Firspost Spodcast Episode 120: UAE battle past India at AFC Asian Cup, Andy Murray hints retirement after Australian Open and more

Welcome to Spodcast, where we look at the big sports headlines of the day.

We start with the AFC Asian Cup football tournament. India, who had a great start to their campaign with a 4-1 win over Thailand, lost 2-0 to hosts UAE on Thursday. India are ranked 97th in the world while the hosts are ranked 79. It was a reversal of form for both teams - India, who looked agile and aggressive in their opening match, seemed to lack the killer instinct while UAE, who had a subdued 1-1 draw against Bahrain in their opening match, looked far more assertive.

India, who are now in second place in Group A with 3 points, face Bahrain in their next match on 14th January.

The big controversy over Hardik Pandya's and KL Rahul's allegedly misogynistic comments on the TV show Koffee With Karan could lead to a two-match ban for both players. Vinod Rai, the chief of the cricket board CoA, recommended a two-ODI ban for Pandya and Rahul for their comments that were deemed offensive while fellow CoA member Diana Edulji has referred the matter to the BCCI's legal cell.

Rai said, "I am not convinced with Hardik's explanation and I have recommended a two-match ban for both players. However, the final decision will be taken once Diana gives her go ahead… (she) has sought legal opinion whether the duo can be banned. So, obviously a decision will be taken once she gives her nod. As far as I am concerned, the comments were crass, in bad taste and unacceptable."

Meanwhile, India Today reported that the episode of Koffee With Karan with Pandya and Rahul has been taken down by online platform Hotstar.

There was some more off-the-field drama as head coach Ravi Shastri took aim at "critics", claiming some people are trying to pull the team down.

Speaking with his trademark candidness in an interview with Times of India, Shastri said, "There are people who've only wanted to criticise this team, taking continuous jibes. Social media is fine, you get all sorts and none of that matters as long as you do what you have to do and do it right. But there are people who have simply wanted to pull this team down...and mind you, some have not been very subtle about it either. That's why I said what I said in the press conference after the Sydney Test."

An update from the Premier Badminton League now. Kidambi Srikanth-led Bengaluru Raptors sealed their semi-final berth after beating Chennai Smashers 3-2 on Thursday.

The tie started badly for Bengaluru as they lost the opening match. Bengaluru's Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan, former doubles world champions, lost to Chris Adcock and Chin Chung Or 14-15, 15-9 and 15-11. But Sai Praneeth leveled the scoreline for Bengaluru, winning his singles match against veteran shuttler Parupalli Kashyap 15-11 15-12.

With this 3-2 win, Bengaluru Raptors move to third place in the points table, securing a semifinal berth while Chennai Smashers are currently in sixth place.

The BCCI has announced the venues for the ODI and T20 home series against Australia that will be played from February 24 to March 13.

Scottish tennis player Andy Murray announced today that the 2019 Australian Open could well be his last tournament.

The 31-year-old former number one, who has three Grand Slam titles to his name, broke down during a press conference in Melbourne as he explained that the pain from his hip injury had become unbearable. He said, "I can play with limitations. But having the limitations and the pain is not allowing me to enjoy competing or training."

Murray, who was crowned Wimbledon champion in 2013, was the first British man to win the prestigious tournament in 77 years. He received a knighthood in 2017.

'Sir' Andy Murray said yesterday that he would have liked to wrap up his tennis career at this year's Wimbledon, but that seems pretty unlikely at this point. He said, "Wimbledon is where I would like to stop playing, but I am not certain I am able to do that. I've been struggling for a long time. I'm not sure I can play through the pain for…four or five months. (I have) Pretty much done everything that I could to try and get my hip feeling better and it hasn't helped loads."

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Updated Date: Jan 11, 2019 13:08:39 IST

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