Firstpost Spodcast Episode 145: Chris Gayle ODI retirement, Real Madrid's shock defeat to Girona and more
Welcome to Spodcast, where we cover the big sports headlines of the day. Today, we discuss Chris Gayle's announcement of retirement from ODI cricket after 2019 World Cup, Real Madrid's shock loss to Girona in LaLiga and other news stories.
We start with some cricket news today. The West Indies cricket board has announced that flamboyant West Indian batsman Chris Gayle will retire from ODI cricket after the 2019 World Cup. Over the last few years, Gayle has fashioned himself as something of a T20 specialist. His last Test appearance was way back in 2014. His most recent assignment was the Bangladesh Premier League that was played earlier this month.
West Indies and England face off in a five-match ODI series starting Wednesday. The 2019 World Cup starts on 30 May in England.
The Pulwama attack has led to some consequences even in Indian cricket. The Punjab Cricket Association removed photographs of Pakistani cricketers from various points inside the Mohali stadium in what they labeled a "humble step" to show solidarity with the families of the CRPF personnel killed in the terrorist attack.
PCA treasurer Ajay Tyagi said the decision was taken at a meeting of the cricket body's office bearers on Sunday. The list Pakistani cricketers whose photographs have been removed from the PCA includes current Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Shahid Afridi, Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram.
India captain Virat Kohli continues to rule the latest ICC rankings while Chesteshwar Pujara managed to hold onto third place in the latest Test rankings. Sri Lankan batsman Kusal Perera, who helped his side achieve a historic win in South Africa, made a quantum leap of 58 places.
In the bowlers' rankings, Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins overtook Kagiso Rabada to grab the top spot. Cummins is the first bowler from his country to grab pole position since Glenn McGrath in February 2006. He is followed by England's James Anderson and Rabada of South Africa. Ravindra Jadeja is in fifth place with 794 points. Jadeja also features in the all-rounders' list at the third position ahead of West Indies' Jason Holder and Shakib-Al Hasan.
Tennis news now. Women’s world no. 1 Naomi Osaka remarked that she would not prioritise "success over happiness" after some debate over the surprise sacking of her coach. Osaka heads into the Dubai Championships as top seed for the first time.
The US and Australian Open champion this week split with coach Sascha Bajin, who led her to a pair of Grand Slam titles as well as the World No 1 ranking over the past year.
She confirmed her decision was final and she had moved on. Osaka said, “I felt really happy. I'm surrounded by people that genuinely care. They have such positive energy. I'm really grateful for everyone that's around me at this time.”
Football update now, and some bad news for Real Madrid fans. Real Madrid's title hopes were dashed last night after their shock defeat to Girona left them nine points behind Barcelona. Girona came from behind to pull off a shock 2-1 victory.
Girona had not won in 13 matches and looked on course for a seventh straight defeat.
Barcelona still have to go to the Bernabeu later this month but that Clasico will be a lot less nervy now. Their cushion has been extended to nine points over Real, with Atletico jumping back above them into second, seven points from the top.
Tennis legend Martina Navratilova came to the defence of Olympic 800 metres champion Caster Semenya ahead of this week's hearing on proposed rules that aim to restrict testosterone levels in female athletes. Semenya is a three-time world champion and an 800m gold medalist at both the London and Rio Olympic Games.
The International Association of Athletics Federations, or the IAAF, has proposed rules that would force so-called "hyperandrogenic" athletes or those with "differences of sexual development" to medically lower their testosterone levels below a prescribed amount. The association claims such a change would promote fairer competition between all female athletes.
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Both teams made a lot of tactical blunders throughout the 40 overs, so much so that towards the climax, it seemed both were trying their best to lose. But in the end, Punjab had the last laugh by chasing down 172 on the final ball of the match.
Zidane said Sergio Ramos will be available to face Barcelona after recovering from the knee injury that kept him out of the loss to Shakhtar on Wednesday.
Players like Gayle and de Villiers represent the fast-fading soul of T20 cricket - the flashes of genius, the parody of patience, the ripping of rulebooks, the measured mayhem. They might never be as functional as the Kohlis and Rahuls, but their batting is born from the intoxicating marriage of dominance and dysfunction.