Sunday, October 17, 2021


The Women’s T20 challenge – The Women Will Win!

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By Tara Hebbar

In the third year of the Women’s T20 Challenge, the Trailblazers, led by Smriti Mandhana, stopped Harmanpreet Kaur and her Supernovas from their three- peat. The Women’s T20 Challenge, is the alternate for the IPL, in women’s cricket. Held in Dubai, due to the pandemic. It shares similar rules, such as teams can have a limit of  4 foreign players. The competition consisted of  four games, all held at the Sharjah cricket stadium after the teams went through the necessary quarantine precautions, including quarantine. Though most of the players hadn’t played cricket in months following the T20 world cup, they didn’t allow this to stop them from putting up some splendid performances with both the bat and ball, even in the field. We were witness to some astonishing shots, unhittable balls and impeccable catches and saves just in a matter of 4 games.

“The first one-two months of the lockdown was good to spend time with the family. But I think in the last three-four months we got time to go out and start hitting some balls. It was a good time for all of us to go back and work on ourselves which we don’t get usually,” said Smriti Mandhana in her speech after winning, regarding the break period.

The format of the challenge goes like this; each team plays twice (against the other two), excluding the final, and the teams with the most points, battle it out in the final. In the case of a tie with the points, such as this year,  the NRR (Net Run Rate) is taken into account. With Mithali Raj’s Velocity vs Harmanpreet’s Supernovas opening the series to the exciting final between the Supernovas and Trailblazers, the games didn’t fail to excite. After the devastating loss of Velocity, due to the Trailblazers phenomenal bowling (all out at 47) ,  the fate of themselves and Velocity was in the hands of the Supernovas, who beat the Trailblazers to make it into the final.

This season was no exception to the exciting matches with some leading performances by Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Ecclestone, Jhulan Goswami, Suneé Luus, Ekta Bisht, Jahanara Alam, Leigh Kasperek, Chamari Atapattu, Salma Khatun, Taniya Bhatia, Radha Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shashikala Siriwardene and the list goes on. Radha Yadav was named player of the series, taking 8 wickets in just 3 matches  and overwhelming the Trailblazers with her 5 wickets in the finals. 

After their loss, the two time champions Supernovas captain Harmanpreet Kaur  said, “Unfortunately, we couldn’t do it this time. But it’s a part and parcel of the game. It wasn’t that difficult a total to chase but we failed to get two big partnerships. Sitting at home was really difficult, but we have to respect the things that are going on and be safe. Yes definitely, women’s cricket is back.” And she’s right, women’s cricket is back with a bang!

With the IPL going on simultaneously, women’s cricket never gets the attention that it ought to, this might be due to several causes, may it be the lack of games, lack of money and advertisement or the lack of acknowledgment. Although the field has come a long way since it was 10 years ago, where it was considered a joke in the face of the men’s leagues, now it holds a level of respect. There are so many talented players that deserve a platform like all the men do. Fingers cannot be pointed at anyone, but hopefully with time, it will gain the traction that IPL has. Like Smriti Mandana very rightly says – “I no longer see myself as a woman cricket, but simply as a cricketer. Why should there be labels when none are required.” 

In the end, sport is sport, cricket is cricket, the ball or the bat doesn’t care who holds it, so why should we?

Before this year, the challenge was run by BCCI, but this year, Jio was its title sponsor. This is a big achievement, as it represents the increased interest in the tournament. After yet another successful edition of the Jio Women’s T20 challenge, we look forward to seeing the girls again, the Trailblazers, Velocity and the Supernovas as strong as ever.

V.A.R. controversy

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by Shreyan Gorantala

VAR, or Video Assistant Referee, made in 2017, was made to make refereeing easier and help them make better decisions, but in the past week matchdays it has not. This has cost many games and even players for that matter. It also ruins the quality of the game and some even say that it is a riot and some say it supports a few teams. A few even say they don’t have the right technology. Regardless, VAR has disturbed the beautiful game of football.

This season in the premier league, managers, and players are irritated, making them lose points and putting them on a spot they should not be in.

 A few incidents happened like the game went to Manchester United when they faced Brighton at home from a tie game. The full-time whistle blew and then a handball was called by the Manchester United players awarded them a penalty, though they should not have and was scored by the Portugese captain Bruno Fernandes. Another incident happened on Saturday, the 17th of October 2020, when Virgil Van Dijk was fouled and was severely injured by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford. It was an offside and could not be a penalty, but there was a possible action for a red card towards Everton’s keeper, but was not considered. In the same match, Liverpool got a disallowed goal by just a slight margin and many to be considered a goal. VAR robbed Liverpool with a goal and a penalty and a definite red card. Not only that, the star defender for Liverpool, who played 90+ matches in a row will now lose almost the whole season. After the match, former referee Dermot Gallagher (1992-2007) understands the mind of the on field referee Micheal Oliver and what even the VAR referee David Coupe thought. This also occurred in another Manchectser United match, where one of the defenders, Harry Maguire choked Azpelicueta (A player for Chelsea) and when reviewed it was not given a clear penalty. The players objected, but the result was still not a penalty. The match ended up being a goalless match which made Chelsea get 1 point instead of 3. 

VAR  has been affecting many games and will affect many more, but we hope not. Let’s all hope that the beautiful game becomes beautiful again.

The Contest between the 2 Champions


by Shreyan Gorantala

Match day one started with the battle of the champions of both division’s. Taking place on 12th September, Former Premier League Champions Liverpool, facing the Champions of League 2 Leeds United, at home. The match would be fantastic everyone thought, and it was.

Liverpool and Leeds United have only played 1 game before this game for the past three years. In that game, Liverpool had an easy win, dominating the plays and won 2-0. Liverpool were also the favourites to win. They thought this because Liverpool have won 8 games and lst to Leeds United all the way back to April 1st of 2001. Although, Leeds United have got a lot of signings from then and are looking in great form. Partick Bamford and Jack Harrison, helped the white’s (Leeds United) win the English Football League (EFL). Liverpool the men in red playing, Leeds. A tough contest was awaiting for these two champions. 

It started with a kick-off from Liverpool home ground, Anfield. Liverpool had first possession and kept going for attacks, building up beautifully. Going on to the match, an early penalty was awarded to Liverpool. This was because the handball was inside the box, and the referee did not hesitate to point at the penalty spot. It was converted by Mohammed Salah making him the second person in football to score a goal or more in the opening match 4 seasons in a row. Liverpool had control, but a simple miscommunication made Liverpool lose possession and Jack Harrison, a winger who is als one of the star players of Leeds United who was in form capitalized that by hitting a rocket behind the box, smashing the top corner. Alisson Becker was hopeless with that shot and could not save it. Harrison made the white’s get level in the contest. Right after that, Liverpool went on with another attack which was finished by Sadio Mane, the winger for Lverpool,  a cross from Scottish player, Andrew Roberston. Except it was disallowed as the Scottish was off-side and the game continued with the score still 1-1. Eight minutes after Harrison’s rocket, a corner got awarded to Liverpool from a great save by the keeper, after a shot from distance by Roberto firmino. Andrew Roberston, took the corner and whipped the ball in which was headed to the back of the net by Virgil Van Dijk. This time it was a goal. 10 minutes later, Leeds’ star and new signing last year, Patrick Bamford made the game tied again with a howler from defender Virgil Van Dijk. On the 33rd minute, Mohammed Salah scored his second hitting, a beauty, and made Liverpool lead for the third time this game. The half-time whistle blew as the game was very close with Liverpol leading by a goal.

When the second half started, minutes after Liverpool led 3-2, to opposing side Leeds. Soon, after 33 minutes of goalless play, Matuesz Klich, Leed’s midfielder,  had scored to tie the game 3 a piece. The match could go to either side, putting pressure on Liverpool. As if a life saver had come to Liverpool’s aid, in 2 minutes, before full-time as they were awarded another penalty. Leed’s players had asked for off-side and  was checked by Video Assistant Referee (VAR. After further checking it was confirmed a penalty. Salah scored his second penalty and got his hat-trick in the first game making him back in form. The game ended in a score of 4-3 with Liverpool edging past the champions of League 2, Leeds United F.C. making the premier League interesting right from Matchday 1. 

IPL’s Power Play!

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by Tara Hebbar and Tanvi Mittal

Since the IPL started in 2008, it’s touched and changed many people’s lives. We’ve grown to love the teams and players for their extraordinary talent and remarkable skill. We think of all the older, advanced cricket players but a new generation of cricketers have arisen shocking us with their incredible flair for the sport. Many of these players are so young, yet they look like professionals on the field with a tremendous amount of talent and knack for the game. These players have extraordinary backgrounds and come from all around the world!

Ravi Bishnoi, the 20-year-old who has proved that where there is a will, there is most definitely a way! His father being the headmaster of a school, it wasn’t easy to convince him on a sports career. Moreover, his town didn’t offer a cricket facility, but this didn’t stop Ravi from following his dreams. One of his friends and he started their own academy, he says

Our ground used to be just a patch of barren land filled with rocks. We cleared those rocks ourselves because back then we couldn’t afford a JCB truck. Then, we planted the grass on the ground ourselves, the special red mud needed for the wicket was also ordered by us, and we leveled the playing surface as well.

He showed his talent off at the under -19 world cup where he took 17 wickets and now he continues to flair his talent in his maiden IPL with the team KXII Punjab!

Devdutt Padikkal, RCB player who has been nothing short of impressive during his maiden IPL this year. Though his shots have been power-packed and diverse, and his fielding has been impeccable, he admits to being nervous prior to playing his first match against SRH, where he scored a dazzling 50. He says to Chahal following the game, “I was very nervous upon hearing the news of making my debut. But when I came to bat I settled down after playing a few balls.” He went on to talk about the inspiration he has derived from the captain of the team, saying “The last one month that we practiced, I learnt a lot from Virat bhaiya. I kept asking him questions whenever I was around him. Even today, when I was playing with Finch, he showed a lot of confidence in me.” This shows the role a captain plays in encouraging young minds and cricketers and being a pillar of support for them.

We follow with Shubhman Gill, the run machine who owes his splendid career to his father. “Shubman was interested in the sport from a very young age. He started wielding a bat at the age of three. He never liked any other toys. He would play with a bat and a ball even before going to bed,” says his father, Lakhwinder Singh. His father had a lifelong dream of playing professional cricket but unfortunately never got to, and hence installed it into his son, who made his life long, and power six. His father even moved his family to Mohali so that Shubham could have access to the best facilities. This IPL Shubhman Gill has proved to be an integral part of the KKR’s team and a player who has a bright and successful future ahead of himself. 

We observe yet another inspiring cricket story in the likes of Priyam Garg, match finisher for team SRH, this year. His father had severe financial difficulties and though he did recognize his son’s cricket talent, having 5 kids he had no money to buy a bat, forget coaching. After realizing his true potential Priyams father borrowed money to find a coach for Priyam and enrolled him under the coaching of  Sanjay Rastogi, who had recognized cricketers such as Bhuvi. Though Priyam first wanted to become a fast bowler, Rastogi encouraged him to focus on his batting. In 2011, after the death of his mother, Priyam contemplated quitting cricket to assist his father in running the household but this was not allowed to do this after his father encouraged him to continue. He then succeeded in the Under – 19 world cup, and again in this IPL. This highlights how vital parental support can help children.

Prithvi Shaw is a 20-year-old star with an inspiring story that started at the young age of three. After playing throughout his childhood, Prithvi continued to play in and lead his team in many big tournaments including being the captain for the U-19 Indian team in the U-19 ICC 2018 where they won against West Indies when he was just 18 years old. However, this all changed in late 2019 when Shaw failed a dope test. mentioned in their article that “A release from the Board said Shaw had ‘inadvertently ingested a prohibited substance, which can be commonly found in cough syrups’.” Shaw then faced a 16-month suspension for his actions. Soon after former star and cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar talked to Shaw as he often does with younger players. Tendulkar said during an interview, “It’s true. I have had a number of interactions over the years with Prithvi. He is a very talented player and I am happy to help him. I spoke to him about cricket and also life beyond the cricket field,” he said. Prithvi’s back on track playing for the Delhi Capitals and is an excellent cricketer and leader and has been playing cricket like never before. 

Sam Curran, a 22-year-old left-handed batsman tells a bold story with his bat and the ball. This young, especially talented cricketer is as effortless with his batting, as he is as a left-handed medium-paced bowler. Over the course of an India Series in 2018, Curran took eleven wickets and has scored crucial runs for his teams. He continued to have an amazing performance, but where did it start? He was born and raised in Newhampton, England. His dad was a Zimbabwean all-rounder and Curran learned from him, his love of cricket started there. He and his brother Tom who now plays for the Rajasthan Royals started playing at Surrey, a club in England. Surrey knew that Tom was a gem right away. And they were right as Curran’s time in the IPL playing first for Kings 11 Punjab and now Chennai Super Kings has been nothing short of impressive. 

25-year-old Sanju Samson is making runs like it’s a breeze. This year in the IPL it’s Rajasthan Royals player Samson’s true time to shine. On multiple occasions he has made an extraordinary score, blowing everyone’s minds. But just last year things were different for him. In an interview for the Hindustan Times, he said, “I was really fed up of myself last year. I had been trying very hard but things were not happening. Then I really went back to myself, did a bit of soul-searching and I really asked myself lots of different questions. Like, ‘What do I want to achieve in my life?’ and ‘Where do I want to reach until my cricket career finishes?’’ After this, Samson came back stronger than ever for the 2020 IPL. For his first two, consecutive matches Sanju was made Man of the Match after his excellent performance. This shows how with dedication and the spirit to win, your willpower can bring you up to stronger than ever. 

All these different examples just show how youngsters of IPL have been picked from the most unusual of places and how they all have a story to tell and people to thank. But most of all it’s their respective teams that can thank them for the “power plays” of IPL have proved to be nothing but impressive this season, each one contributing to their team’s victories in one way or another. 

Far too many coincidences — How the IPL is rigged?

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By Pritha Nag

For the last 12 years, Indians have been given arguably the most corrupt league in the whole world, the Indian Premier League of Cricket (The IPL). The IPL first started out in 2008, and it has amassed global attention, raking in players from all over the world. The IPL is a huge franchise that is worth about $6.7 billion. Playing one season in the IPL can guarantee comfort for the rest of your life. But after watching many IPL matches, I have seen that there are far too many coincidences that occur, that can be considered as match-fixing. But what proof is there? 

After watching matches for a couple of years, you can start to realise far too many coincidences. The Mumbai Indians managing to win the IPL every two years– 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 even being known as the “Odd Glitch” to some, as they manage to win every other year. Out of those four matches, two have been such a close call (2017 and 2019), that the Mumbai Indians have won by one run. It could have gone either way. But it conveniently happened to go the way of the Mumbai Indians each time?

On April 22nd, 2018, Sunrisers Hyderabad hosted Chennai Super Kings, and Rajasthan Royals hosted Mumbai Indians. Chennai won the game by a close 4 runs, and Ambati Rayudu was crowned Man of the match. Later that evening, Rajasthan defeated Mumbai by three wickets, and player Rohit Sharma was run out on the first ball. This same formula was repeated in the season, with the exact same teams. On Sunday 13th May, Chennai hosted Hyderabad (previously it was Hyderbad had hosted Chennai) in Pune while Mumbai hosted Rajasthan (previously it was Rajasthan had hosted Mumbai) at the Wankhede stadium. Chennai Super Kicks won the match by eight wickets, and Ambati Rayudu won the Man of the Match award once again. Hours later, Rajasthan defeated Mumbai in the evening and then Mumbai captain Rohit Sharma was out on the first ball of the match, just as the previous match against Rajasthan. Exact same formula– same teams, same man of the match, and same person out on the first ball. 

A bookie (a  person that accepts and pays off bets on sporting and other events at agreed-upon odds) has also come out and talked about how the IPL games are fixed, and how they have mastered subtle signals that we as viewers never notice. For example, he had said– “In the IPL five t-shirts will be the full size, five will be half sleeves. A player bowls the over in full t-shirt, that is the signal.”  This tells us what type of t-shirt a player is wearing, can signal to the rest of the players what to and what not to do. He went on to say that– “A wide a running in and stopping without bowling are all signals.”  A single wide ball (a wide ball is a ball that the batsment are unable to reach) can indicate to the players to score a six for the next bowl, or for a wicket to be taken. It’s all so carefully executed that we as the viewers fail to notice these small signs. 

On October 11th, 2020, Delhi Capitals and the Mumbai Indians played together in a match. Seeing that there is less fan interaction due to the current pandemic, teams have been trying to interact with fans more via social media. What was so peculiar about this match, is that the official Mumbai Indians Twitter page had tweeted out only a few minutes at the start of the match– “Pattinson is sharing the new ball with Boult!” This sounds perfectly fine until you read a little below. At the bottom of the tweet, the Mumbai Indians had tweeted out “DC – 163/5 (19.5)”. To decipher this tweet, DC stands for the Delhi capitals, so it is saying that the Delhi Capitals were going to have a score of 163/5 in 19.5 overs. This tweet was tweeted only a few minutes into the match, which is what makes it so interesting because the match had barely started. To thicken the plot the Delhi Capitals ended the match with almost exactly that score– 162/4 in 20 overs. Moreover, the official Mumbai Indians page took down the tweet, dut to getting questioned about it by the IPL supper fans.  They are yet to address it as of the 15/10/20, but this is more than coincidence. Almost the exact score tweeted, at the beginning of the match! How could anyone ever be able to guess what the score was even before it started. 

What makes the IPL so thrilling is how down to the wire it is. It is argued that far too many IPL matches have been won by a narrow margin of one run. In the 2019 season, it was reported one in every ten matches had ended in a win by just one run, including the final!. This occurs very rarely in One Day Cricket, Test Cricket, and International Cricket. 

It is also valid to mention that the IPL had no anti-corruption coverage from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) specialist unit until it’s third edition. The anit corruption coverage works towards making sure that there is no corruption in sports. The tournament’s first commissioner, Lalit Modi, had admitted it was a mistake on his part, but the milk had already been split. 

This may pose the question as to why do some of the world’s best cricket players come to the IPL, that is allegedly rigged? No other domestic league has managed to boast players, cheerleaders, or thrills as the IPL has. Some of the world’s biggest players come to earn millions and millions of dollars. Through watching the IPL you will see many familiar ads pop up over the course of the season, in between breaks, wickets, time outs, and so on. For a small ten-second ad to be televised during the IPL it is $17,705. Star sports is said to have amassed $40,858,470 from ad revenues alone. The money earned is the simple answer to the question. The average salary of an IPL player that he earns during one season is $109,929. For some of the most well-known players, they earn higher figures of about $23,189,92. The average salary most people make in a year is about so in comparison to what a single IPL player makes in three months. 

All in all, many could argue if or if not they think that the IPL is fixed. Many could say that if you put your mind to think there is an error in the IPL, your mind will be fixed on over-analysing every small thing that happens. Although there is no solid proof of match-fixing in the IPL, it is important to consider all the “coincidences” and corruption behind the scenes. The IPL has managed to give many new cricketers a chance to shine and fulfil their childhood passions and dreams, the way other leagues have not been able to. Many of the teams have also donated millions and millions of dollars to good causes, such as India’s fight towards Covid-19. That being said when the IPL trophy gets lifted on November 10th, a lot of corruption and scheming would have been behind that trophy. So the next time you are watching an IPL match, notice the minor coincidences, the small signs, and hidden signals and ask yourself– is the IPL rigged?

NBA & BLM, Hand in Hand!

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by Tara Hebbar and Manavi Nag.

A wave of protests, riots, awareness, pleas of justice has been drowning the US the past few months. These are all part of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has been gaining rhythm, traction and attention all over the world. In the light of the current pandemic, the NBA (National Basketball Association) has also restarted the season once more. This restart is a one location game with all players isolated in “the bubble” with top-notch safety precautions. This has also been in the spotlight for the past few months as we are nearing the end of the conference finals. As role models to millions of young minds, the NBA and all its players and staff have been advocating strongly for the same movement. They have been calling for justice for every single person who has been brutally struck by people who are part of the police force.

The NBA is made up predominantly of Black players with about 74.4% of all the players being black, as of 2015. With more than half of the players in the NBA being Black people, many of them have faced racism, discrimination and other prejudiced behaviour on the basis of the skin colour, throughout their lifetime which could be a core reason as to why so many of them are dedicated to helping out the cause. The NBA has also taken this stance because as a league with majority black players, it is important that they show that they stand with the movement that brings racial justice to more than half of the entire NBA league players. 

The NBA as a franchise has also introduced several measures to show their support to the cause. These measures include, the BlackLivesMatter logo plastered on the court and given importance during every game. Ads, during breaks, that call for justice. A social justice message on each player’s jersey. Taking the knee during the national anthem. Several players have donated their salaries or a portion of it to the cause, with many starting foundations to assist it. The symbol is everywhere, from buses, jerseys, masks to clothes. One of the biggest events was the walkout, where several NBA teams refused to play after the shooting of Jacob Blake. This was led by the Milwaukee Bucks, and supported by the NBA as they cancelled the games that took place in the next couple of days. The league and its players did not want to distract from the movement. This was to give players, coaches and staff members alike,  adequate time to help the cause. Many players and teams have also taken to the streets to show their displeasure.  Subsequently, they also have strongly advocated and encouraged every single player, citizen to vote. They’ve led purely by example, with several teams registering every member to vote. As an avid NBA watcher, every ad break, there is at least one message that calls out for the stop of racism and social injustice or a statement made by players encouraging all eligible to vote as the election nears.

The NBA walkout has been met with resonance and happiness from the public. However, it can be argued that there is no need to make sports political. Although, is bringing racial justice to black people political? Furthermore, in a league with almost 75% of the players being black, it is extremely important to show empathy and understanding of the racism, discrimination and more, that many of the black players have faced because being an NBA player has not exempted the black players from racism. 

Every basketball player or staff member has their own reason to participate and play their part in contributing to this large scale movement. May it be, personal experience, empathy or because they have the outreach to make a difference. Whatever the reason, every individual has propelled this movement forward. 

The direct impact of the NBA’s measures like the walk-outs, donations, jerseys, taking the knee and many more may not be much, however, it did shine a light on something that is not highlighted much in sports. They’ve inspired so many more to play a part. All we can say is that no matter how large their contribution, big or small, monetary or vocal, they all have made a huge and everlasting crater in not only American but NBA history as well. The actions taken by the NBA started conversations, raised awareness and stood with all the black lives lost at the hands of racism. 

The Return of Sports

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By Aarav Chokhani and Nihal Swadi

With the ongoing global pandemic, sports fans all across the world will be relieved to know that, most if not all sports from around the world are beginning to resume again.  The coronavirus still continues to affect millions around us, so the resumption of various sporting activities now come with various health and safety regulations.They use precautions such as, when coming to the field you should be wearing a mask, so the spread of the virus slows down! It is necessary that you bring your own equipment. All managers/ coaches have to wear masks at all times. 

Football- When you play football you need to come wearing a mask and leave wearing a mask. You do not need to wear a mask because as the conversation rightly said, wearing a mask while exercising/playing sports can be injurious to your health.  All managers and coaches should be wearing a mask at all times for the players precaution. Clubs at their own will, make the necessary safety precaution for the team, players and coaches. If they need to fly somewhere else they should be using their own jet and not flying commercially. Also there are various protocols during the match, like when the substitutes are sitting the need to sit 6 feet away.  

Basketball/NBA- All NBA players and Staffers have been asked to take extensive COVID tests and take safety precautions when on the court and while interacting with each other. Anyone on the court must wear a mask while talking to each other and they do not have to wear a mask while playing as it is unsafe and could damage health. Players do not have to start playing and participate in the restarting events, It is the player’s choice on when and if they want to resume playing.

Tennis-Just like the rules seen in football and basketball , the players need to to come wearing a mask and leave wearing a mask. In this case they also don’t have to wear a mask because they won’t be able to breathe properly and that can kill you! But while talking to the reporters and other players masks need to be worn. Normally once a game comes to an end, players find themselves shaking hands with one another as a sign of respect and appreciation for their fantastic performances, but this has to be avoided now.They needed a solution so they decided to touch tennis rackets together as a sign of good game or well played! Also in tennis the ball boys and girls have to wear a mask. When you interact with physio you need to wear masks but you don’t need to do social distancing.  

Golf– In golf The players do not need to wear a mask as they are not in close contact and there are no ball boys and golf carts to get you to the court and back. You have to social distance while playing and make sure you are 6 feet apart from the other people on the course and that you wear masks while moving around and interacting with people.

Cricket- The Indian cricket team has decided that a pool of 30 cricketers are going to stay together in an apartment for the match against West Indies and then Pakistan. As for the Indian Premier league (IPL) will be starting on 19th September in Dubai. The players can’t leave until the season is over. 

Baseball-In baseball the players and coaches get tested for the coronavirus every other day. All players will get wet rags to wipe their faces and body. There will be masks worn while they are interacting with judges and people and no public transportation to the match and back.

Paul George Slump

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By Shreyan Gorantala

The Los Angeles Clippers are debatably the best team in their conference and one of the best in the entire NBA. They improved their future massively, getting one top ten player Paul George from OKC Thunder (Oklahoma City Thunder) and finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.  These two players switched up the conference completely, putting them in second place from barely coming to the playoffs and losing the first round the past 5 seasons.

The Los Angeles Clippers acquired the 6 – time NBA All Star and a debatable top ten player on the 10th of July 2019. He was traded for Shai- Gilgeous Alexander and PF(power forward)/SF (small forward) Italian basketball player Danilo Gallinari. They also traded their first round picks (picks a player picked for people who entered or accepted the NBA from college) in 2022, 2024, and 2026.

The Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, had high expectations for this star player, and he proved it scoring high numbers in his games. Although that stopped as the Coronavirus hit the entire world. After further discussion the NBA decided to resume it on July 30th 2020, but looked different as the NBA created a bubble where there were only 22 teams, 3 Disney hotels where all the teams stayed in named The Yacht Club, The Gran Destino, and Grand Floridian Resort. Lastly, for many teams there was no home court advantage except for Orlando as it was held in The Amway Center ( Orlando Magic’s home court). 

After that Paul George had lost his form and didn’t play upto mark, putting in low scoring points and barely any assists. Although for that, the Clippers had hoped that this would soon go away and he would perform well going into the playoff and that was one of his start moments where he would shine. But, that did not go too well either as the first games he played a decent game and not what he was expected to. He still played well in 2 games in the first round playoff , where he got 27 points in the first game and 35 in the fifth. The fifth game was where the Clippers took the advantage as Kristaps Porzingis got injured and gave up playing in the playoff games.The Clippers passed the highest playoff scoring of and got a massive 154 points winning by 43 points. The Clippers got past a tough Dallas Mavericks edging 4-2 with 2 stars, Luka Doncic, and Kristaps Prozingis by giving a huge thank you to ‘The Klaw’ Kawhi leanord (traded from the Raptors this season) as he carried the team on to the victory over Dallas Mavericks. 

Paul George had finally shown why he is a top ten player and why he was traded to the Clippers, scoring 2 decent games and then in the 3rd game getting 32 points against the Denver Nuggets as it was his time to shine and Kawhi reduced his points. In the post-game interview Paul George mentioned that it took a bit more time for him to adjust to this pandemic, and leave his beloved family. He also mentioned that he was grateful for his teammates and coach for believing and helping him go through this. Lastly, ending it for all the questions the basketball fans had he added that he has adjusted to this and is now handling it well and feels closer to being home by fishing and spending time with his girlfriend Daniela Rajic, giving cheers to all the Clippers fans. This interview gave hope to all Clippers fans that Paul George will play exceptionally well and the trading and giving up their first round picks were worth it. 

Yet again, in the fourth game, of the second round series, the odds turned against him as Paul George only managed to slip in 10 points in the 27 minutes he played, getting 4 personal fouls, only two less to send him out of the game. Doc Rivers was very unhappy with Paul George’s performance in the last couple of games. Yet again it was left to ‘The Big Hands’ Kawhi Leonard as he shifted the game scoring 30 points marking a win. The score is now 3 -1 and the Clippers fans need Paul to get back on track as they have never reached their conference finals needing only 1 more win to make history this season. Although they are an inch closer to registering a spot in the finals, Rivers is still focused on making sure to get passed this round without the next in mind. In a post-game interview, Rivers mentioned that he is still a bit shaky about this round as Denver could surprise us as they did with Donnovan Matchell and the Utah jazz trailing the same score last series, and need their star players to perform and play upto mark, or they could lose the series and turn the odds from being the favourites to win.

Indian Premier League – Starts Once More!

Source -

By Aahana Khemani and Ayraah Lodha

IPL Restart (By Aahana Khemani)

The 2020 Indian Premier League is back on! Needless to say, fans all over have been dying for the games to start. Finally, here it comes. But, will the renowned IPL be the same during this merciless pandemic? Unfortunately, or fortunately, no it will not. Let’s look at some of the key factors that are changing in the IPL this year. 

Starting on the 19th of September, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will play the opening match and kick-off the IPL! The IPL will take place in the United Arab Emirates. According to, participating teams are; Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, and Rajasthan Royals. 

Since the infamous COVID 19 has been going around and knocking on people’s doors, everyone is required to follow safety protocols for the security of their and other’s health. Obviously enough, the IPL staff, players, to name a few also need to follow these protocols. Let’s take a look at some of them that will be implemented during, before, and after the games. The players & support staff have been quarantined for 7-14 days in India. Before travelling to the UAE, they’re to be compulsorily tested for COVID every 3 days. On arrival, everyone was tested for COVID at the airport and will be tested every 3 days until November 12th, 2020. The luggage has also been taken care of. The main luggage was sent a night prior and was cling wrapped. Electronics, important documents, and more are being hand-carried. Teams are to be on a 14 day quarantine in Abu Dhabi, and a 6-day quarantine in Dubai. So, there you have it. There are plenty more protocols which you can find right here

Now that fans are not allowed to watch the matches live, tickets can’t be sold and food & merchandise stalls can’t be put up, how are they going to make money? First of all, through sponsors. Dream11, the IPL’s 2020 title sponsor was already paying Rs. 40 crore per year to the Board of Control for Cricket in India but, as the official partner of IPL is paying an additional Rs. 182 crore for IPL 2020. Secondly, they’re earning money through TV. channels, Radio channels, etc… In order to set up cameras, these channels need to pay a lot. And of course, there are more sources of income such as advertisements which you might’ve seen on television!

IPL Theories (By Ayraah Lodha)

The IPL has been a sensation in and out of India, but some people have started to speculate that it is not quite what it seems, with match-fixing rumors arising. For those who don’t know what a fixed match is, it is a match when one of the teams pays the opponent to lose. A major reason people believe this is the extremely close final matches that seem staged, final games are often just won between a single run. Multiple sources suggest that the matches were indeed fixed, while others don’t think so. There have been numerous attempts for fixed matches, like the one in 2013 where some players of the team were arrested. The captain of the Chennai Super Kings, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (M.S.D) says this,

“The biggest crime that I can commit is not a murder, it is actually match-fixing,”

  The amount of money spent this auction was quite a staggering amount, the Mumbai Indians spent 11.10 crores, the Chennai Super Kings 14.45 crores, the Royal Challengers Bangalore 21.50 crores, the Kings XI Punjab 26.20 crores, the Delhi Capitals 18.85 crores, the Kolkata Knight Riders 27.15 crores, the Rajasthan Royals 14.5 crores and the Sunrisers Hyderabad 6.90 crores. Numerous overseas players have joined this season, and with the amount of money spent this season we can surely say that this is a season that is going to be extremely eventful and fun to watch. 

The predictions that we have for this season are the winners being either the Kolkata Knight Riders or the Mumbai Indians. The Kolkata Knight Riders have their superstar Andre Russell who starts and ends with a bang every time he plays, the team this year seems quite well rounded and has a good mix of all-rounders, bowlers, and batsmen, the Mumbai Indians are not to be missed upon either, with their extremely strong team, the Mumbai Indians are also the team that holds the record for the most IPL wins, (4) times.

Whatever happens this season is sure to be exciting and all of the IPL viewers, worldwide are in for a treat! 


  • “IPL Teams – IPLT20.Com.” Iplt20.Com, 2019, Accessed 9 Sept. 2020.
  • “IPL 2020 Full Schedule: Mumbai Indians Take on Chennai Super Kings in Opening Match.” Hindustan Times, Hindustan Times, 6 Sept. 2020, Accessed 9 Sept. 2020.
  • Gaurav Laghate. “Dream11 Pips Byju’s & Unacademy to Win IPL 2020 Title Sponsorship.” The Economic Times, Economic Times, 18 Aug. 2020, Accessed 14 Sept. 2020.
  • ‌Sportskeeda. “Yahoo! Cricket.” Yahoo! Cricket., 26 Aug. 2020, Accessed 9 Sept. 2020.

Australian Open (Semi-Final and Final)

The Ascent Claims no Ownership over this Image

by Tara Hebbar and Shreyan Gorantala

The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held in Melbourne, Australia during the last fortnight of January every year. In the 2020 Australian Open, the first semi-final had two rivals up against each other, Roger Federer, 20-time grand slam winner and Novak Djokovic, current world number 1 in tennis. Both eyeing a spot in the final. They had tough competition with the head to head 28 to 25 leading Federer’s way. 

Meanwhile, the other semi-finals were Domin Thiem, the Austrian,  playing against German, Alexander Zverev. Nadal (the former number 1) got knocked out from the Australian Open in the quarter-finals with a 3-1 loss to Thiem. In the first semi-finals Novak didn’t want to start the match the way he did look to start.  The match took a serious turn at first and ended Federer’s way with a 5-1, 40 – 0 to the Swiss. Everyone was in shock, but Novak flipped the match upside down winning the set 7-6(1). During the break, Federer made his way to the help centre and his calf was hurting again after it got pulled in the Pre- Quarters.

 It was troublesome for Roger as the game against John Millman, he pulled his calf during the 1st set. He immediately called for a time out and went to the help centre to get it checked. This also affected his other games. He strained his calf during these tight matches. The age also affected the gameplay. Roger found it difficult and rested the day before the match. In the match, although there was slight pain but it worsened.  In the other two sets, Roger there was no sign of pain which was a plus sign, but the spectators saw a glimpse of Roger’s game not up to his usual standards. The rest of the game was in Novak’s hand.  

What was more dramatic were the words that came out of Djokovic after the victory in the post match talk . He said “Credit for Roger to come here and play his heart out though he was hurt. With this he wasn’t at his best. Thankfully as otherwise the game would have ended up differently. Nadal and Federer have and always will be my biggest rivals. They push me to become a better player to compete against them. I was surprised with the journey Roger came till with the dramatic comeback even with his injury. He proves that age has nothing to do with a game. Roger has been an inspiration to many people, old and young. I will always have respect for Roger and Rafa ( pet name for Nadal) for what they did for the sport.” He added 

“I was nervous in the beginning. At first it wasn’t the right mindset but I tried to use his  disadvantage to my advantage, instead of focusing on my shots. I gradually started making my shots empower his movement. Otherwise, he would have beaten me.”  The press asked about this comment over and over again but Novak’s words were the same. Once after lifting the trophy the press asked: “Who do you have the most respect for in the tennis industry?” The reporter asked this question because he had huge respect for Thiem and his game. Novak replied “Rafa and Roger will always be on top. The act Nadal did with the ball girl was kind. These acts from these two players who have not only achieved in tennis but much more. I feel Dom has the potential to become a great player but will never be a greater person than these two.” These comments shocked the fans and realised the respect and praise Novak has for Rafa and Roger. They praised Novak for his attitude.

This match was more of what was on the court but the words these fellow mates exchanged to each other, is what the fans will remember forever. Roger Federer considers playing with Djokovic a treat to play with. After losing the semifinal to Djokovic, Federer said, “He (Djokovic) is a great, player. We know that. He makes you hit balls. He serves well, he returns well, he moves well. He’s mentally very tough. His agility is exceptional and when in the rhythm nobody can stop him. Well known for no unforced errors. There’s so many things that can cover a problem, if there were one.” 

These are the parts of the game that showcase the true spirit of the game and sportsmanship, where there are enemies on the court but nothing less than friends outside. It is heartwarming to see players appreciate each other. 

On the other hand, watching Thiem play was fascinating, he made a huge breakthrough after beating world no. 1(Now no. 2), Rafa Nadal. With his excellent skill and technique. He continued to impress viewers by winning the semi-finals against Zverev. The Austrian added the pressure on Novak after beating him in their earlier two fixtures, one in the Wimbledon and the other in the U.S Open. He certainly gave Djokovic a run for his money in the finals. Several times during the final, Djokovic was surprised by the fight, skill and determination of his opponent. It was an extremely close final that could have been anyone’s game.In some moments the Austrian was ruling the court with his classical down the line shots and drop shots. Though after losing the first set  

This season of the Australian Open was definitely one filled with excitement and surprises. With many heartfelt words, genuine happiness and disappointment. Those courts have seen everything.

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