A 2021 risk-free IPL sets the stage for T20 World Cup

By Mariah Ramharack April 11, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

   A 2021 risk-free IPL sets the stage for T20 World Cup.

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, IPL is off to a competitive start despite concerns over spikes in Covod-19 infections in India. India has averaged 90,000 new infections daily but the richest T20 tournament has proceeded with eight teams playing 52 games at six venues.

On April 1, India became the second country after the U.S to report 100,000 new cases in a single day.

Before the start of the tournament, four cricketers and a team consultant tested positive for Covid-19 and were isolated. In addition, 10 members of the ground staff at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium tested positive.

The stadium has been earmarked to host 10 games, and as such, the number of infected grounds men raised questions regarding the tournament being played in six cities when spectators are not allowed.

There is no doubt that managing these bubbles will be difficult but once executed properly it will go some way into reassuring organizers of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup scheduled for October.

Cancelling the tournament would cause massive financial losses and have a potentially disastrous ripple effect if a large number of players become infected. The spillover could significantly impact India’s cricket calendar which includes 14 tests, 12 ODI’s, 22 T20’s as well as the World T20.

What is making a difference are the vaccines that are now available.

  Real Madrid looks dangerous.

Saturday’s El Clasico had a bit of everything as defending La Liga champions Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium to move to the top of the table.

There was controversy, yellow cards, goals, rain, and a thrilling end.

Los Blancos, fresh of their 3-1 Champions League win over Liverpool on Tuesday, went into the match with similar energy. When Karim Benzema scored the opening goal, his ninth in the last seven games, he became one of four Real Madrid players to ever score in consecutive El Clasico encounters joining Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Toni Kroos doubled the lead before half-time and even though Óscar Mingueza García pulling one back late in the second half, Real Madrid was simply tactically superior.

 The firepower and finesse displayed by Real Madrid clearly demonstrate that they are not ready to concede the title without a fight.

  Draymond Green knows better and should do better.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green last Thursday said his tweets about the pay disparity between men and women’s sports have been “misconstrued”. “I am on their side,” he declared.

His response came after U.S women’s soccer team star Megan Rapinoe lashed out saying Green’s tweets were “unfortunate” and that she expected he would have had a more informed opinion.

In his tweets posted on March 27, Green blamed women for making “complaints rather than taking action to reduce the pay gap between men and women playing the same sport.  Green’s response that they want the same thing is not enough.

Initially, I found his tweets quite alarming, especially his use of the word “complaints” because he comes from a household where his mother Mary Baker is very expressive and he has been cited saying he has adopted that quality from her. There is no doubt that Green wants to see the women thrive but he can do better.

The first step to allyship is listening and then assisting. The first response of posting on Twitter did more harm than good.  The fact that he is now the centre of the conversation shifts the focus from the issue of wage parity. It would be only fair that Green use his political capital and resources to assist where he can.

 

 

 

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  • 'One of the world's great players' - Casillas tips Bellingham as future Real Madrid captain 'One of the world's great players' - Casillas tips Bellingham as future Real Madrid captain

    Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas believes Jude Bellingham has all the makings of a future captain after his impressive debut season in LaLiga.

    Bellingham finished as top scorer with 19 goals to help Madrid to their 36th LaLiga title while also providing six assists, and was voted LaLiga Player of the Season.

    He scored a further four for Los Blancos in the Champions League as they won a record-extending 15th continental title.

    The 20-year-old is also a key figure in Gareth Southgate's side at Euro 2024 and scored England's winning goal when they beat Serbia 1-0 in their group opener last Sunday.

    Casillas is pleased with how quickly Bellingham adapted to life in Madrid and expects him to continue his impressive rise in the coming seasons, even though he will be asked to take on more responsibility.

    "Bellingham has made it at the most important club in the world and has shown that he is a great player and that he can be there," Casillas said.

    "Now, and next year, more may be asked of him, but that is what will make him a star.

    "Let's see if he can also consolidate this way of playing. He is one of the great players in the world."

    Casillas, who himself was Real Madrid captain, added: "He can surely be the captain of Real Madrid, of course.

    "He has everything to form the role.

    "There are more experienced players at the top [now], but I would advise him to continue learning from the veterans there, soaking up the history of the club, and to do everything he can to be a great player and captain.

    "He plays for England, who are very strong and already [made the final] in a tough championship three years ago. He has what it takes to adapt to the Euros."

    Spain also made a winning start to the European Championships, cruising past Croatia 3-0 in their first match in the so-called ‘group of death’.

    With a marquee match-up with Italy next up, Casillas thinks La Roja's chances at the tournament will be much clearer after the result is known on Thursday.

    Asked how far Spain can go, Casillas replied: "I don't know, there is still a lot of competition left and we have to play against Italy, which I think is going to be a more serious and a tougher challenge than Croatia.

    "I was impressed with Spain winning 3-0, which has encouraged me as the Spanish fan that I am.

    "But the match against Croatia was also a bit tricky, [the goals came] all at once Croatia had to do it all and, in the end, they were unlucky [to lose by three].

    "I think we must see how Spain perform in the next game [against Italy]. That is the match where we are going to really measure their strength. We will see how that goes."

    Casillas captained Spain to three major trophies, winning the Euros in back-to-back editions in 2008 and 2012, while also lifting the World Cup in 2010.

    "I remember the moments of intense concentration we had [when playing this tournament]," he added. "I started in the Euros in 2000, 24 years ago, when I was 18 years old, and from there it was so much growth, step by step as I improved my level.

    "Then I was very lucky to win two Euros trophies, and we got to contribute to making millions of Spaniards incredibly happy.

    "We haven't reached the maximum levels of passion for this tournament yet. From the quarter-finals onwards we will really see the teams that are strong after the group stage and round of 16 have been played.

    "That's where we will have a lot of fun! I have always loved this competition and really like it when they go to the quarter-finals."
     

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  • 'Anyone would have him!' – Casillas excited to see Mbappe at Real Madrid 'Anyone would have him!' – Casillas excited to see Mbappe at Real Madrid

    Former Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas believes the European champions have brought in someone special with the signing of Kylian Mbappe.

    France star Mbappe announced he was leaving Paris Saint-Germain in May before making the move to Madrid earlier this month, ending a years-long transfer saga involving the two teams and the striker.

    The 25-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the winners of LaLiga, who he will join as a free agent in July after his contract with PSG expires, with Brazil sensation Endrick also set to arrive in the Spanish capital.

    With Mbappe joining a side containing a wealth of talent already, which recently captured the Champions League, Casillas is impressed by the squad that Madrid have put together.

    "Mbappe is a very good player," Casillas said. "Everyone wants to have him; anyone would have him in their respective team.

    "Real Madrid have a brilliant president and brilliant people around them. Forming a team like this is something impressive.

    "You can learn a little from the past and in that sense give some continuity to the team as a great club with great players.

    "Real Madrid has them. We will see how they continue to mesh and how they can continue giving joy to the fans."

    Mbappe was tipped to be one of the most influential players at Euro 2024, but his tournament looked in danger of ending early when he suffered a broken nose in France’s opening game against Austria.

    "With Mbappe out, France may suffer a little," two-time Euros champion Casillas added, with Mbappe's status for France's next matches uncertain.

    "But France have a team with very good players and there has been a bit of a revolution by Didier Deschamps.

    "So France can certainly still be a contender and get to the final of the Euros, but we now must see if France can play as well without him."

    Spain are the only team to win back-to-back editions of the European Championships, with Casillas captaining the side in both 2008 and 2012, while also leading them to World Cup glory in 2010.

    This year, Spain have a more youthful look to the squad, with Lamine Yamal becoming the youngest-ever player to appear at the Euros at 16 years and 338 days old.

    The teenager got an assist in Spain’s 3-0 win over Croatia in their first match of the tournament, and Casillas is pleased to see Luis de la Fuente giving young players a chance on the big stage.

    He said: "It is good to see that young players continue to emerge in football in Spain and are being considered stars of the future. It is good for the entire team.

    "Only [Yamal] can prove if he will be a great player - solely and exclusively, him, and of course, the trust and effort that goes in.

    "Let's see, with the confidence and maturity he has, plus the other team-mates who will support him, if he can become a very good player for Spain.

    "We know that the strength of the team comes from the depth and we need to continue having these players emerge."
     

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  • Vinicius labels himself 'tormentor of racists' after Valencia supporters convicted Vinicius labels himself 'tormentor of racists' after Valencia supporters convicted

    Vinicius Junior has described himself as a "tormentor of racists" after three Valencia supporters were given prison sentences for abusing him in May 2023.

    Three people were sentenced to eight months in prison and given two-year stadium bans on Monday after being found guilty of hurling racist abuse at Vinicius at the Mestalla last year.

    Vinicius was sent off following a scuffle in second-half stoppage time as Los Blancos were beaten 1-0 in a game that was paused for several minutes due to racist chanting.

    The convictions – the first issued in Spain for racist abuse inside a football stadium – were welcomed as "great news for the fight against racism" by LaLiga president Javier Tebas.

    Vinicius also welcomed the judgement on Monday, thanking Madrid for their support in the aftermath of the incident and expressing hope that other offenders will be convicted. 

    "Many asked me to ignore it, many others said that my fight was in vain and that I should just 'play football'," Vinicius wrote on X. 

    "But, as I've always said, I'm not a victim of racism. I am a tormentor of racists. This first criminal conviction in the history of Spain is not for me. It's for all black people.

    "May other racists be afraid, ashamed and hide in the shadows. Otherwise, I'll be here to collect. 

    "Thank you to La Liga and Real Madrid for helping with this historic conviction. More to come…"

    FIFA president Gianni Infantino also responded to the convictions on his Instagram story, writing: "Our message to people anywhere in the world who still behave in a racist way when they are dealing with football is clear: we don't want you. 

    "These people have to be excluded, they are not part of our community and not part of football."

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