Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Thursday, February 5, 2006



By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

Turnout for the polls on best players for specific sports have been huge and I am pleasantly surprised with the amount of letters flooding my inbox over the past few days. Keep those mails floating in people because I have decided to keep the poll running for at least another week. Has a bit to do with the logistics here but that is another story altogether.

On sports the big news for the week (for many a week) will be the trouncing that the Pakistanis handed out to the Indians. Without taking any sides, I can honestly say that it was the best thing that could have happened. No, im not talking of the victory for Pakistan what I am saying is that we finally had a result which is the best thing in the interest of cricket and all observers. Nobody wanted a tied three test series 0-0. Doesn't get drabber than that now does it?

On the subject of tied test series what must also be mentioned is the mountain of runs accumulated over the past month in Pakistan is also not what the sport of cricket requires. The key concept of any sport should be competitiveness and with wickets like the ones in Pakistan you could just as well throw that concept out of the door. Wickets over the past few years have tended to favour the batsmen but few like the ones in the first two matches.

This has led to an “inflation” of runs as Ian Chappell once put it, where even half decent batsmen average in the mid 30's and marginal good players in the mid 40's and 50's a far cry from the past decades of the sport where averaging 50 made you a great.

Moving on to football, transfer activity ended without the customary hullabaloo as even Madrid's atrocious 30 million pound bid failed to upend Zlatan Ibrahamovic from Juventus. In the end the most interesting deadline day signing turned out to be Danny Murphy's move to Spurs. Antonio Cassano's move to Real still remains the most attractive dealing. However what could prove to be an interesting coup is Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp picking up Andres 'D Alessandro on a loan move. Once hailed as the new Maradona, the youngster will have a lot to prove if he is to force his way into the Argentina team for the World Cup this summer.

The action resumed in the Bundesliga and continued in full flow in most of the other leagues as the teams and players of the big clubs gear themselves up for the charge at the Champions League crown which begins again in earnest in the third week of February. No need to tell you what the pick of the ties will be as Chelsea face Barcelona (again) and Milan line up against Bayern. Stay tuned for more updates on the Champions League as it progresses.

In other big news on the football front, it has now been confirmed that Sven Goran Eriksson will leave England after the 2006 World Cup after being the victim of an elaborate hoax by tabloids. CV's are flooding in but there are short odds on an Englishman taking probably the most scrutinized job on the planet.

That about wraps it up for now.
Keep the votes floating in at ( zulquarnain.islam@gmail.com ). I will run a result of the polls in the next SportsWatch.


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