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Diego Maradona defined reality with his left hand and left foot | Football News

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Ten days that shook the world, they said. It took just four minutes to shake ours, the seventies-born. From adolescence to adulthood, from innocence to experience of awe, thrill and epiphany, the last of pre-web generation completed the journey in all of four minutes of watching – confused and befuddled – Diego Maradona‘s sorcery with a soccer ball in Mexico’s Azteca Stadium.
It was the summer of 1986. Barely four years after England and Argentina went to war in the Atlantic over Falkland Islands where the English prevailed.

Newspapers and television kept the war alive as the two nations were drawn for the World Cup quarterfinals in Mexico. Maradona, already a name on the muddy fields and the by-lanes where football was worshipped by passionate teens, never shied away from a skirmish, even if it were with words.
Simmering excitement oozed through the television screens across the world and every kid with a deft touch got the moniker ‘Diego’.
But the original Golden Boy did something outrageous and got away with it in the 51st minute to break the deadlock. He jumped along with England’s goalkeeper Peter Shilton, almost twice his height, pretending to head but patted the looping ball with his left hand. The goal stood as the referee was hoodwinked.
Four minutes on, Diego hoodwinked reality. Wheezing past five English chasers and Peter Shilton, he side-stepped the ball to score the goal of the century. All in a matter of 10.8 seconds, 44 strides and 12 touches.

But it felt like eternity.
Those four minutes sum up Maradona at his bewitching best. From a cheeky thief who pulled off a daylight robbery to a genius who dazzled the world with a piece of skill unparalleled, audacious and in your face.
Each passing step, each feign, the moments of acceleration got embedded in the collective consciousness of those who were fortunate to see it happen and for those who came late. And are still coming. Once can actually play it in the mind as one recites dialogues from Casablanca or Macbeth’s monologues. Yesterday doesn’t seem so far away.
What followed next more often than not disappointed and disgusted those barely into their teens and making their troubled journey into adulthood. Diego’s conflict, with the society and its power centres, became a part of theirs.

Just as often one tends to think that life is flawed, Diego offered many a reason to believe so. Drugs took over the headlines as his goals became footnotes. Diego was banished from the game for 15 months after failing a drug test. The tendency to steer around the law and social mores, as he so seamlessly did on the pitch while getting past his markers, made Diego something of a lover with whom one had undergone a bitter break-up, in the minds of those who had hopelessly fallen for him.
Eight years after those tumultuous four minutes, as life would have it, Diego failed another dope test during the 1994 World Cup in the USA. He forfeited the stage that he had made his own with sublime expressions. The soul that touched a million hearts, soured. The milk had curdled.
Those he had helped look at life as an adult in four minutes, had really grown up by then. Diego’s misadventures got mixed with their own. Tears had dried up. Having seen the athlete extraordinaire transform into an obese trickster always questioning the referee, knowing that he was wrong, eroded sympathy but not love, however illicit it may seem.
Just as he lived life in a flash, he left it in similar fashion, unpredicted, unapproved and somewhat short on years.
Those four minutes will live on though, as those eighties’ teens grow grey and fragile and slowly prepare for the inevitable. Diego gave them the first taste of youth – unbridled, effervescent, unfettered.


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IPL 2021: Malinga among seven players released by Mumbai Indians | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Veteran Sri Lanka fast bowler Lasith Malinga, the all-time top wicket-taker in the Indian Premier League (IPL), is among the seven players who Mumbai Indians (MI) have released ahead of the 2021 edition.
MI have also released Australia fast bowlers James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile and New Zealand fast bowler Mitch McClenaghan.

The IPL players auction is expected to take place next month.
Retained players:Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare, Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mohsin Khan
Released players: Lasith Malinga, Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digivijay Deshmukh



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IPL 2021: CSK retain Raina, release Kedar, Chawla and Vijay | Cricket News

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CHENNAI: Ahead of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) season, MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Wednesday released Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay and Piyush Chawla from the squad.
Shane Watson who had retired after the IPL 2020 season will also not be seen in action. Apart from the Aussie all-rounder, no other foreign player has been released from the squad.

With the mini-auction inching closer, franchises looking to retain players were asked to complete the process by Wednesday.
Mahendra Dhoni-led CSK had a dismal outing in last year’s IPL. The Chennai based franchise finished at the seventh position in the points table.

In the 2020 season, Kedar Jadhav received a lot of flak from fans after his underwhelming performances. Suresh Raina had missed the IPL 2020 season after pulling out of the tournament due to personal reasons.
CSK has won the IPL thrice and it is regarded as one of the most successful franchises in T20 history.
CSK retained players: MS Dhoni, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suresh Raina, Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Shardul Thakur, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, Mitchell Santner, Ravindra Jadeja, Narayan Jagadeesan, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Sai Kishore.
Released players: Kedar Jadhav, Monu Singh, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Shane Watson, Piyush Chawla.



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Djokovic hits back at criticism over Australian Open quarantine stance | Tennis News

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MELBOURNE: World number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday hit back at criticism of his letter to Australian Open chief Craig Tiley in which he suggested easing of quarantine restrictions, saying his good intentions were “misconstrued”.
As many as 72 players are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days and unable to train for the Feb. 8-21 Australian Open after passengers on three charter flights carrying them to Melbourne tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Djokovic reportedly asked for reduced isolation periods and having players in hard quarantine moved to “private houses with tennis courts”, drawing a backlash from Australians.
Tiley confirmed they were suggestions and not demands.
“My good intentions for my fellow competitors in Melbourne have been misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful,” the Serbian, who is isolating in Adelaide along with other top players, said in a lengthy statement.
“This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
“… at times when I see the aftermath of things, I do tend to ask myself if I should just sit back and enjoy my benefits instead of paying attention to other people’s struggles.”
Tennis coach Daniel Vallverdu told Reuters that players in hard quarantine should get preferential treatment from organisers such as prime practice times and matches scheduled in the cooler hours of the day.
Djokovic, who last year quit as the ATP Players Council chief to launch a breakaway players body, won a record eighth Australian Open title in Melbourne in 2020.
Former Australian Davis Cup player Sam Groth accused Djokovic’s letter as a “selfish political move” while Nick Kyrgios called the Serbian a “tool”.
Djokovic said he “genuinely” cared about fellow players.
“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way … it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture, and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order,” he said.
“Hence, I use my position of privilege to be of service as much as I can where and when needed.”
Djokovic also expressed gratitude towards organisers TA, the Australian government and the citizens to allow the players to compete amid the pandemic.
“Things in the media escalated and there was a general impression that the players (including myself) are ungrateful, weak and selfish because of their unpleasant feelings in quarantine,” he added.
“I am very sorry that it has come to that because I do know how grateful many are. We all came to Australia to compete. Not being able to train and prepare before the tournament starts is really not easy.
“None of us ever questioned 14 days of quarantine despite what is being said by media outlets.”



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