There’s a lesson to be learnt for the Aussie rules footballers and fans from Virat Kohli, columnist and author Peter FitzSimons has mentioned, writing for The Sydney Morning Herald. Overwhelmed by Kohli’s action to ask the Indian fans not to boo Steve Smith and rather applaud him at The Oval, FitzSimons of The rugby war and Gallipoli fame has written: “Bravo. I wonder, in the face of it, how many Aussie Rules players who saw the Goodes doco wish they had done what Kohli had done and called on their own fans to pull their heads in?”
Even the day before the Kohli act of great good sportsmanship, Goodes’ former team-mate Brandon Jack had written for the Herald after seeing The Final Quarter: ‘I was angry with myself for not recognising racism enough . . . I wish I had done more. I heard the booing. We all did. It was relentless and it was sickening. It was so persistent that it was clearly motivated by something other than what was happening on the field’.”
The Final Quarter is a documentary on AFL legend Adam Goodes, who fell out with the fans during the final year of his career. “Every time he touched the ball, over 17 rounds that repugnant bullying b@#$%rdry that racists in crowds thrive on broke out,” FitzSimons wrote.
He mentioned how the audience at the State Theatre gave a standing ovation to an “amazing piece of work, for Goodes, for the extraordinary strength and dignity he displayed throughout”.
The India versus Australia World Cup match was played just four days after The Final Quarter had its premier. FitzSimons went on: “But the lesson from this week is also clear. Should a situation like that which happened to Goodes occur again, not only does the AFL need to move much more quickly, but it behooves the club captains to rise above it all, and insist their fans pull their bloody heads in.”
“In the meantime, bravo Virat Kohli. You’ve shown the way forward.”
Fast bowling, real fast bowling, is a lot of hard work. It involves racking up insane leg miles, twisting and contorting the body, leaping near the stumps and hurling a five and a half ounce leather ball at blinding pace, putting the body under strenuous stress. On a normal match-day, they end up walking the equivalent of 40km. So, naturally, they spent most of the non-match days cooling their heels in hotel rooms, which though can be boring during long tours. So what does the dreaded Aussie pair, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins do? “Starcy and me end up grabbing a lot of coffee. We go out exploring the streets for different types of coffee. There are plenty of good cafe and you get to taste flavours that you don’t back home,” he tells Fox Sports. The only drawback, he says, is that they sometimes get caffeine pangs in the middle of the match.
Nou Camp, Auld game cricket
“Quite simply the best, a captain who leads by example on the field and who has record after record in the sport, Leo Messi is…?” a) KL Rahul; b) Rohit Sharma; c) Virat Kohli
It’s off-season in Europe, Messi is away in Brazil for the Copa, the transfer market hasn’t warmed up yet and Barcelona’s home page is talking cricket. Indian cricket. In a post headlined ‘Who is Indian cricket’s Leo Messi?’, the Spanish champions are comparing the skill-sets of their players with Indian stars. La Liga and its clubs have been pushing hard to woo the Indian market in the last few years by getting celebrities on board as ambassadors and stepping up their marketing campaign here. La Liga India’s chief has been to IPL games, Bollywood stars have visited Spanish league matches and the Catalan giants themselves have been trying to capture the market with their soccer schools across India. The World Cup post is another attempt to reach out to the Indian fans. It’s a snap poll, which has questions like the one above – Dhoni, for instance, is likened to goalkeeper Ter Stegen; Hardik Pandya has drawn comparisons with Barca’s ‘Mr. Versatile’ Sergi Roberto while Nelson Semedo’s pace has been compared with Jasprit Bumrah’s. And Messi? It’s an obvious answer: Kohli.
“Lasith Pawlinga” for paw-crushing yorkers
Most of us have probably heard about Taunton’s very own feline star Brian the Somerset Cat. The brown fuzzy-haired cult hero has been a resident of the club since 2013 and knows the sport inside out. On Tuesday, the feline star decided to announce his “World Cat Squad” out of the blue. The 12-member side included the likes of “Lasith Pawlinga”, “Meoween Ali” and ” Faf du Purrrsis” — purr intended. The announcement was made through the official World Cup handle and even a collage of the members with cute cat filters was released.
One Twitter user wasn’t happy that an obvious choice like “Purrera” couldn’t make the cut. A few others weren’t amused by the light-hearted, harmless word play by the organisers. “This is ridiculous, please remove it as soon as possible,” fumed a certain Waqas Sardar.
The ICC promptly replied, “Please don’t disrespect the Chairman of Selectors”. Here’s the complete squad: Pat Cummins, Aftabby Alam, Ben Strokes, Cat-Giso Rabada, Faf du Purrrsis, Hasan Alicat, Lasith Pawlinga, Liam Pluncat, Meoweeen Ali, Chris Meowris, Nicholas Purrin, Mohammad Kitthun, Mohammad Ameerkat and Sheldon Cattrell. Okay, here’s a dad joke going with the theme. What would we call this team’s campaign if they fail miserably: a cat-astrophe, duh !
The lucky charm
Till a month ago, Beuran Hendricks, was preparing to wrap up a highly successful season, and take off for a nice vacay with the missus. Then came the summons to replace the injured Dale Steyn. Earlier this year, he had filled in for an injured bowler to win the IPL with Mumbai Indians, though he got no game time. “I am hoping to be the good luck the team needs,” he said on landing in England, hoping to shake up the luckless Proteas. His otherwise sunny-positive posts on twitter while traversing the world playing T20 leagues had one rare sulk, carping about how disposable paper straws were not the best of inventions, after landing in India which is increasingly getting rid of plastic. He reckons every stint in his 29 years has taught him new things – from his latest in the IPL he learnt about paper straws, and how challenges like straws, can fall limp if you dwell too long on them.