Firstpost Spodcast Episode 119: Harendra Singh's ouster as India men's hockey coach, Hardik Pandya's apology over remarks on TV show and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

The coach of the Indian men's hockey team — Harendra Singh — was sacked yesterday after a disappointing 2018. He was offered the position of coach of the junior team by Hockey India.

Hockey India’s press statement said, “Though the year 2018 was very disappointing for the Indian Men's Hockey Team with results not going as expected, Hockey India believes investing in the junior program which will reap long-term benefits.”

Indian cricketers Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul had kicked off a controversy after making inappropriate comments about women on the TV show Koffee With Karan. The BCCI had taken exception to remarks by Pandya and Rahul who had appeared on the show hosted by filmmaker Karan Johar. It issued show cause notices to both cricketers and gave them 24 hours to offer an explanation.

Pandya has apologized for his remarks. He said, “I made an appearance on the chat show where I have made certain statements without realising that these could be disrespectful and offend sensitivities of viewers for which I am sincerely regretful. I would like to assure you that there was no malice or any sort of ill-intent on my part to offend anyone or portray any section of the society in bad light.”

There is now speculation that the outrage might even prompt the BCCI to bar players from such appearances. The Chairman of the Committee of Administrators that runs the BCCI, Vinod Rai, said, “I will have to check their explanations. At this point, I cannot commit what action will be taken.”

Some good news from table tennis now. Veteran player Sharath Kamal won a record ninth national men’s title following an intense final match against G Sathiyan. With this win, Sharath broke the long-standing record for most national titles held by former player Kamlesh Mehta.

After the win, Sharath said, “...this final was by far the best in terms of quality. That explains the ferocity and seriousness with which Sathiyan attacked from both flanks and kept me engaged...The pressure was on both of us. But whatever I did to take the ninth title off my mind, it was coming back again and again with everyone remembering me. Similarly, Sathiyan was going for his first title and he was equally pressured.”

The women’s title was won by 18-year-old Archana Kamath who defeated Krittwika Sinha Roy 4-2. The score line read 12-10, 6-11, 11-9, 12-10, 7-11, 11-3.

An update from the I-League, where the action is hotting up. Mohun Bagan’s new has coach Khalid Jamil got off to a winning start after his team defeated the defending champions Minerva Punjab 2-0.

This Mohun Bagan side dominated the game against Punjab, who failed to create a single scoring opportunity in the first half. Omar Elhussieny scored for Mohun Bagan in the 30th minute while Cameroonian forward Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka scored the second goal in the 69th minute.

The win over Punjab keeps Mohun Bagan's title hopes alive, if only just. They remain at sixth place in the points table, with 18 points from 12 matches.

In news from the Ranji Trophy, Bihar spinner Ashutosh Aman broke a long-standing record set by Bishan Singh Bedi to become the highest wicket-taker in a single Ranji season. He has now taken 65 wickets in the current season, overtaking the record of 64 wickets set by Bedi in the 1974-75 season.

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Updated Date: Jan 10, 2019 11:57:52 IST