We’re back with another weekly edition of Good, Bad and Ugly with a weekly roundup of some of the most astonishing things that have happened this week, including the Bundesliga, Ishant Sharma’s mistreatment, and the end of Liverpool’s run at going through a season unbeaten amongst many more.
Bayern Munich and the spirit of football
In this cynical world, you could only look at the bad and ugly parts of a story but you’d miss out on the best bit. Take this for example, on Saturday as Bayern Munich walked away with another farcical 6-0 win over Hoffenheim, the headlines will belong to another incident. It saw the game stopped twice over a banner unfurled by Bayern supporters at Hoffenheim’s stadium against Hoffenheim’s owners. But after the interruption, it saw both sides walk out and just past the ball to each other. Red to Blue, blue to red even the goalkeepers got into the action with them not playing competitive football for the final fifteen minutes of the game. The players even started talking to each over matters that we will never hear about, having fun and even laughing on the field, all the while playing just football. That enraged a few of the fans but it also saw the entire stadium eventually come together and have a gala time because after all, that is what football is.
introduces trials a concussion substitute
After coming under intense criticism, the IFAB (International Football Association Board) has planned to introduce a concussion substitute after what seems like centuries of football actually needing one. Cricket got one, Rugby has one but football has never gotten one and that is set to change. It’ll mean that teams will be allowed proper time and the right conditions to test a player’s injury and determine whether or not they have a concussion and should he/she be allowed to play. The rule was first blocked by the same board but they relented after realising that people could actually die, it was on the final page of their booklet, and are now set to test the new substitute in and if the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ever takes place. The Premier league wanted only three minutes but the IFAB has relented yet again and the trials will see doctors get a ten-minute period to test players off the field after he's been substituted. Reports indicate that the Premier League were not happy and refused to hand Liverpool the golden trophy.
Liverpool and the broken Invincible dream
44 games, 422 days, 122 points, 39 wins, and with Watford standing between them and number 45, Liverpool fell short. The same Watford that sat in 19th place before the game even kicked off, the same Watford that many still predict will be the first side to get relegated and yes, that same Watford with their third manager at the helm. To put things in perspective, Liverpool had scored 64 goals and conceded just 17. Watford had scored fewer than Liverpool had conceded and conceded three fewer than Liverpool and Manchester City combined had before the start of the game. And yet, as it became 19 vs 1 after Ismaila Sarr rattled the net twice in the space six minutes before Troy Deeney sealed the win, Liverpool walked away with their hearts in their mouth. Because while they may win the Premier League, they’ll never have the pure pleasure of ending their title drought in the greatest possible way.
Ishant Sharma Episode leaves NCA process under scanner
Ishant Sharma missing the second Test against New Zealand after a recurrence of his right ankle injury is not only a news that bothered the Indian cricket fans massively, but it also cast doubt about the procedure at the National Cricket Academy and their process. Ever since Rahul Dravid, one of Indian cricket’s most venerated figures, took charge as the chairman, things are expected to be on order but it has been anything but that. Ishant, after sustaining the injury during a Ranji Trophy game against Vidarbha in January, was advised a six-week rest but he was rushed for the Kiwi tour for reasons only known to NCA physio and the Indian team management. Fearing bad PR, everyone in the BCCI is tight lipped about it, but a BCCI official revealed that the same ligament injury on his right ankle has flared up once again, leaving the pacer to miss the Christchurch Test and in all probability the first few games of the Indian Premier League, where he plies his trade for Delhi Capitals. It's a massive management failure by NCA physio Ashish Kaushik, especially in the backdrop of what happened to Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Wriddhiman Saha in the near past. Can they really pull up their socks and be accountable for the stuff they are responsible for?
Chastising Virat Kohli - Not so cool
The kind of form that Virat Kohli is in, it is easy to presume his mental state because being in form has been the only constant. Averaging just 9.50 across two Test matches, followed by a rather subdued ODI series, he is at the brink of a low in his career that couldn’t come close to him since that fateful England series in 2014. However, it only goes on to show that he is human and that is exactly why the kind of criticism that has been dished out to the man, who has given many glorious wins for the country, is shambolic to say the least. Kohli, for what it is worth, had never been out of form as such, which gave him an aura of invincibility but those failures, where his mental struggle and anxiety is out in the open, the “cricket fans” failed to fathom the very truism of the sport. They have failed to fathom that it is the product of playing cricket day in and day out that he has hardly any time for himself, with the charging needing some time. It is after all a few innings and a player of Kohli's stature is always a knock away from regaining his touch again. Dishing out the choicest of words is not just the show of perspective but it was a microcosm of impatient times we live in. Getting rid of such a mindset would do a world of good to make India a sporting nation in the truest sense.
The DRS drama in Ranji Trophy
The decision to add Decision Review System for the semifinals and finals was a decision welcomed with open arms but what was actually dished out, it was anything but good. The third umpires for both the games - Gujarat vs Saurashtra in Rajkot and Bengal vs Karnataka in Kolkata - have slow-motion camera and a pitch map along with spin vision to give their verdict, but their inadequacies left the system half-baked. In the Kolkata game, in one of those occurrences, Abhimanyu Mithun’s ball was moving in and would have surely missed the left stump, but the third umpire gave it out because the impact was on. The spin vision was of no help, because it leaves more than 50 percent of work to interpretation and the pitch map being as inaccurate as ever. If it is not aided by RTS or Ultra Edge at the minimum, the DRS has no sense of purpose too - something that the BCCI should have understood. By dishing out “Limited DRS”, as they like to call it, it leaves more confusion and the situation in Kolkata today was one such incident from the many that happened over the last two days in Rajkot and Kolkata.