

The Ugly triade between IOC President and Vice-President 

While the BCCI and ICC fight is a story repeated too many times to be told once again, this week iis the internal fight of Indian Olympic Council (IOC) that has made the headlines, bringing out an ugly fall-out to the public notice when the sports struggle to get back on track for the next year’s Olympics. IOA's vice president Sudhanshu Mittal, on Friday, verbally attacked International Hockey Federation's (FIH) CEO, Thierry Weil, for “selling the soul of hockey for the personal gains of an individual” - the person very well being the IOA president Narinder Batra. Mittal had accused Batra of violating FIH statutes by holding the post of Hockey India and then accused FIH's independent Integrity unit chairman Wayne Snell of diverting his complaint to protect Batra. While no side can claim to be sane here, the reality of it does no good when the Union Sports Minister is speaking of their ambitious plan with every speech he gives.

Mitchell Starc’s long dispute with his Insurer carries on 

Mitchell Starc had an amazing season of IPL when he turned for Royal Challengers Bangalore but that was all about it. The Aussie pacer never really took part in any season of the league, with him pulling out of the 2018 season being the last registration even. However, the same can’t be said about his association with the IPL insurance companies syndicate of Lloyd's of London for the long-running insurance market where coverage can be bought for unique circumstances that traditional insurers don't insure against, for a subsequent payout. However, more than two years after Starc giving KKR the ultimate jolt of pulling out thanks to the injury sustained during the Test series against South Africa, the pay-out has not been done. Sydney Morning Herald reported that the lawyers representing the insurer are said to have been not convinced by the authenticity of Starc’s claim, with them disputing the timing of the injury, which came in the second Test, due to which a civil trial was listed for March 30. Both the parties have been at the loggerheads for the factuality of it while no definitive answer has been reached. If anything has been achieved so far, it is only blame-game on one another.

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