Firstpost Spodcast Episode 15: Lord's Test, Supreme Court's ruling on BCCI's draft Constitution and more on our daily sports podcast
Washed-out opening day of Lord's Test, Supreme Court's ruling on BCCI's draft Constitution, and Ben Stokes' trial — we discuss all this and more on Spodcast, Firspost's daily sports podcast.
Welcome to Spodcast, the Firstpost sports update where we discuss the biggest news in sports in the last 24 hours.
Cricket news to start with, and the first day of the second Test match between India and England was washed out due to rain at Lord’s in London.
Play was abandoned at 4:49 pm local time following incessant showers. Match officials even called an early lunch, moving it ahead by 30 minutes. But there was no letup as the rain continued through the afternoon.
Towards the time of the tea break, the weather seemed to be clearing up and the umpires had a chat with the ground staff. As the rain frustrated both teams, a few players - Virat Kohli, Dinesh Karthik, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings - spent some time in the indoor nets.
45 minutes after what would have been the tea break, the umpires inspected the playing conditions twice before declaring no play was possible on day one. Losing one day’s play means 96 overs will now have to be bowled on each of the remaining four days. However, with more rain forecast in the coming days, we can expect to see a few more rain-related breaks during the second Test.
England lead the five-match Test series 1-0 after winning the first match in Edgbaston.
The Supreme Court has approved the draft constitution presented by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI. The court also set aside the ‘One State, One Vote’ proposal presented by the Lodha panel.
A bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra accepted modifications to the draft constitution and directed state cricket associations to adopt it within 30 days. It also noted that failure to comply with this order would invite action from the court.
The court had earlier requested suggestions from various state cricket associations as well as BCCI officials on modifications to the draft constitution. Following the spot-fixing scandal that marked the 2013 edition of the IPL, a panel led by Justice Rajendra Mal Lodha had made recommendations that were intended to clean up Indian cricket administration.
In 2016, the court accepted the recommendations of this panel and set up a Committee of Administrators, comprising four members, to ensure the implementation of the reforms. Anurag Thakur was removed from the post of BCCI president in January last year for not complying with the court’s orders. Then BCCI secretary Ajay Shirke also suffered the same fate. This committee now has just two members - head of the committee Vinod Rai, and former cricketer Diana Edulji.
The Supreme Court bench had earlier said the clauses on 'One-State-One-Vote' and the 'cooling-off period' could be reconsidered. Yesterday, the judges noted that some cricket associations, which are more than a century old, have been actively contributing to the development of the sport in India. The bench also added that a person holding a post in the BCCI, or in a state cricket association, need not go through a 'cooling-off period' before applying for a different post in the organisation. Cooling off period, in this context, refers to the time a person would have to refrain from holding any office in the cricket board after serving in a BCCI post for two consecutive terms. The court order said, “In our view it would be appropriate to direct...a cooling off period of three years after an individual holds two successive terms in office either in the BCCI, or in any state association, or a combination of the two.”
Some news on the Ben Stokes trial. On Wednesday, Ben Stokes presented his defence in a Bristol court where he is being tried for assaulting two gay men in September 2017. Stokes had claimed he attacked the two men in self-defence when he felt threatened by one of the men who came at him with a bottle in hand. Yesterday, one of the two men knocked out by Stokes claimed Stokes could have killed him.
Ryan Hale, a former soldier, was on trial for alleged affray, the same charge as England all-rounder Ben Stokes, over the fight that broke out on 25th September last year outside a nightclub in Bristol.
The court viewed security footage that showed Stokes punching Hale and his friend Ryan Ali in a Bristol street. The prosecutor said Stokes knocked out Hale and Ali. Hale told the jury yesterday, “I'm a dad. He could have killed me. I don't know why he didn't stop....It's shocking to see someone doing that to someone who didn't do anything wrong."
Defending his actions, Stokes said he had joked with William O'Connor and Kai Barry over clothes. He claimed he then stepped in to defend the two men when Hale and Ali directed homophobic abuse towards them. Stokes then told the court, “I was told by Mr. Ali along the lines of 'Shut the f**k up or I'll bottle you'. I remember taking a swing at Mr. Ali.”
However, Hale countered this claim saying, "There's no self-defense and he isn't defending anyone else.”
Subsequently, Hale was found not guilty. The presiding judge Peter Blair told the jury, “I am directing you to find him not guilty in my analysis of the evidence."
The charges against Stokes and Ali are still under trial.
Some news on Premier League signings. Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes of Barcelona will move to Everton. Colombian player Yerry Mina, a central defender, had scored thrice for his country during the 2018 World Cup. His move to Everton will cost the club 30.25 million euros, not including a further 1.5 million in add-ons. One of the 23-year-old’s goals in the World Cup was against England, which sent the round of 16 match into extra time. However, before the World Cup, Mina had just six appearances for Barca since moving from Palmeiras in January and failed to make an impression.
Mina said, “I have watched the Premier League for a long time. It is the best league in the world. This is a great opportunity for me and I am looking forward to competing here. I spoke with Andre (Gomes), too. He is a good guy and we want to do our best for Everton.”
Portuguese player Andre Gomes is the other signing by Everton. Gomes too had a lackluster time at Barcelona. He didn’t make the cut as a first team regular despite a 35 million Euro move from Valencia in 2016. He is on loan to Everton for the upcoming season for 2.25 million Euros.
Everton also signed Brazilian player Bernard. The 25-year-old, who has played 14 international matches for his country, was a free agent after his contract with Shakhtar Donetsk, a football club in Ukraine, expired. He said, “I chose Everton because of all the things I had heard about (manager) Marco Silva...after speaking to him I was happy with what he said to me.”
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