Firstpost Spodcast Episode 43: Virat Kohli's absence from Asia Cup squad, Khel Ratna Awards and more on our daily podcast

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

In this episode we discuss a variety of issues like Virat Kohli’s absence from the Indian team at the ongoing Asia Cup, weightlifter Mirabai Chanu being nominated for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award — India’s highest sporting honour — among other things.

We start with cricket. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has said Kohli’s absence won’t be a factor for India when they play against Pakistan in the Asia Cup. Ganguly said, “Virat Kohli's absence won't be a factor, they are a better side.” He also said that Pakistan have improved in their performances, adding, “It will be a 50-50 contest in Dubai."

India start their Asia Cup campaign against Hong Kong on Tuesday and play Pakistan on Wednesday. 

India have won the Asia Cup six times while Pakistan have claimed the title twice. The two teams last met in the Champions Trophy final in England last year, when Pakistan beat India by 180 runs.

Kohli is taking time off after a grueling tour of England and Rohit Sharma will lead India in the Asia Cup. Sharma admitted that the Indian team's middle-order is still fluid and their objective is to identify players for the number four and six slots over the course of the tournament. 

The other major talking point on the podcast is news that Kohli and weightlifter Mirabai Chanu have been recommended for India’s highest sporting honour — the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award. Kohli, the ICC’s number one ranked Test batsman this year, has had an amazing run for three years now. He has scored a total of 58 centuries in international cricket, second only to Sachin Tendulkar’s 100 in the list of India's century-scorers in international cricket. He missed out on the award, despite nominations, in 2016 and 2017. 

Mirabai is the current Commonwealth Games gold medallist and India's only medal hope in weightlifting going into the 2020 Olympics. The Khel Ratna will be a huge boost for Chanu who is recovering from a lower back injury that forced her to skip the Asian Games in Jakarta.

We also talk about football heavyweights Real Madrid. The Spanish giants’ superstar Gareth Bale, who has won four Champions Leagues in five years at the club, has said they can be even better in their quest for a 14th championship despite the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese footballer has been the competition's top scorer for the last six seasons.

Updated Date: Sep 18, 2018 12:53:38 IST