Sad to see T20 World Cup postponed, but grateful for the options

By Sports Desk July 26, 2020

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT 

T20 Cricket World Cup postponed, but still lots of cricket to see

The men’s T20 World Cup, which was scheduled to take place in Australia this year, between October 18th and November 15th, has been postponed due to COVID-19. The International Cricket Council Chief Executive Manu Sawhney said the decision was made with safety in mind and that it would be moved to 2021. 

Initially, the news came as a surprise and I must admit I was disappointed, to an extent, as West Indies are the defending T20 champions and I am always ready for some competitive cricket. Upon weighing the pros and cons of hosting a tournament of this magnitude and prestige, however, the huge risk it would pose due to the extent of planning and caution that would be required became clear.  

I compared it to the ongoing biosecure test in England, which has been smooth so far. It would definitely be more difficult to stage the World Cup than the biosecure tour of England as it would involve gathering 15 other nations with different levels of the coronavirus infection, in Australia, where the state of Victoria was currently under lockdown after a new surge in cases. Victoria was to stage the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

Now, with every setback, we can choose to see the positives or dwell on the negatives. The postponement has reshaped the men’s international calendar to accommodate the bilateral series that have been postponed everywhere since March, except in England. 

Despite the loss of this exciting tournament, it has cleared the way for the popular Indian Premier League. The IPL has advanced the 13th edition of the tournament by a week, rescheduling the start date from September 26th to the 19th, with the final set for November 8th in the United Arab Emirates. Sixty matches will be played in fifty-one days. 

India will see in excess of 1200 individuals flying to the UAE once both governments give the nod. However, plans on how to fly the players, staff, and team management to the venue are still being worked out. This is the first time in the history of the tournament that the entire competition has been shifted out of the country and at the last minute. The BCCI and the IPL franchises are busy figuring out the logistics. 

In addition to this venture, Cricket West Indies Chief Executive Johnny Grave confirmed that discussions are ongoing with South Africa officials over a tour to the Caribbean. Grave says the tour is likely to follow the CPL, which ends on September 10.  I am appreciative of the effort being exerted to ensure our male cricketers continue to play the game they love but I do hope the same discussions are being carried out to ensure that our Windies women cricketers are afforded similar opportunities. 

Eagerly anticipating the NBA restart

   I shall not read too much into the scrimmage matches that took place during the week, but it was heart-warming to see the players back on the court, in their gears, doing what they love. The most outstanding part of the restart is the players' commitment to highlighting social justice issues and seeking change. The players have not allowed the issues to be swept under the carpet.  

Last week, LeBron, speaking for nearly 15 minutes, outlined his objection with the term movement in the “Black Lives Matter Movement.” LeBron stressed that being born black is not a movement but instead a lifestyle. In addition, LeBron wrote a message on his shoe with a marker, #justiceforbreonnaT. What resonates with me is that LeBron is not just wearing symbols associated with the injustices meted out to black people but he is using his voice and platform to call on the authorities to make a change. 

Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell believes that inaction is not an option. What happens if they do not continue to prop up issues of racial inequality and police brutality? The conversation could fade into the background. He stressed how sad it was for one to feel unsafe at one's own home.  “It’s near and dear to my heart and painful to see,” Mitchell said. “The fact that an African American woman can’t be safe in her own home is wild, just the concept is wild. The fact that there hasn’t been anything done about it is crazier. ... What are we waiting for?” 

            Philadelphia 76ers’ Tobias Harris also put pressure on Kentucky’s AG Daniel Cameron to press charges against the officers and questioned the No Knock warrant. Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, is thanking players from the NBA and WNBA for continuing to keep her daughter’s name alive as she continues to fight for justice.  Keep up the good work on and off the court gentlemen!

Liverpool's 30-year wait well worth it!

The fireworks started at Anfield long before the Premier League trophy was presented to Liverpool at the Kop. Liverpool's 5-3 win against Chelsea was an entertaining finale to their third successive unbeaten Premier League season at Anfield. Liverpool has officially ended their 30-year wait for a Premier League title, beating all odds, even the coronavirus pandemic. 

Liverpool were confirmed as champions on June 25, with seven games to spare, when nearest rivals Manchester City lost at Chelsea, but they had to wait until their final home game of the season to be presented with the trophy. 

It was symbolic that the trophy was handed over by the last manager to win it at Liverpool, Sir Kenny Dalglish. Liverpool throughout the entire season showed they had what it took to be worthy Premier League Champions. 

How Liverpool won the title is the most striking thing for me. The 30-year time span that it took to secure the trophy. The fact that in 2018-2019 they finished one point behind Manchester City. Then came the pandemic in March and Klopp did admit he was concerned about the season being declared null and void during the enforced shutdown. As it turned out, Liverpool's tally of 82 points from 29 games when football was stopped was enough to win the title. Jurgen Klopp re-wrote the history books. A well-deserved victory. Congrats. 

 

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    Diogo Jota is "a pressing monster" whose technical ability is already on a par with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, according to Pep Lijnders.

    Liverpool signed the forward from Wolves last week in a deal that could potentially reach a value of £45million.

    Assistant manager Lijnders did not reveal if Jota would make his debut for the club in Thursday's EFL Cup third-round tie away to Lincoln City at his pre-match news conference.

    But he did explain how thrilled Liverpool were to sign him and how good they think the 23-year-old already is.

    "Diogo, his technical level is the same as our front three," said Lijnders.

    "He has future in his feet. He will have a great pathway inside our club. He is like a pressing monster so he will fit in straight away.

    "I know him since he was very young. In Portugal they say what a great signing Liverpool have made because they know exactly how he is and what kind of potential he still has.

    "We are really happy with him and all the things we heard [about him] are true. He is very professional, very dedicated, passionate and brave player."

    Lijnders was also asked about Thiago Alcantara, who did make his debut as a substitute for the Reds as they defeated Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday.

    He believes Thiago will help the team continue to drive forward having won the domestic title and the Champions League over the past two years, with the management team not worried by the selection dilemma caused by his arrival.

    "We haven't bought a problem - we have bought a solution," said Lijnders.

    "We are really happy he is with us, this team deserves a player like him because he will keep us evolving. Teams adapt, teams try to destroy our plans and we need to stay unpredictable.

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  • Liverpool hopeful of Henderson return against Arsenal, ready to 'attack' EFL Cup Liverpool hopeful of Henderson return against Arsenal, ready to 'attack' EFL Cup

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