Welcome to Spodcast, where we look at the main sports headlines of the day.
Hyeon Chung of South Korea, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the round of 16 at the 2018 Australian Open, will be one of the main draws at the upcoming Maharashtra Open tennis tournament.
World No 27 Chung will participate in the ATP 250 event that will be played in December at the Balewadi Stadium. Chung, the first South Korean to go past the fourth round at a Grand Slam, had also defeated world number 5 Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open. He faced Roger Federer in the semi-final but had to forfeit the match. He was struggling with blisters on his left foot and had to retire hurt. His red-hot form since the start of the year, as well as at the Australian Open, saw his ranking jump from 58 to 19.
Maharashtra Open Tournament Director Prashant Sutar said, “Hyeon Chung is one of the most exciting talents in tennis today. His consistent run across various tour events, including Australian Open, since winning the inaugural Next Gen ATP Tour Finals last year has made him a player to watch out for this time at the Maharashtra Open.” The tournament is scheduled from 29 December to 5 January.
In hockey news, the Asian Champions Trophy is just a couple of days away. Indian captain Manpreet Singh said this tournament is a chance for India, who are still smarting from the semi-final loss to Malaysia in the Asian Games, to redeem themselves. He added that it is also an opportunity to test themselves before the World Cup that begins next month.
Singh said, “We have had a tough few months as we could not achieve our target of winning the gold medal at the 18th Asian Games, but it is time now for all of us to rejuvenate ourselves and prepare well for the men's Hockey World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.”
The hockey World Cup will be played in India from 28 November to 16 December. Japanese coach Siegfried Aikman said yesterday that defending champions India are the favourites in the Asian Champions Trophy, which will be held in Oman. Aikman said, “They have the skills, tactical awareness and fitness but they are vulnerable under pressure and that’s the area which we need to capitalize if we want to succeed against them.”
India, who are ranked number 5 in the world, are looking forward to the tournament. Manpreet said, “We have trained well during our National Camp in Bhubaneswar, and have focused on minimizing the mistakes in our overall play. We all knew that there were areas that needed work and the team has been determined in making things right as we approach the biggest two months in all of our careers.”
The tournament features six teams that play each other in a round-robin format. The top four teams progress to the semi-finals. The final is scheduled for 28 October.
As T20 cricket gained more popularity, a shorter version - T10 – received the ICC’s blessings last year. Now, the ICC has said it will discuss increasing scrutiny of such leagues that have mushroomed all over the world.
A PTI report noted, “The threat of corruption in the game has increased with many ICC members following the cash-rich IPL in starting their own T20 leagues. Afghanistan is the latest to join the T20 bandwagon and its league is going on in the UAE.”
The International Cricket Council begins a series of meetings in Singapore, from 16-20 October, to discuss these challenges. Geoff Allardice, ICC general manager of cricket, said, “One of the things we will be talking about in our meeting… is around regulations and sanctioning of events and also the release of players (for leagues).”
The ICC will also discuss the playing conditions of the first World Test Champions that starts after the 2019 ODI World Cup. A BCCI source said, “Points structure for the Test Championships needs to be put in place. Another issue will be cricket's inclusion in the 2028 Olympics which was also discussed in the last meeting.”
The meeting has another first in its list. Former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi, will be attending the meeting as the ICC's first independent female director.
BCCI’s Acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary will represent India. CEO Rahul Johri will skip the meeting following allegations of sexual harassment against him.
Meanwhile, in some shocking news from the world of cricket, former opening batsman for Sri Lanka Sanath Jayasuriya is being investigated by the ICC on two counts of breaching the Anti-Corruption Code of Conduct.
Jayasuriya has been charged for breaching Article 2:4:6 and Article 2:4:7, which pertain to non-cooperation with investigations, and withholding, concealing or destroying evidence.
Sri Lanka’s swashbuckling opener, who destroyed many bowling attacks in his playing days, served as the Chairman of Selectors after retirement. His second tenure, from June 2016 to September 2017, is now under investigation. According to reports, when ICC investigators met Jayasuriya in October last year, he refused to hand over his mobile phone to the investigators. That resulted in the ICC charging him under Articles 2:4:6 and 2:4:7.
Sources told Firstpost that Sri Lanka's defeat to Zimbabwe in July 2017 might also have come under the spotlight. However, it is believed Jayasuriya had reported several approaches by corrupt elements during his own playing days.
Jayasuriya has time until 31 October to respond to the charges. He is expected to hold a press conference in Colombo this week. If he pleads guilty, he could be handed a suspension ranging from six months to five years. If he pleads innocent, an independent Judicial Commissioner will be appointed to hear the case. The ICC suspended former Test cricketer Jayananda Warnaweera, the curator of the cricket stadium at Galle, for three years when he failed to attend an inquiry in 2015. Reports suggest that leads from that investigation led to the charges against Jayasuriya. A source in Sri Lanka Cricket told PTI that the former captain is under investigation for "trying to block" the 2015 probe.
The source also made it clear that the investigation does not include match fixing. He said, “... the ICC has not charged him with either match-fixing or any corrupt activities. The charge against him is only non-cooperation in probe."
Updated Date: Oct 16, 2018 13:40 PM