Firstpost Spodcast Episode 223: Yuvraj Singh announces retirement, Indian hockey team thrashes Uzbekistan 10-0 and more
In today's edition, we discuss Yuvraj Singh's retirement, Indian hockey team's dominating win over Uzbekistan, rain-marred clashes at the World Cup and more.
Welcome to Spodcast.
Star Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh announced his retirement on Monday. The 37-year-old said, "After 25 years, in and around 22 yards, and after almost 17 years of international cricket on and off, I have decided to move on. I am extremely lucky to play 400-plus games for India. I would never have imagined this when I started my career as a cricketer. It was a love-hate relationship with the sport, in retrospect. I don't think I hated the game, because the love I have for it today, which will remain a constant till the end of [my] life. I can't really express in words what is that feeling."
Yuvraj debuted for India during the ICC Champions Trophy in 2000 in Kenya and last played for the national team in 2017 in an ODI against West Indies at North Sound. Yuvraj's golden years were between 2007 - after the 6 sixes against England in the inaugural T20 world cup - and 2011, when he battled undiagnosed stage-1 lung cancer to help India win the World Cup at home.
Yuvraj, the flamboyant left-handed batsman, ends his international cricket career with an aggregate of 11,778 runs. He scored 8701 runs in ODIs, 1900 runs in Tests and 1177 runs in T20Is respectively. He also took 111 wickets in ODIs with his left arm spin bowling.
In World Cup news, the match between South Africa and the West Indies was abandoned on Monday after persistent heavy rain in Southampton.
South Africa, desperately needing a win after losing their first three matches, lost the toss and were put in to bat under threatening skies. They found themselves in trouble pretty quickly, with Hashim Amla edging Sheldon Cottrell to Chris Gayle at slip for just six. Cottrell also removed Aiden Markram for just 5 and the Proteas were in serious trouble at 29/2 by the eighth over.
The skies opened up in the next over, and never let up. The match was abandoned and both sides were awarded a point each. South African skipper Faf du Plessis said, "Very disappointing, but you can't control the weather. We didn't get close to a game."
Tennis news now. The 2019 French Open women's champion Ashleigh Barty's first Grand Slam title allowed her to rise to a career-best ranking of number 2 on Monday, almost three years to the day after she re-entered the WTA rankings following a hiatus from tennis while she played professional cricket.
Barty jumped six places and now trails only reigning US Open and Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka. She said, "...being No. 2 in the world's incredible. It's something I never dreamed of as a child and obviously we'll keep chipping away and try our best to get to No. 1."
In men's tennis, the top eight rankings stayed the same. French Open champion Rafael Nadal is at No. 2, behind Novak Djokovic. Roger Federer is still at No. 3, and Roland Garros runner-up Dominic Thiem is No 4.
In hockey news, Akashdeep Singh slammed a hat-trick as favourites India scored goals at will to thrash Uzbekistan 10-0 and storm into the semi-finals of the FIH Series Finals hockey tournament on Monday. The action was all in the Uzbekistan half as India attacked in numbers from the word go and secured as many as five penalty corners in the first four minutes, the last of which was converted by Varun Kumar to hand lead to the home team.
Akashdeep's goals came in the 11th, 26th and 53rd minutes, while Varun Kumar and Mandeep Singh scored a brace each. Amit Rohidas, Nilkanta Sharma, and Gursahibjit Singh were the other goal-getters for the winners. The Indians had 23 shots on goal while the Uzbeks had none.
Following the win, India finished atop Pool A with an all-win record. They will face the winner of the crossover match between Japan and Poland in the semi-finals on Friday, while USA, who topped Pool B, will take on the winners of the other crossover game between Russia and South Africa.
Defeat to Anisimova deprived the 24-year-old of a shot at world number one Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round.
Osaka pulled out of last year's French Open after being fined $15,000 and threatened with disqualification after refusing to attend a news conference, withdrew from Wimbledon and ended her season after a shock third-round exit at the US Open.
Naomi Osaka had a difficult 2021 in which she revealed she had suffered depression.