Indian sports News- November 20thNovember 20, 2019
Bytes: World Cup Qualifiers 2022- Oman defeats India, I-League, Maradona Quit, Indian Boxing League, Pink ball- Kolkata day&night test, DDCA, NBA, Shooting World Cup, Davis Cup, Hong Kong OPen
YoGems makes sure that you won’t miss a thing in the field of sports, so here is a quick recap to all the happenings from the last 24 hours:
WC Qualifiers 2022- India’s World Cup hopes were dealt a huge blow as they winless streak continued on Tuesday after the suffered a 0-1 defeat to Oman in Muscat on Tuesday. Muhsen Saleh Al Ghassani’s first-half strike proved to be the difference between the two sides as Oman picked up their fourth win of the campaign. India coach Igor Stimac made three changes to his starting eleven bringing in Manvir Singh, Nishu Kumar and Farukh Choudhary for Sahal Abdul Samad, Mandar Rao Dessai and Pritam Kotal. Oman had the chance to take the lead early on after Rahul Bheke conceded a soft penalty in the box, bringing down Muhsen Saleh Al Ghassani. However, the striker fired his shot over the crossbar as India got out of jail. The best chance for India arrived in the 20th minute after Udanta Singh won a foul around 30 yards away from the box. Brandon Fernandes floated a cross for Sunil Chhetri in the box, whose cutback was intercepted by Oman goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi. Stimac was forced to make two changes due to injuries around the half hour mark as Pranoy Halder and Adil Khan were replaced by Vinit Rai and Anas Edathodika. India continue to stay fourth in Group E with three points from five games, seven points behind second-placed Oman in the group and are virtually of the race in qualifying to the next round. They face Qatar at home next in March.
Hong Kong fans turned their backs to the Chinese national anthem once again but supported their team and were rewarded with a first win in Asian qualifying, 2-0, over Cambodia, on Tuesday. Before the match, home fans jeered and turned their backs to the pitch as the Chinese national anthem played. Fifa fined the Hong Kong Football Association 15,000 Swiss francs following a similar incident before the September 10 match against Iran. On Tuesday, James Ha put the hosts ahead with a close-range half-volley in the 21st minute. Cambodia, under pressure for most of the match, were reduced to 10 men in the 78th minute when Soeuy Visal was sent off after flicking the ball out of the goalkeeper’s hands to collect a second yellow card. Despite the disparity in numbers, the hard-working Roberto Affonso Junior was still surrounded by four Cambodian defenders when he spun on the edge of the box five minutes later and curled the ball into the net. Hong Kong have five points in Group C, while Cambodia stayed bottom with one. Iraq, playing against Bahrain at the neutral venue of the Amman International Stadium in Jordan, remained on top of Group C with 11 points despite being held to a goalless draw.
I-League- Former champions Aizawl FC will clash with Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan at home in the opening round match of the I-League 2019-’20 season, on November 30. In another opening round match, Kozhikode-based Gokulam Kerala FC will host Manipur’s Neroca FC at the EMS Corporation Stadium on November 30, according to the fixtures of the eleven-team I-League announced by All India Football Federation on Tuesday. Defending champions Chennai City FC will begin their campaign at home the next day as they host debutants Tiddim Road Athletic Union, the second club from Manipur this season, at the Nehru Stadium. The AIFF has announced that D Sport will broadcast the matches which will run till April next year, a move that was lauded by a number of club officials. The two Kolkata derby matches between heavyweight arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will be played at Salt Lake Stadium on December 22 and March 15 next year. Both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will play their other nine home matches at Kalyani Municipal Stadium. Real Kashmir will open their campaign with an away match against East Bengal on December 4 while their first home match is on December 12 against Gokulam Kerala FC at TRC Ground in Srinagar.
Maradona quit- Diego Maradona has quit as coach of Argentinian Superliga side Gimnasia, less than three months after taking over, the club announced on Tuesday. “Maradona is no longer the Gimnasia coach,” club president Gabriel Pellegrino said on Argentina’s Radio La Red. Reports in Argentina suggested Maradona’s departure was linked to an imminent management shake-up at the club in La Plata, 50 kilometres from Buenos Aires. Maradona was no longer keen on remaining at the club after Pellegrino, the man who brought him back to Argentine football, pulled out of running for re-election as the side’s president next Saturday. Before his last match in charge, he tied his future to Pellegrino’s: “I talked to the president and told him that I would continue if he continues.” The 59-year-old former Argentina captain and coach took over at Gimnasia in early September, when it was bottom of the 24-club Superliga. Hailed as a hero upon his return to Argentine football after years coaching abroad, Maradona had a limited impact in La Plata.
NBA- LeBron James became the first player in NBA history to record a triple-double against every team in the league on Tuesday as the Los Angeles Lakers powered to victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. James finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a hardfought 112-107 win over the Thunder at the Staples Center. Anthony Davis led the Lakers scoring with 34 points, while adding seven rebounds and four assists. The win saw the Lakers improve to 12-2 to remain on top of the Western Conference. But it was James’ 86th career triple-double that grabbed the headlines, the Lakers star sealing the milestone with an assist to Davis with just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. James said the record would not have been possible without the support of coaches and team-mates over the years. Houston’s Russell Westbrook is hard on James’ heels with triple-doubles against 29 of the league’s 30 teams. Westbrook would complete his set with a triple-double against his former team Oklahoma City, who he left this year. In New Orleans, Carmelo Anthony made an unsuccessful return to the NBA after more than a year out of the game as the Portland Trail Blazers slumped to a 115-104 loss to the Pelicans. Anthony, whose move to Portland was confirmed by the team earlier Tuesday, finished with just 10 points after 23 minutes on court after shooting just 4-of-14 from the field.
WC- India’s Manu Bhaker and Rahi Sarnobat missed out on spots in the final of the women’s 25m air pistol event at the season-ending International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup Final in Putian, China on Wednesday. India’s wait for a podium finish will continue into the third day of competition after Anish Bhanwala also missed out on a place in the final of the men’ 25m rapid fire pistol event. He finished 10th in the qualification round with a score of 578 (19x) while the sixth place score was 583-21x. It was heartbreak for Bhaker as she missed out on a final berth over a tie-breaker. Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Bhaker shot 292 and 291 in the precision and rapid events respectively for a total of 583 in the qualifiers. While two other shooters, Germany’s Doreen Vennekamp and Elena Galiabovitch of Australia, also ended with a qualification score of 583, the German qualified owing to a superior tally of inner 10s. Bhaker and Galiabovitch had 17 inner 10s, while Vennekamp shot 23. Asian Games champion Sarnobat, on the other hand, had a disappointing outing. She finished last among the elite shooting group in the qualifiers with a score of 569. The Indian shooters had a forgettable outing on day one as well, where Sanjeev Rajput came closest to qualification for the final. He missed out by a solitary point in men’s 3-position rifle event. On Thursday, Indians will be in action in the 10m air pistol and air rifle events and would be expected to open the medal tally with shooters in those categories in good form through the season.
Korea Masters- India made a promising start at the Korea Masters badminton tournament with shuttlers Srikanth Kidambi and Sameer Verma advancing to the second round of the men’s singles competition in Gwangju on Wednesday. The sixth seed Srikanth defeated Hong Kong’s Wong Wing Ki Vincent 21-18, 21-17 in a match that lasted 37 minutes. This was Srikanth’s sixth win on the trot against the Hong Kong shuttler. The former world No 1 now enjoys a dominant 11-3 head-to-head record over the Hong Kong shuttler. He will face Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the second round. Sameer also reached the second round after his Japanese opponent Kazumasa Sakai retired midway with the score reading 11-8 in favour of the Indian. However, it was the end of the road for Sourabh Verma, who went down after winning the first game to local shuttler Kim Donghun 21-13, 12-21, 13-21. It was an upset, for sure, with Kim ranked 112 in the world while Sourabh has been in the top 40 for a while (currently 36). Incidentally, Sourabh’s younger brother Sameer will take on Kim in the second round on Thursday.
Kolkata Test- The Board of Control for Cricket in India president Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday claimed that the tickets for the first four days of India’s first day-night Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata have been sold out. India play their first day-night Test against Bangladesh in Kolkata from November 22 and both the teams have reached the eastern megapolis. “It’s sold out and I’m extremely happy [about it],” said Ganguly here after visiting the BCCI headquarters. Asked for how many days it was sold out, Ganguly informed four. The countdown of the historic Test began in Kolkata on Sunday with the City of Joy turning pink. Earlier, Ganguly had unveiled ‘pinku-tinku’, the event’s official mascots. The Eden Gardens, one of the biggest stadiums in India, has a capacity of 67,000.
Rahul Dravid- Former India captain Rahul Dravid believes that day-night Test matches will help get more crowds in stadiums but they are not the only solution to revive interest in the longest format of the game in India, according to a report by Economic Times. The upcoming pink ball Test between India and Bangladesh is being counted on as a tool to attract crowds to the stadium but according to Dravid, a lot more needs to be done to truly change the face of Test cricket in the country. “It is not the only solution to rejuvenate Test cricket, but it is one of the things we need to do. If only we are able to control dew, the pink ball Test can become an annual feature in India,” Dravid is quoted as saying in a forum. “You make it tough for the bowlers when the ball gets wet and takes the swing away… it (pink ball) is a novelty that will attract people to the stadium and must be tried.” Dravid, who heads the National Cricket Academy, reckons the stadiums in India need to ensure they at least provide basic facilities to fans. “Basic things like toilets, seating, car parking need to be looked into, these are things that will draw,” he said.
DDCA- The Apex council of the Delhi and Districts Cricket Association on Tuesday put up a united stand, rejecting ombudsman Justice (Retd) Badar Durrez Ahmed’s order which allowed senior journalist Rajat Sharma to continue in his role as DDCA president. Sharma had resigned from his post on Saturday, citing his inability to continue amidst “various pulls and pressures”. However, the DDCA ombudsman on Sunday rejected Sharma’s resignation, asking him to assume office as president and also fixed November 27 to formally hear the matter. The decision didn’t go down well with the Apex Council with nine out of 15 members on Tuesday addressing a joint presser, rejecting the Ombudsman’s role and also highlighting the issues affecting the running of the sport in DDCA. After Sharma resigned, CEO Ravi Chopra and the two-member Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Sunil Valson and Yashpal Sharma also tendered their resignation.
However, after Ahmed’s directive, CEO Chopra rejoined office on Monday, according to the council. The council members also questioned the lack of transparency in the working of the President and his team, regarding appointment of senior executives, formation of CAC for 2018-19 and 2019-20 and negotiations for IPL contracts.
Davis Cup- Dismissing Pakistan’s review appeal, the International Tennis Federation on Tuesday announced Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan as the neutral venue for the upcoming Davis Cup tie between India and Pakistan. Pakistan Tennis Federation had filed an appeal contesting the ITF Davis Cup Committee’s November 4 decision to shift the November 29-30 tie to a neutral venue. PTF had argued that if Indian pilgrims can visit Pakistan without any security threat, why can’t the Indian team play matches in Islamabad, but the Independent Tribunal of the world governing body kept the games at a neutral venue. “The Pakistan Tennis Federation appealed the Davis Cup Committee decision to move the tie from Islamabad. The appeal was dismissed by an independent tribunal on Monday 18 November,” ITF said in a statement. “Further to the decision of the PTF not to nominate a neutral venue, in accordance with Davis Cup regulations, the Davis Cup Committee has voted in favour of the tie being hosted by the ITF on neutral ground at the National Tennis Centre in Nur-Sultan (previously Astana), Kazakhstan on 29-30 November,” the statement added. The matches will be played on indoor courts since extreme cold conditions there won’t allow them to be staged outside.
Boxing League- Six-time world champion Mary Kom will be part of the NCR Punjab Royals team during the Big Bout League while rival Nikhat Zareen will compete for Odisha Warriors, the organisers announced on Tuesday. All six teams featuring in the League, starting on December 2, will have five men and two women boxers each. Each team can have three foreign players in their ranks. World Championship silver medallist Amit Panghal will compete for Adani Gujarat while Pinki Rani will be part of the Bengaluru side. Rio Olympics bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia was picked by Bombay Bullets in the players’ draft held on Tuesday.