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Listen: Episode 48 of our daily podcast where we discuss wrestler Deepak Punia's silver at Junior World Championship, Angelo Mathews' removal as Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the sports update on Firstpost.

Wrestler Deepak Punia won the silver in the 86kg freestyle event at the junior world wrestling championship in Slovakia. The gold went to Turkey's Arif Ozen, who defeated Punia 2-1. Deepak scored his only point with just three seconds remaining in the bout. He had also won gold at the junior Asian Championships earlier this year.

India won six medals at the championship. This haul includes three silver and three bronze medals. Vijay won a silver in the 60kg category in Greco Roman while Sajan bagged a silver in the 77kg category. There were high expectations from Sachin Rathi in the 74kg category, but he lost his bronze medal match to Devid Betanov of Canada. In the 92kg category, Sanjeet lost 6-7 to Erhan Yaylaci.

In cricket news, Angelo Mathews has been removed as captain of Sri Lanka’s limited overs teams after their humiliating exit from the Asia Cup.

The SLC sacked ODI and T20 skipper Matthews, and replaced him with Test captain Dinesh Chandimal for the upcoming England tour. The board released a statement that said, “The national selectors... have requested Mathews to relinquish his duties as captain with immediate effect.”

Angelo Mathews has received criticism from many quarters regarding his leadership after Sri Lanka was defeated by lower ranked Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. Mathews wrote an emotional letter to the Sri Lankan board where he said, “...I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka's dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan... I'm willing to take part of the blame but at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me...I do not agree with the reasoning that the losses should be accrued single handed to the Captaincy... I however eagerly and wholeheartedly respect the request of the selection committee and the head coach…”

Dinesh Chandimal will now captain Sri Lanka in all three formats of the game.

In other cricket news, Afghanistan player Mohammad Shahzad reported a spot-fixing approach for the upcoming Afghan Premier T20 League.

ESPNCricinfo reported that an ICC official had said, “There was an approach made during the Asia Cup…for their own T20 league.”

Shahzad, the wicketkeeper-batsman for Afghanistan who is currently playing in the Asia Cup, reported the approach to the team management. It was then taken up with the ICC's anti-corruption unit.

The ICC’s anti-corruption chief Alex Marshall said five international captains were approached in the last 12 months, four of them from Test playing nations. He said, “There have been 32 investigations in the last 12 months, eight involve players as suspects. Five of them involve administrators or non-playing personnel. Three of these individuals have been charged. Five internationals captains have also reported receiving approaches to spot-fix.”

Speaking about how the ICC deals with such corruption, Marshall said, “We try to link up with the intelligence. We look at what we know about this event, are we providing anti-corruption cover, are we already there or is it being provided by another party? Are there any other strands of intelligence we have about that tournament? Is there anything about financial backers or the people surrounding the tournament are suspicious?”

He added, “We do find a lot of corrupters who move between formats of international and domestic, because they're looking for the opportunity and vulnerability.”
The Afghan Premier T20 League is scheduled to be played in Sharjah from 5 to 23 October.

Some football news now and the introduction of mid-season breaks in the Indian Super League has received mixed reactions.

The organisers of the ISL have introduced three mid-season breaks, keeping in mind the Indian national team's preparations for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. Two of the breaks coincide with FIFA's window for international matches. The first will be from 8 to 16 October when India play China in a friendly match. The second will be from 12 to 20 November, when the AIFF hopes to host Saudi Arabia in another friendly. The second break will happen after 34 matches of the upcoming ISL season.

The third break, the longest, starts on 17 December and could go on until February of 2019, when the AFC Asian Cup ends. The AFC Asian Cup will be held in the UAE from 5 January to 1 February. The long break in December allows the national team to hold a preparatory camp for the Asian Cup.

On the other hand, there are concerns that such breaks could harm the momentum of ISL clubs. Coaches and international players seem to be divided in their views on the breaks.

FC Pune City Coach Miguel Angel Portugal said, “It is not good for the ISL. One break is good but three breaks are too much. It is not good for the players.” Joseph Gombau, coach for the Delhi Dynamos team, said, “We play our first match and then for 15 days we don't have a game. Then we play five matches in 13 days. To manage the side when we play every two and a half days is very difficult.” FC Goa's Ferran Corominas said, “It's not great for a player to have so many breaks between matches but ultimately you have to adapt. Adaptation will be key in deciding who makes it to the top four this season.”

However, for many others, these breaks are a positive addition to the tournament because they mirror the breaks in the European leagues. Mumbai City captain Lucian Goian said, "It is there everywhere in the world. When FIFA allots dates for international matches, all leagues take a break.”

He added that the breaks might not be so great for clubs that are doing well before the break, but teams who are in a bad shape can clear their minds and train better. Mumbai City manager Jorge Costa said, “The first break is good for us because we didn't have time to work. We have been working for one month and we have only played two games. The 15-day break will help us to improve the team.”

Costa and Goian also see the 40-day break in December as a time when international players from Europe and South America can spend time with their families during Christmas and New Year.

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Updated Date: Sep 25, 2018 12:01:46 IST