Monday, October 18, 2021

Weekly Sports Newsletter: Thank you Messi, Ronaldo, Dhoni for being predictable

Unpredictability, the pundits have drilled into us, is the kernel of sport’s fascination. But then, everything that sounds clever and profound doesn’t necessarily have to be true all the time. The end of September brought with it a few good-old sporting inevitabilities that continue to be at odds with the boring law of averages. The true greats of the game reconfirmed their reliability and underlined the glorious predictability of sport that compels believers to queue outside stadiums or stay glued to their couch till the wee hours.

In these uncertain times, this was a week when normalcy was restored. So, against Manchester City in the Champions League, when the ball reached Lionel Messi’s left foot just outside the box, it ended up in the goal. The familiar blur of brilliance reassuring that everything was fine with the world. Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 12th ‘Fergie time’ Champions League goal to edge out Villarreal. The Boss was in the stands, with an ‘I knew it all along’ expression. MS Dhoni got a ball in the slot in the final over against Sunrisers Hyderabad and managed yet another successful lift-off. He would lovingly gaze at the rocketing ball like a contented ISRO scientist after a satellite launch.

As Chennai Super Kings made the cut, the Indian Premier League points table too had a familiar look. Rohit Sharma and Dhoni, captains who between them have won eight of the last 11 IPL titles, were again in contention. Also in the fray was Virat Kohli. So, when these Avengers join forces for the T20 World Cup, will India be unbeatable? Thankfully, sport isn’t that predictable. Two stories will make you wiser about India’s chances at next month’s ICC event.

Sandip G has a point when he says that India might have discarded Yuzvendra Chahal in haste but Sriram Veera reassures that all is not lost since Varun Chakravarthy has proved a handful for the game’s top big hitters.

Meanwhile, Kohli the captain continued to dominate headlines, social media posts, memes and conspiracy theories. Trust Sriram to go beyond the popular narrative and zoom in on the far more important point – his long-standing LBW problem.

Further harping on predictability, be prepared for IPL overload till the final on October 10. And be assured and certain; Tests, ODIs, T20s & IPL, we take our cricket seriously.

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