It’s Sunday and we ought to give ourselves a day off, away from the tiresome sessions at the office and hustle-bustle of the traffic. If you have failed to catch up with the top developments in the world of sports throughout the week, sit back and go through this edition of The good, bad and ugly.
Suryakumar Yadav gets his break after a long wait
Making your international debut for the Indian cricket team at the age of 30 is challenging, but better late than never for the talented southpaw from Mumbai, who waited for a long time for his break. His IPL teammate Ishan Kishan also made a cut to India’s squad for the upcoming T20I series against England, along with Rajasthan Royals star Rahul Tewatia. Looking at the bigger picture, the selection of the afore-mentioned players not only makes the Indian team more dynamic but adds a different dimension to it.
The attacking batsmen have already proved why they are not mere pushovers, while they are going to provide support to seniors like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli - players who build-up their innings at a certain pace. On the other hand, giving the youngsters exposure will help India gauge their strengths ahead of the 2021 T20I World Cup and field their best XI in their pursuit of a second title.
Novak Djokovic storms to his 18th Grand Slam title
Novak Djokovic has been ruthless when playing at the Australian Open, with him eyeing his ninth title when he set foot in Melbourne earlier this month. After a hiccup in the second round against 27th seeded Taylor Fritz, it was all Djokovic. Having stormed through Milos Raonic (fourth round), Alexander Zverev (quarter-final) and Aslan Karatsev (semi-final), he set up a date with Danil Medvedev in the summit clash at the Rod Laver Arena.
What everyone was expecting to be a hard-fought final, turned out to be one of the most lopsided in recent years, with Djokovic running through his Russian competitor with sets of 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 to claim his 18th Grand Slam. The Serbian is just two shy of equalling Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s tally of 20 slams!
What’s wrong with Arjun Tendulkar being picked up by Mumbai Indians?
The social media was already flooded when Arjun Tendulkar's name was included for the 2021 IPL auctions, held in Chennai, last Thursday. Little did people know about the youngster - apart from the fact that he was the son of Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar, has been training in the United Kingdom for a while and featured in the 2021 SMAT. When Mumbai Indians spent Rs 20 lakh for securing his services where many International stars went unsold, while other franchises were happy to let him go - criticisms flowed in from all corners with the tag of ‘nepotism’ predominantly attached.
Even though the lad is yet to make his Ranji debut or the Vijay Hazare Trophy - is it fair to judge him or dump an unnecessary burden on his shoulders before we actually gauge his capabilities? I can draw several examples in Indian cricket where stereotypical opinions have taken centre stage, yet the game is played on the field. Hopefully, Arjun won’t get distracted by on-field activities and give his best when given a chance.
IOC’s decision to rob India of four berths at 2021 Tokyo Olympics
As far as the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is concerned, Boxing is supposed to be India’s golden duck in the mega-event, with nine of them already booking a ticket. While the Indian boxing contingent was expected to increase the tally by at least four, taking up the total to 13. But, as per the recent developments, the IOC (International Olympic Committee) decided to cancel the final Tokyo Olympic qualification event scheduled for June in Paris citing challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Indian pugilists were expected to grab berths for the men’s 57kg, 81kg and 91kg divisions and one for women. The remaining 53 quota places which were supposed to be allotted will now be distributed on the basis of world rankings. Even Indian boxing high-performance coach Santiago Nieva stated that the decision was disastrous for the contingent.
Foreigners in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the ISL
The Indian Super League has already seen shambolic events throughout, with players coaches losing their heads and stooping to a new low. But, for a change, a couple of footballers were under scrutiny in the past week. Mumbai City FC star Hugo Boumous was imposed a two-match ban and a fine of Rs 2 lakhs for interdisciplinary behaviour towards match officials during their game against FC Goa. Apparently, he abused them after showing a yellow card towards the end of the game for ‘delaying the start of play.’
In a separate issue, FC Goa midfielder Edu Bedia was guilty of ‘unsporting behaviour’ towards Chennaiyin FC star ‘Deepak Tangri.’ Even though he served a one-match ban, no further charges were pressed against him after his hearing with AIFF. It’s surprising when experienced overseas players are recruited to display their best skills and inspire the local talents to excel, the footballers are in the headlines for all the wrong things.
Air India officials harass Manu Bhaker at IGI Airport
Representing your country from the tender age of 15 is not an easy task and to win medals regularly is an even more commendable job. India - a country to establish a foothold in global sports events, have the onus to safeguard the well-being of their top athletes - as should have been the case with World Cup-winning shooter Manu Bhaker. But, a different story surfaced this week. The shooter was ‘harassed’ and ‘insulted’ by Air India at the IGI Airport while she was taking a flight from Delhi to Bhopal.
She was not only asked to produce all valid Documentation and DGCA permit but also asked for Rs 10,200. It was only after the intervention of Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju that she was finally allowed to board the aircraft. The Youth Olympics Gold medallist has already demanded action against the Air India officials. This comes as a sorrowful sight just a few months before the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.