We are into the business end of the 2020 Indian Premier League in the UAE, the UEFA Champions League has already started, we have had a busy week. In spite of being action-packed, we cannot escape the significant events which occurred, which brings us to this week’s Good, Bad and Ugly.
Ed Smith defends English players’ omission from South Africa ODI tour
The Indian Premier League is a marathon and often takes a toll on the players with two-three matches on an average per week. With bio-bubbles in place, coupled with travelling in the UAE itself, the cricketers are having a tiresome season so far. In the wake of the players’ well-being, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided to rest three of their top players - Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes from the upcoming ODI series against South Africa, with the backing of their chief-selector, Ed Smith. The Cricket Board has recently changed their stance, allowing players to take part in the domestic league, especially the IPL, with the players gaining valuable white-ball experience. In fact, Ed has credited the IPL for England’s recent success in limited-overs cricket. It is encouraging to see how they have balanced their players’ workloads, especially in these testing times, when the world is still fighting with the pandemic. Hopefully, others follow suit.
Sports Ministry sanctions Rs. 5 lakhs for a deceased footballer
Football played a second fiddle to cricket for ages, but the paradigm shift in recent years is evident even though the magnitude might be a little more than noticeable till now. While the fans have now become aware of the importance of the game, what’s more intriguing, is the care the fans and the Sports Ministry, along with the All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) have shown in recent times. Manipur-bred Manitombi Singh stormed into the Indian football scene in the early 2000s, with classy playmaking skills, was roped in by Mohun Bagan and even played a pivotal part in India U-23’s LG Cup win back in 2003. Even though he was out of the circuit for a long time, his untimely death, just at the age of 39, sent shockwaves in the football fraternity. What followed a few months later was laudable, with the Sports Ministry sanctioning a sum of Rs 5 lakh for the deceased footballers’ family to ease their financial crisis. This was a welcome move from the concerned authority and we are grateful that footballers are being now acknowledged, which was not the case a few years back.
BCCI - Rohit Sharma mishap
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might be the most powerful in the world but it cannot escape from its own set to controversies it seems. A fresh set triggered when one of India’s greatest limited-overs cricketer, Rohit Sharma was omitted from India’s T20I and ODI squad for the Australia tour, set to start late November, with the BCCI stating that he was unfit to take part in the meet. Moments later, he was seen practising in the bets, which sparked the controversy and invited several comments from cricket pundits. Legends of the game pointed out the board’s assessment of the situation, including former Indian batsman Virender Sehwag stating that he faced a similar situation before the 2011 World Cup, where his shoulder was needed to be operated, but the BCCI insisted to delay the surgery. Meanwhile, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has cleared the air regarding the matter, informing that the board is doing everything possible so that Rohit Sharma takes the field during the Test series in Australia. On the flip side, the explosive batsman also took part in Mumbai Indians’ Qualifier 1 against Delhi Capitals, earlier this week.
SS Lazio on the verge of being relegated from the top-tier
One of Italy’s biggest clubs, SS Lazio is one verge of getting relegated from the Serie A after a serious breach of COVID-19 protocols recently. As per reports, the side failed to list the exact names of the players who had tested positive for Coronavirus, before their clash against Torino last week. As a matter of fact, their striker Cris Immobile, midfielder Lucas Leiva, and goalkeeper were part of Lazio’s 4-3 win over Torino on November 1 even after they were tested positive for the virus. It was surprising that the same players were not shortlisted for their UEFA Champions League clash against Clube Brugge on October 29. To make their situation even worse, the concerned players missed the UEFA Champions League squad against Zenit Saint Petersburg, days later, on November 4, for the same reason - testing positive for the virus. The Italian Football Federation took instant notice of the situation and have initiated an investigation against the club for violating protocols and might even axe the club from the top-tier.
Ryan Sessegnon receives racist slur on Instagram
In a year we are fighting with a pandemic, there seems to be another menace which has plagued the society simultaneously. When people are supposed to back others in these testing times, racist slurs are least expected, but unfortunately, we cannot get rid of them it seems. Tottenham Hotspur loanee Ryan Sessegnon has already played three matches for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, following which he received racist abuses via direct message on Instagram. In fact, he was not at all surprised by the reception, even though he stated the incident as ‘Honestly unbelievable'. The craziest thing is I'm not even surprised anymore. Disgusting.’Ryan was the latest in the list of top-flight English players who were targeted on social media, including the likes of Raheem Sterling, Troy Deeney and Wilfried Zaha. Even though his teammates made a gesture of solidarity dedicated to him, following a goal during Hoffenheim’s Europa League clash against Liberec, there’s no doubt that the incident was shameful and disturbing at the same time.
Boria Majumdar faces heat after comments on AB de Villiers
AB De Villiers is one of the finest cricketers we have had in the recent years, with him playing a pivotal role in South Africa’s batting line-up for more than a decade before calling it quits. Even though he gave his best whenever he donned the Proteas shirt, the cricketer failed to inspire them to a World Cup triumph, which remains a regret throughout his life. His similar fate in the Indian Premier League, never managing to steer Royal Challengers Bangalore to a championship win has invited fresh attention it seems. In the aftermath of the IPL side’s elimination from the tournament this season, Indian journalist Boria Majumdar refused to call him a match-winner with him not managing to steer his team to an IPL title in spite of staying with the franchise for 10 years. The turn of events was not taken lightly by the fans, who went berserk on the journalist on social media. Hopefully, the legendary cricketer does not go through a similar situation in the future.