Welcome to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly segment of the week gone by where we review the sporting world and the stuff they offer. The last week was going really well till ‘many’ stories emerged and things got uglier. Please dive in as we take you on a stroll through the park.
The Scenes as fans return to Stadium in India
Finally, Cricket fans returned to the stadium, and what a glorious occasion it could be with a visiting team being 1-0 up in India in a Test series that would determine the WTC finalist. Of course, it had to be in Chennai in front of the Knowledgeable Chennai Crowd who traditionally stand up and applaud the good cricket on offer, no matter the allegiance. On Saturday, with only 50% crowd allowed to be at the venue, they really made a spectacle. The whistles were coming regularly and every single soul applauded Rohit Sharma returning back to the pavilion after playing the innings of his life. Chennai is known for that but the heart was content for seeing after what seemed like an era without the main stakeholders finding a glimpse of their favorite sport.
Fran Kirby and a story of success and tragedy
Watching Fran Kirby is pure joy. She does everything an attacking footballer does at her prime and radiates a stunning charisma and smile integral to her personality. That itself makes her a likable character on the football pitch but if you add the personal tragedy that she had to overcome in order to be where she is now, it makes for a compelling narrative. She missed most of the last season after contracting pericarditis which almost forced her into retirement at the age of 26. She was also diagnosed with clinical depression following the death of her mother and life had much more contrasting problems for her. Any mere mortal would’ve left the sport for good, but not Kirby. With an unflinching determination, she did make a comeback and on a roll this season for Chelsea. What a magnificent football story!
Hugo Boumous abuses umpires to receive red-card
The week that was glorious for sports on many counts, the bad made its mark. Mumbai City FC star Hugo Boumous is not known for his discipline, and that was on show once again when he abused match officials during their game against FC Goa last week. Boumous was shown a fourth yellow card in the fifth minute of the injury time for ‘delaying the start of play’ and immediately, he was seen abusing umpires on the field. He was shown a direct red card and taking stock of the situation, AIFF Disciplinary Committee issued a show-cause notice to the footballer. Even though that won’t affect Mumbai City FC that much as they are already through to the play-offs and have four matches before the semi-finals, his action doesn’t speak much better for the league.
Ezra Moseley passes away in a road accident
Some horrific news came from Bridgetown this week as Ezra Moseley, former West Indies fast bowler, died in an accident aged 63. Those who haven’t seen him bowl might not understand the impact that Mosely had for the Windies in 1990 but that goes beyond history books and brought about a cultural manifestation. Despite being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back at the age of 24, he had a significant impact. After having lost the opening encounter in the absence of Viv Richards, Patrick Patterson, and Malcolm Marshall, Windies were staring at defeat at the hands of England, who were chasing 151 runs to claim a 2-0 series lead. Mosely he twice struck Gooch on the glove with rising deliveries – still one of the iconic photos of all-time – and helped Windies to a memorable and ultimately historic draw. Assistant coach for their Women’s team in the 2016 T20 World Cup in India, which they won, Mosely had a fantastic post-retirement career as well. His demise is a loss for the sport we all love.
Communal allegations against Wasim Jaffer
Wasim Jaffer told me during the lockdown how fortunate he has been in his career for having people right on his side and being loved by everyone irrespective of their age. People from all corners have spoken about the decency of the man and how fortunate they were to know him and thus it seems absolutely ludicrous when communal allegations were levelled against him. It came to such a position that Jaffer had to do a point by point rebuttal in a press conference and yet very few came in support of him. When asked, Ajinkya Rahane said he didn’t have any idea of the incident, Sachin Tendulkar is yet to say one word about that and most of the active cricketers, sans Manoj Tiwary, made their support clear. It is a shame what we’re seeing at the moment.
The third Umpiring blunder casts an ugly episode in Chennai
First thing first – the on-field umpiring has been excellent in this series so far. However, the same can’t be said about the third umpiring decisions on the opening day of the second Test in Chennai when Anil Chaudhary failed to follow the right procedure after a not-out decision against Ajinkya Rahane. In the 75th over of the day, Rahane prodded forward to a good-length ball of Jack Leach for which Virender Sharma turned down the appeal. When England reviewed it, Chaudhary only checked the UltraEdge and concluded that there was no contact at that moment. However, he failed to realize that the ball, after hitting the pad, in fact, hit Rahane’s gloves on the way to Ollie Pope. When England told the on-field umpire that they were in fact, checking for a catch, Chaudhary responded with an LBW review. It all happened in a spur and England had lost a review. When England team management took that up with match referee Javagal Srinath, he reinstated the review but Rahane batted on for a while. It created an outrage on Twitter and the umpires copped abuse for the same.