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Yearender 2021: Messi ends Argentina’s trophy drought, Neeraj Chopra’s golden throw at Tokyo Olympics, Rishabh Pant breaches Gabba fortress

2021 has been a year unlike any for sport and sports lovers and will go down as a memorable one in the shadow the virus. In sport, there are many moments that stay in our minds beyond the runs, goals and trophies. These moments remain etched in our memories forever.

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Neeraj Chopra

By Abhishek Kumar

2021 has been a year unlike any for sport and sports lovers and will go down as a memorable one in the shadow the virus. In sport, there are many moments that stay in our minds beyond the runs, goals and trophies. These moments remain etched in our memories forever. Many teams scripted history while they were on peak, whereas sportspersons across the world achieved unimaginable highs. In 2021, many people lost their lives, lost hopes due to the coronavirus pandemic across the world, but it was the sport that gave motivation and opportunity to the people to celebrate life. Nothing and absolutely nothing deterred the will and motivation in the sport even when the world, as we knew it, perished under Covid-19’s onslaught. From football, cricket, tennis, and the deferred Olympics, we saw many glorious moments. Let’s have a quick recap of 2021.

Messi ends Argentina’s trophy drought

Lionel Messi ended the trophy drought for his national team after Argentina beat Brazil to lift their first international title after 1993. This was also Messi’s first international trophy with his national team. Before that, Messi had led Argentina to FIFA World Cup final in 2014 and the Copa America final in 2015 & 2016. The year also saw the Blaugrana legend swap shirts and turn out for Paris Saint Germain.

Transfers of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos

2021 was also a very strange year for sports, as no one would have predicted that the captains of Spanish rival clubs Real Madrid FC and FC Barcelona will be playing for the same team. Yes, it happened in 2021, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos both left their iconic clubs in dramatic exits and landed at the same club, Paris Saint Germain. While Portuguese legend and former Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo left Juventus after three seasons in Italy and ended up at his former club Manchester United, after a brief heartattack for the United faithful when reports said he was headed to the other Manchester team.

Italy win Euro 2020

After failing to make it to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Italy announced their comeback in international football in a grand fashion by winning the European championship. Manager Roberto Mancini engineered the Azzurri to their second Euro title after beating England, again tantalisingly close, in a penalty shoot-out at Wembley. The Italians steamrolled through the tournament which was marked by Christian Eriksen’s collapse for Denmark.

Messi winning his 7th Balon d’Or over Robert Lewandowski

This year the Balon d’Or was awarded to former Barca and Argentina legend Lionel Messi. It was his 7th (most) in his collection. However, the sporting world was divided over this year’s Balon d’Or winner and many described this as a ‘scandal’. German media and some English media including The Guardian declared Lewandowski as the stand out player of the year.

Newcastle United’s Saudi-backed takeover

The Premier League already has some of the richest owners in club football. But no one imagined that Newcastle United will be bought by the richest owners of all. Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund owned by Mohamed Bin Salman took over the Magpies. After the official announcement, Newcastle fans celebrated outside the club and in the city.

Pant’s Gabba breach

Until this year January, no team had beaten Australia in a Test match at Brisbane’s Gabba stadium in the last 33 years. The Gabba was an impenetrable fortress with its bouncy pitch and home-crowd advantage for the Aussies. But stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s team finally breached the Gabba fortress. Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant shone bright in the match with his unbeaten 89. India went on to win the series for the first time in Australia.

Australia win T20 World Cup 2021

Before the tournament, no pundit had predicted that Australia would even be in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. England and Pakistan were the favourites to win the tournament, but proving everyone wrong, Aaron Finch-led Australia went on to win their first-ever T20 World Cup defeating rivals New Zealand in the final.

New Zealand crush Kohli’s dream

2013 was the year when India won an ICC trophy last time. Since then, the Men in Blue have lost in knockouts in various ICC tournaments, including the 2014 final defeat to Sri Lanka, the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy against arch-rivals Pakistan, and recently the 2021 World Test Championship final against New Zealand. The Kane Williamson-led Kiwis thrashed the Men in Blue by 8 tickets in the World Test Championship final at the Lords. All these defeats came during Virat Kohli’s captaincy. During his 7 years as captain, India had not won a single ICC tournament.

Chennai Super Kings adds one more title

India’s finest captain MS Dhoni once again led his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings to the title. Earlier in the 2020 season of the cash-rich cricket tournament, CSK finished second last on the points table, but in 2021, the MS Dhoni-led franchise became the first team to qualify for the playoffs. CSK handed a 27-run defeat to Eoin Morgan’s Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2021 final to clinch the title for the 4th time.

Ajaz Patel’s rare feat

India defeated New Zealand in the Mumbai Test match and won the series, but it was New Zealand’s Ajaz Patel who stole the limelight. The 33-year-old Patel took all 10 wickets in a Test match innings and equalled the record of Anil Kumble and Jim Laker.

BCCI’s Kohli nama

2021 didn’t end on a positive note for Virat Kohli. After India’s poor performance in the T20 World Cup, he voluntarily stepped down from T20I captaincy. But Virat was sacked by the BCCI from the ODI captaincy. Reports suggest the BCCI had given him a 48-hour ultimatum to resign from ODI captaincy. But the 33-year-old claimed he was informed 90 minutes prior to India’s team selection for the South Africa tour. BCCI appointed Rohit Sharma as the new captain to lead the Indian side in white-ball cricket. BCCI boss Sourav Ganguly has since then ducked the fast-rising Kohli bouncer with great elan.

Neeraj Chopra’s golden throw at Tokyo Olympics 2020

In a nation beset with vegetarian-loving people, winning a javelin throw gold at the Olympics is special. The 24-year-old Haryana boy scripted history at the Tokyo Olympics and won the first-ever gold medal in the track and field category for India. Chopra delivered on the biggest stage by throwing his javelin farthest (87.58 m). He became the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics after shooter Abhinav Bindra in the Beijing Olympics 2008.

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai and the CPC

Former World no. 1 doubles Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai accused Zhang Gaoli, China’s former vice-premier, of sexual assault. The news spread like wildfire in the whole world, but she reportedly went missing. Concerned over her whereabouts took the sports fraternity by storm. However, a few weeks later a Chinese website claimed that the allegation was false and Peng Shuai is ok. The Communist Party of China seems to have blanked out all traces of the story now.

Medvedev shatters Djokovic’s dream of Grand Slam

In tennis, 2021 belonged to 20-times Grand Slam title winner, Serbian Novak Djokovic. The 34-year-old went on to win three of the 4 Grand Slam titles of the year, the Wimbledon, Australia Open, French Open. However, his dream to win all 4 titles to complete his Grand Slam was shattered by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who clinched his first-ever Grand Slam at the US Open.

Emma Raducanu fairytale at US Open

No one knew who Emma Raducanu was until she created history for England at US Open 2021. She became the first and only player to win the Grand Slam title as a qualifier. The 18-year-old also became the first British woman to win a Grand Slam title in 44 years.

Read Also: India vs Sri Lanka U19 Asia Cup final: When and Where to watch live steaming of U19 Asia Cup final, check here

Max Verstappen’s last-lap victory to win Formula 1 title

In one of the most dramatic finishes in Formula One history, Max Verstappen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Pix with his insane final lap over former champion Lewis Hamilton. Not all were convinced but Verstappen did win the chequered flag!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt_eSSFIhHc&t=5s

Cricket news

Gautam Gambhir explains why he doesn’t smile

Gautam Gambhir said he is not in the entertainment industry neither he is a Bollywood actor, he is a cricketer, and his job is to win matches and create a winning atmosphere in dressing room.

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Gautam Gambhir explains why he doesn’t smile

The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) mentor has received many criticisms for not smiling and always keeping his game face on. The former India opener is known for his aggressive expressions, and he has responded to this with a bold statement.

R. Ashwin interviewed Gautam Gambhir recently where he asked him that asks why he doesn’t smiles. The former Indian cricketer said that he doesn’t understand when people talk about him not smiling, laughing, and always being intense, grumpy, and looking like he is walking on the edge with his game face on. Gambhir said, people don’t come to watch him smile, they come to watch their team win. He said that the kind of profession they are in, he can’t help but work with this attitude in the industry.

The World Cup winner said he is not in the entertainment industry neither he is a Bollywood actor, he is a cricketer, and his job is to win matches and create a winning atmosphere in dressing room. He said he has all the rights to fight for himself, fight for his teammates, and do every possible thing within the spirit of the game to try and defeat the opponent team.

The KKR mentor said continued saying that people say he is too hard and plays in a certain way. He does because it helps him perform to the best of his abilities. He said it’s his characteristic because he is obsessed with winning, and that’s the problem, Gambhir said.

Fans on social media have reacted to this interview by saying this winning mentality is the best quality of Gautam Gambhir, as he always tries his best, and that’s why he is the No. 1 among Indian local coaches. Many users praised Gambhir for his winning attitude towards the game and how professional he is.

Under Gambhir’s mentorship, KKR will play for a spot in the final when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in Qualifier 1 today at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

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Cricket news

CSK official reveals MS Dhoni’s plan on retirement

CSK was eliminated from IPL 2024 after a defeat by Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in their final league match on Saturday.

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The former captain of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), MS Dhoni, hasn’t yet announced his retirement plan or whether he plans to continue his career in the IPL, but a CSK official has revealed a message Dhoni gave to the management.

CSK was eliminated from IPL 2024 after a defeat by Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in their final league match on Saturday. Both teams had 14 points each, but due to a higher net-run rate, RCB led by Faf du Plessis qualified for the playoffs. CSK fans were sad not only about the defeat of their team but also about the fact that they might see MS Dhoni for the last time in the IPL. However, a CSK official has revealed that he hasn’t commented on his potential retirement.

The unnamed CSK official revealed that Dhoni has requested that the team management hold off on any decisions regarding his retirement for a few months. He said that Dhoni himself hasn’t reached a conclusion and might be considering another season.

The official also mentioned that Dhoni felt comfortable with his running between the wickets during the IPL, a key concern for some fans regarding his age. Additionally, the introduction of the impact player rule in IPL 2024 might influence Dhoni’s decision. This rule allows teams to bring in a substitute player during the second strategic break, potentially offering Dhoni a more specific role within the team that is less physically demanding.

With Dhoni maintaining his silence and the possibility of the ‘Impact Player’ rule working in his favour, CSK fans might not have seen the last of their beloved captain just yet. The official said that the management would wait for Dhoni’s message on the topic and added that MS Dhoni has always had the best interests of the team in mind.

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Cricket news

Rohit Sharma slams Star Sports for broadcasting private conversation between him and KKR coach Abhishek Nayar, post goes viral

Rohit Sharma did not mince his words as he targeted Star Sports following the viral video clip where he spoke about his chat with Abhishek Nayar.

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Rohit Sharma slams Star Sports for broadcasting private conversation between him and KKR coach Abhishek Nayar, post goes viral

Indian cricket team captain Rohit Sharma on Sunday slammed Star Sports for recording and broadcasting his private conversation. Sharma took to his social media platform on X and posted that in spite of asking Star Sports to not record his conversation; it was recorded and was also then broadcasted on air, which he referred to as a breach of his privacy.

This comes after a video featuring Rohit Sharma and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) assistant coach Abhishek Nayar went viral on social media platforms where Sharma is seen contemplating his future with the Mumbai Indians team. The former Mumbai Indians captain said, the lives of cricketers have become so intrusive that cameras are now recording every step and conversation they are having in privacy with their friends and colleagues, at training or on match days.

Sharma expressed his concern over the need to get exclusive content which is focused only on views and engagement will have a negative impact on the trust between the cricketers, fans, and cricket.

The post has gone viral on X with 2.2 million views, 2700 comments, 13000 retweets and 73000 likes which are only increasing. Large number of Rohit Sharma fans and cricket enthusiasts commented on the social media post. One X user Archer said that he was surprised on the post by Rohit Sharma and did not see it coming. He added that it was great of Rohit Sharma for calling this out.

One X user Prateek wrote finally captain had to speak against TRP mafia star sports.

Another cricket enthusiast did not agree with Rohit Sharma and wrote that he hardly gave any content with his batting as a result they had to do this.

One Rohit Sharma fan Ayush felt Star Sports should feel shameful for what they have done.

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