LISTEN: Full script of Episode 96 of Spodcast where we discuss Gautam Gambhir's retirement, Indian football and more

Welcome to Spodcast, where we cover the big sports headlines of the day.

We start with cricket today. Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. He posted a video on Facebook announcing the end of his successful 15-year-long career. He said, “After more than fifteen years of cricket for my country, I want to retire from playing this beautiful game. Two World Cups, highest run-getter in the final of both games, it is the stuff that dreams are made of.”

The crowning moments of Gambhir’s career were his two innings in two World Cup finals that India won - he scored 97 in the 2011 World Cup final, and 75 in the 2007 T20 World Cup final.

However, he has been out of the national Test team since 2016. He last played an ODI in 2013. He captained the IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders and led them to two championship wins in 2012 and 2014. Gambhir revealed that Delhi’s Ranji Trophy match against Andhra Pradesh this week will be his last as a professional cricketer.

Gautam Gambhir made his ODI debut in 2003 against Bangladesh and his Test debut in 2004 against Australia. He remains the only Indian batsman to score hundreds in five consecutive Test matches. He was declared the ICC Test Player of the Year in 2009. The aggressive left-handed batsman scored a total of 4,154 runs in 58 Tests, and 5,238 runs in 147 ODIs for India.

Speaking to the media ahead of the first Test match between India and Australia that begins tomorrow, Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said Australia are the favourites and India would have to put up good partnerships if they want to win the series.

Rahane said that the opposition’s focus on Virat Kohli could allow the other batsmen to go about their business quietly. Harking back to the 262-run partnership the two shared in Melbourne in the 2014-15 tour, Rahane said, “...both of us really enjoyed that partnership at the MCG. Mitchell Johnson was going after Virat Kohli and I was enjoying from the (other) end as well as playing my own game. Virat...was really aggressive and going after the bowlers, verbally as well...that really helped me focus on my game and I played my natural attacking game at the other end.”

He added, “...any team that plays at home is really good and Australia are still favourites to win the series. Yes they will miss Smith and Warner but I don't think they are vulnerable….they have really good bowlers.”

Speaking about India’s batting, which is under pressure to perform consistently, the vice-captain said, “Each and every batsman's role will be to contribute for the team and I think for us it is important to get those long partnerships together.

That will be really helpful in Australia...People will criticise or appreciate, but for us it matters to stay together in difficult times.”

News from the ISL now. A home win continues to elude the Kerala Blasters FC. They were held to a 1-1 draw by Jamshedpur in a closely fought match in Kochi yesterday.

The game was goalless for over an hour as both teams squandered early scoring opportunities and then battled for possession.
Jamshedpur FC enjoyed more of the possession in the first half and Kerala Blasters, who always looked on the verge of scoring, failed to convert their chances.

In the second half, Jamshedpur forward Tim Cahill was brought down in the Kerala box by goalie Dheeraj Singh, which gave Jamshedpur a spot-kick. Midfielder Carlos Calvo sent the ball into the net putting Jamshedpur FC in the lead in the 66th minute.

Just over 10 minutes later, Kerala Blasters forward Seiminlen Doungel converted a corner, as he put the ball past Jamshedpur goalkeeper Subrata Pal and equalized the score.

Meanwhile, in I-League football action, defending champions Minerva Punjab defeated East Bengal 1-0 to jump into second place in the points table.

Both sides put up strong defences throughout the match, and no goals were scored for over 75 minutes. The first half was especially tight, as both teams refused to concede an inch. East Bengal had a couple of half-chances, both courtesy of striker Jobby Justin but the forwards failed to capitalize.

The second half saw both teams up the ante with more attacks. It is telling that the first penalty corner of the match came only in the 56th minute. But it was Punjab’s turn to waste opportunities as East Bengal beat back their challenges.

In the 77th minute, Punjab forward Moinuddin Khan floated in a cross from the left flank which pierced the Bengal defence and landed at the feet of Minerva’s Ghanaian midfielder William Opoku who deposited the ball into the East Bengal goal. It was Opoku’s second goal in three games.

Minerva Punjab now have three wins this season and are at 11 points. That puts them in second place behind Chennai City FC, who have 17 points.

Some Kabaddi news to close today’s Spodcast. The sixth season of the Pro Kabaddi League continues, and Gujarat Fortunegiants continue their winning ways. They routed Patna Pirates 45-27 on Tuesday to qualify for the playoffs.

Parvesh Bhainswal scored eight tackle points while Sachin and Prapanjan scored nine raid points each to lead Gujarat to a resounding win. On the other hand, Patna had a bad day as even star player Pardeep Narwal scored just a solitary tackle point.

Gujarat kept Narwal under pressure from the start even as Sachin scored tackle points. By half time, Gujarat was leading 20-12. They then inflicted an all-out on Patna to lead 26-13.

Meanwhile, the strong Gujarat defence thwarted Patna’s attempts and the Pirates couldn’t score any raid points. With less than five minutes left in the match, Gujarat inflicted another all-out on Patna to win the match by a huge margin.

The win takes Gujarat Fotunegiants to 68 points, which puts them in second place in Zone A behind U Mumba who have 72 points.

Updated Date: Dec 05, 2018 12:30:12 IST