LISTEN: Full script of Episode 102 of Spodcast where we discuss Real Madrid, Manchester United defeats in Champions League and more

Welcome to Spodcast, the daily sports update on Firstpost.

An update on the controversy in Indian women’s cricket that is making headlines to start today’s podcast. Diana Edulji’s latest reply to the BCCI Committee of Administrators’ head Vinod Rai rakes up the Virat Kohli-Anil Kumble issue.

The former cricketer, a member of the Coa, wrote an email to Vinod Rai expressing her disagreement with the appointment of an ad-hoc committee regarding the selection of a coach for the women’s team. She argued that if the men's cricket team captain Virat Kohli could get his choice of a coach after bypassing the rules, then the women's captain should also be entitled to same privilege.

Edulji wrote, “Virat did not accede to Kumble continuing in spite of Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) saying so then why not these two players get what they feel is best for the team.” She added, “I see nothing wrong in women cricketers writing emails reg(arding) the coach. They were truthful in expressing their views unlike Virat who frequently sent sms's to the CEO on which you acted and there was a change in the Coach.”

Edulji pointed out that timelines were extended for 'someone' to apply for the head coach job when the CAC headed by Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman was to interview the applicants. She did not name that someone in the letter, but she seemed to be pointing towards Ravi Shastri, who was eventually selected as the head coach of the side. She wrote, “There also I had objected and my dissent is recorded when the timelines were extended for someone to apply as he didn't apply in time. Mr Kumble, a legend in his own right, was subjected to loss of face and made to look like a villain, he was gracious enough to move on for which I respect him…”

Meanwhile, the man in the eye of the storm, Ramesh Powar, said on Wednesday that there was no bad blood from his side towards veteran Mithali Raj. Powar, who has reapplied for the head coach’s post, said the disagreement with Mithali during the T20 world cup was one of the main triggers for the current acrimony wreaking havoc on women’s cricket in India.

Powar said, “I haven’t closed any communication channels with Mithali. For that matter, I am on speaking terms with all members of the team, including Ekta (Bisht), Mansi (Joshi) or even the youngest member of the side Jemimah (Rodrigues). There is absolutely no bad blood for Mithali from my side.”

Speaking about his application for the position of head coach once again, Powar said, “I can’t keep worrying about CoA politics. I am aware that one member is backing me while the other is not. I can only make an effort to serve the Indian team and it was my duty to apply after Smriti and Harmanpreet backed me openly as well as in the meeting with Mr Rai.”

Football news from the Champions League up next. Real Madrid and Manchester United slumped to embarrassing losses in their group matches. Real topped their group despite losing 3-0 to CSKA Moscow, their worst loss in over 250 home games in European competitions.

But Manchester United had it worse. They lost 2-1 to Valencia and lost the chance to top Group H ahead of Juventus after the Italian giants lost to Swiss Club Young Boys 2-1.

Real went with a second string team as coach Santiago Solari rested most of his key players. He used several others who hadn't started much this season, including Isco and Marco Asensio. That proved a costly gamble, as Real showed no intensity on the field. CSKA seized this chance, making it a home-and-away double over Real, though the Russian team still finished in last place in Group G. Fedor Chalov and Georgi Schennikov scored in the first half for CSKA while Arnor Sigurdsson scored the third after the break. CSKA coach Viktor Goncharenko said, “It's sad ... to beat Real Madrid, earn seven points, but finish bottom and get eliminated from Europe.”

Real Madrid left-back Marcelo called it “a painful result” for the Spanish team.

Manchester United too deployed a second string team. And paid the price. It was painful to watch - Phil Jones scored an own-goal from outside his own area, and Paul Pogba missed a great chance to score four yards away from Valencia’s goal. Carlos Soler scored for Valencia while Marcus Rashford scored for Manchester United. Manager Jose Mourinho said, “Tonight, it is job done in a difficult group.”

The big thriller of the night was the 3-3 draw between Bayern Munich and Ajax. Bayern opened the scoring in the 13th minute courtesy of Robert Lewandowski. Ajax equalized in the 67th minute.

But no one was prepared for the flurry of goals that would follow some time later. Four goals were scored from the 82nd minute, including an equalizer for Ajax five minutes into stoppage time!

That crazy game saw Bayern Munich top Group E while Ajax finished second.

Meanwhile, French club Lyon drew 1-1 with Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine to retain second place in Group F and qualify for the next round. Shakhtar now drop into the Europa League.

Some news from the 2018 Hockey World Cup, which is getting more exciting towards the final stages.

Seventh-ranked England pulled off a huge upset in the quarterfinals yesterday, defeating Olympic champions Argentina 3-2. The match did not start well for England, who conceded a goal in just the 17th minute when Gonzalo Peillat converted a penalty corner. A persistent England fought back to get into the game and equalized 10 minutes later when Barry Middleton slotted one into Argentina’s goal. England kept up the pressure as Argentina adopted a defensive approach, and drew blood again in the 45th minute when Will Calnan made it 2-1. Argentina came roaring back, equalizing just three minutes later thanks to Peillat. England were having none of it, and a mere minute later, Harry Martin shocked Los Leones with a field strike to make it 3-2.

This win takes England to the semi-final. It’s the third straight world cup semi-final for England! In the semi-final on Saturday, they will face the winner of the match between Germany and Belgium.

In the other quarterfinal played on Wednesday, defending champions and world number one Australia defeated upstarts France to reach the semi-final. Australia secured a decisive 3-0 win over the team that surprised everyone in the tournament.

France challenged the reigning champions all through the game but the Aussies were just too skilled and too experienced for 20th ranked France. Jeremy Hayward scored the first goal for Australia in the 4th minute. Despite a spirited defence by France, Blake Govers found a way past them to make it 2-0 in the 19th minute. Australian captain Aran Zalewski made it 3-0 in the 37th minute. All three goals were off penalty corners, which underlines Australia’s ability to convert corners into goals. France, on the other hand, wasted the penalty corners they received.

Australia will face the winner of the India v Netherlands match in their semi-final on Saturday.

And finally, some news from wrestling to wrap up today’s podcast. The Wrestling Federation of India has made amends to the contracts of star wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik after what it claims was a mistaken downgrading. The WFI has now promoted them to Grade A from the Grade B that it had allocated to them when announcing the contracts.

Speaking at the launch of Tata Motors Elite Wrestlers Development Programme, WFI President Brijbhushan Sharan Singh explained the change of heart. He said, “...during the national championships at Gonda when our full body was present, we realised that players like Sushil, a two-time Olympic medallist, and Sakshi Malik, who gave the country the first medal when India's medal tally (at the Rio Olympics was empty)...We all unanimously agreed that such players should not be kept in B grade.”

He added, “...I would like to admit that it was a mistake (on our part) and we are rectifying the mistake and are now including both the players (Sakshi and Sushil) to A grade.” Singh also claimed, “Players did not complain about it, neither (did) the media... But we have rectified the mistake.”

Following this rectification, five wrestlers - Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat, Pooja Dhanda, Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik - are now in Grade A. Wrestlers in Grade A will receive Rs 30 lakh annually. There are no players in Grade B. Grace C has seven wrestlers in including Divya Kakran and Ritu Phogat while Grade D has nine players including Rahul Aware, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist. Grade C wrestlers receive 10 lakh rupees annually while Grade D wrestlers earn 5 lakh rupees.

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Updated Date: Dec 13, 2018 13:21:37 IST

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