The Lighter Side – This Week In Sport : Episode 10

Welcome to the another edition of ‘The lighter side – This week in Sport’, a weekly-once-in-a-while review show of all the goings on in the world of sport over the past week.
Before we get to the show,

a disclaimer: All the reports here are based on completely baseless unreliable sources. We only compile them and present it to you. If we catch hold of our reporters, we will sue them on your behalf.

On tonight’s show:

Dada is back
The IPL rolls on
Man United and Barca
Saina-Gopi
Man City

 

Dada is back

Sourav Ganguly fans rejoiced as they saw Dada in action again. Only this time, he turned out in the colors of the Pune Warriors. He stroked a fluent 32* in his first game back against the Deccan Chargers. Fans all over India were heralding the return of the charismatic ex-captain and were hailing it as a new dawn in Indian cricket. Said one supporter, ‘this is truly a new leaf in the book of Indian cricket. Dada has moved to Pune and has shown that moving all over India is now simple and easy. He has proved once again that India is becoming like Pakistan. Retired players are coming back to play and then going back into retirement. All he has to do is get a ban and soon he will be offered honorary Pakistani citizenship because he has almost fulfilled all the criteria to be a Pakistani player. He has also been a captain. We would like to wish Dada all the very best!’

When asked on how it felt to be part of the Pune franchise, Dada replied, ‘well, it’s not really that different. When I was in KKR, the first season, we played in a black jersey. Now I am in Pune and playing in a black jersey. When I played for KKR, we were at or near the bottom of the league. And now Pune are near the bottom of the league. The only difference is that Shah Rukh Khan is not here. But that is ok. Now that, from Kolkata, the King is gone, the King is Khan’, he said, clearly in his self-modesty mode. With the left being walloped by the Trinamool congress, there is talk of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee following Dada to Pune and contesting for re-election.

 

The IPL rolls on

After an exhilarating world cup, the cricket just does not seem to stop. The IPL juggernaut continues to roll on with exxxxttraaaa innings, more exxxxtraaaaaa innings and even more exxxxxtraaaa innings. When asked about the naming convention, the head of Sony said, ‘see, we are very committed to the promotion of traditional values in cricket. Even though the IPL is a T20 tournament, by giving extra innings, we are promoting test match culture. Also, we promote viewership of technically correct batting by placing the likes of Arun Lal and Navjot Sidhu on the screen. They were technically sound batsmen on their day.’ When asked what about when it was not their day, he responded, ‘they were batsman.’ Insightful.

Chris has whipped up a gale in the IPL storming to the leaderboard of the orange cap standings. With hitting prowess as this, other teams have been left pulling their hair out at missing out on signing him for a measly $400,000. When asked, Gayle said, ‘Ya mon! Those men did not buy me but here I am in Bengaluru. I’m royal, mon! I just want to hit the ball and I am hitting the ball very well mon! I also like that flashy orange cap, mon. That’s why I’m scoring this way.’ Indian captain M.S Dhoni seems to have discovered his brutal streak once again. When quizzed, he said, ‘well of course.’ Typical.

On a side note, Sreesanth seems to have developed a thought that he is the best batsman in the league. ‘I have orange cap’, he said, referring to the Kochi Tusker’s cap color, and continued, ‘but in that cap purple color is also there. So I am best bowler also. I am best all-rounder. I will win Kerala election’, he said and wheeled off in a dance of triumph.

 

Man United and Barca

Manchester United have all but wrapped up their record 19th title with a win over reigning champions Chelsea. United only need one point out of their remaining two games to secure yet another title for Sir Alex Fergusson. ‘We knocked them off their perch’, read many a tweet, the ‘perch’ was apparently very clever since it was used on twitter with all the birds and all that. ‘Whoa! I’m gonna be a champion for the first time! Proud of myself. Awesome! I am epic! Wow! Awesome! They couldn’t have done it without me’, tweeted Michael Owen, whose chief job these days seems to be that of a cheerleader on twitter.

Barcelona have sown up their third successive title with a 1-1 draw in midweek. The players were expectedly ecstatic and partied hard into the night. Pep Guarliola sipped wine and threatened to quit in mental exhaustion. Lionel Messi kept running around between the other players shouting, ‘Goal!’. Dani Alves kept running up and down in straight lines. Puyol could not see anything through his mop of hair. Iniesta shied away. Mascherano did not know what to do. Xavi kept possession of the ball.

Sergio Busquets fell to the ground clutching his face.

 

Saina-Gopi


After months of speculation, it seems that a formal split is on the cards between World number 4, Saina Nehwal and long-time mentor and coach, Pullela Gopichand. Gopichand has revealed that Saina has written to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) that she wanted to train under P. Bhaskar Babu, a coach of the national team.

‘It is only a rumor. I have no problems with Gopi sir’, said Saina. Gopi said, ‘I don’t really have a problem with that. She has written to SAI, that she wants to work with Babu. I have heard that she was an ardent admirer of Sai Baba and now that he is no more, she wants to continue with SAI Babu. It is a purely emotional decision and I cannot help it. But, I have been approached by Sania to coach her. Apparently, Sania is tired of tennis because the racquet is very heavy and wants to take up badminton. Also, the Shuttle Federation’s new rule of wearing skirts seems to appeal greatly to Sania. She is very interested in taking up the sport and I am sure she will be a great success. Also, it won’t make much of a difference to me because ‘Saina’ and ‘Sania’ are anagrams.’


Man City


Facing a major PR disaster, Manchester City have come out and apologized to their hardcore fans about The Bluffer’s guide to MCFC that they published on their site. The page is an entry into the world of Man City for the new fans who according to the club ‘will start following the club now that there is champions league football.’ The old faithful are enraged about this document and feel that it is an insult to the existing supporters. ‘How dare they insult us this way? Do they think that they are being clever? How dare they say that “traditionally we don’t like red as a color?” This is an outrage. In fact, even outrage is generally represented in red to show the anger! They think that they are improving the marketing and branding when all they are doing is improving the … wait that did not come out right. They think they are being very clever by getting more people to support the club when they are clearly going to have more sup… No wait. That did not come out right either. Bah! You get my point. What they are doing is wrong. Don’t ask me why it is wrong. But it is wrong.’

Roberto Mancini, in his accented English said, ‘Congrats to AC Milan for winning the title. I think they played very well throughout the season. Good for them. But they won the title in Italy and we finished fourth in England. There is a difference, you see. That is Italy, and this is England. You see?’ We did see but were tempted to ask him the context of these comments. Before we could, he added, ‘that’s why it is different.’ Before we could clarify the situation, he was ushered away by a member of the Man City staff who claimed it was an ‘emergency’.

We later learned that Mario Balotelli had problems putting on his training bib again. Also, apparently, it was meal time and Mancini had to feed him Cerelac. After that, Balotelli drove off in his Maseratti.
 

That’s it from this week’s bulletin. We hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, its good bye from us …

The season so far: Part 4 – The Manchester blues

‘Welcome to Manchester’ read a blue poster with the image of Carlos Tevez on it. A clear indication to their cross-town rivals and indeed the rest of the premier league that Manchester City had arrived; and not just to make up the numbers. Manchester was well and truly divided. The battle lines were drawn, the swords unsheathed; it was time to play.

 

As expected, with the backing of their phenomenally rich owners, Mark Hughes brought in massive names: Tevez, Adebayor, Santa Cruz in attack, and Kolo Toure and Joleon Lescott in defence. With an expenditure of more than a hundred million pounds, City were making their intentions clear. A top-4 place was expected and many even tipped them to be challenging for the title.

 

They started off in fine form with 5 straight wins that included a win over Arsenal. They went on to win 7 of their first 8 games with the only defeat coming in the controversial Manchester derby at Old Trafford.  Then came the run of 7 successive draws that ultimately signaled the end of Mark Hughes as manager of Man City. Results did improve in December with back to back wins over Arsenal in the Carling Cup and Chelsea in the league but Sparky’s days were quite clearly numbers.  His replacement was the suave Italian former Inter manager, Roberto Mancini.

 

Hughes’ unceremonious dumping and the appointment of Mancini was met with a mixed reception with  many players publically coming out in support of the ex-boss. Clearly loyalties were divided in the dressing room but Mancini was adamant that he could make them a success story. His reign started off with 3 wins on the bounce. Then came the ill-tempered 2 legged semi-final affair against their Mancunian rivals which they ultimately lost.

 

February and March were mixed with draws and losses interspersed by good wins. Stoke dumped City out of the FA Cup and come the end of March, the only focus was now on the elusive 4th champions league spot. January was a relatively quiet month in the transfer window with only the arrivals of former Arsenal skipper, Patrick Viera and the relatively low-key Adam Johnson. January also saw the departure of the club’s most expensive player Robinho; no he wasn’t sold, merely sent out on loan to former club Santos.

 

With the race for the 4th spot heating up, Man City went all out. There were good wins against Burnley, Birmingham and Villa but were either side of a loss in the Manchester derby and a draw at the Emirates. It all came down to the showdown at Eastlands and the Lily whites came up trumps. Manchester City are consigned to the Europa League next season.

 

The story of the season is merely a sub plot to the revolution at City. For the first time in recent memory, a team has actually emerged that is a genuine threat to the established big guns. A club with the financial muscle to genuinely give the big boys a run for their money. The spending power and the utter nonchalance towards the very concept of money is a frightening thought. The loaning out of the club’s most expensive player is case in point. Any other team, possibly even Real Madrid would think twice on a decision like that but to Man City, it seems like just another day at work.

 

With Roberto Mancini seemingly with the owners’ backing, in spite of not delivering the Champions league spot, and backed by the near endless cash reserves, a top 4 place is most certainly on the cards next season and possibly a strong challenge for the title as well. The biggest problem with City this year has been that on many an occasion, they’ve played as a bunch of 11 individuals rather than a team. Mancini has an entire summer to think about that particular problem, and we may well see a different Man City next term.

 

There is talk of dressing room unrest and the likes of Carlos Tevez leaving but the club will ensure that if indeed they do leave, able replacements will be recruited, at any cost. As the close season nears, City are inevitably linked to most of the big names of world football. Insane amounts of money are mentioned but it wouldn’t in the least bit be surprising if these massive-money deals did indeed materialize.

 

People will question the appointment of Roberto Mancini. After all, Mark Hughes won a total of 32 points in his 16 games in charge while Mancini has won 34 in his 21 in charge. Since Mancini took over though, City have looked a lot more organized and that instilled discipline is evident. With Mancini at the reins, and given time to build a team, there is every chance that Man City will be a force to be reckoned in the very near future.

 

 

 

 

Cheers