PELE VS MARADONA: A RIVALRY THAT FOUND PEACE IN BITTERNESS - The Daily Guardian
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PELE VS MARADONA: A RIVALRY THAT FOUND PEACE IN BITTERNESS

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PELE VS MARADONA

On October 1, 1977, Brazilian football superstar Pele was handed the microphone to address the crowd ahead of a friendly between New York Cosmos, the team he had played with for over two years, and his beloved Santos, where his career started and reached dizzying peaks. Among the sold out crowd at the Giants Stadium in New Jersey was boxing legend Muhammad Ali and England’s World Cup winning former captain Bobby Moore, apart from Pele’s father and wife.

“Love is more important than what we can take in life,” he told the crowd before commencing the game, in which he played for the Cosmos in the first half and Santos in the second. The match ended in rainy conditions and with it, marked the end of the career of football’s first true global superstar.

Almost exactly a year before that, a diminutive 15-year-old made his senior debut for Argentinos Juniors, becoming the youngest to play in Argentina’s top flight. Young Diego Armando Maradona set stadiums alight around the country and took his performances to international football in the light blue and white of Argentina.

He was a goalscorer, just as Pele was, although he played a deeper role than the Brazilian and was often involved in the defensive side of the game. The skills and the cleverness with which he manoeuvred on and off the ball on the pitch convinced coaches before long that they needed to make their teams block passing routes to Maradona as much as possible. Football has always been an escape from social ills for the Argentinean people and amid the poverty and destruction that came with the Dirty War in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Maradona — the boy who rose from the slums of the national capital — was increasingly deified. Comparisons with Pele was probably the most unsurprising by-product of Maradona’s rise.

While Cristiano Ronaldo vs Lionel Messi may be the argument that has dominated the game since the turn of the century, the focus was mostly on Pele vs Maradona before that. As is the case with Ronaldo and Messi, the two players weren’t exactly carrying similar responsibilities in the team.

“I lost a great friend and the world lost a legend. There is still much to be said, but for now, may God give strength to the family members. One day, I hope we can play ball together in the sky,” Pele said in his tweet.

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Plan was to set Root by bowling outside the off-stump and then bowl one inswinger: Siraj

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): While spinners stole the show for India on the opening day of the fourth Test, pacer Mohammed Siraj too hogged the limelight when he took the all-important wicket of Joe Root in the first session at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
Siraj didn’t stop there and went a step ahead to dismiss set batsman Jonny Bairstow against the run of play. The pacer after the game explained how he planned both the dismissals which jolted England’s progress in the match.
“My plan for Root was to set him by bowling outside the off-stump and then bowl one inswinger. And when the ball was going wide of him, I thought my plan is working. Then in the next over I thought of bowling him an inswinger and got him out,” said Siraj during the virtual press conference after the end of the first day’s play.
For Bairstow, Siraj revealed that he actually studied by watching videos of the English batsman getting out on the balls which came in.
“It was my first ball for him (Bairstow). And I had watched many videos of him getting out to inswing so my plan was to bowl a similar length,” said Siraj.
Be it Australia or India, be it Virat Kohli or Ajinkya Rahane, the two cricketers have been a pillar of strength for Siraj and the pacer feels this kind of backing uplifts the morale of a player.
“Captain’s backing is very important as whenever a skipper shows faith in a player it enhances his performance. Whenever a player is backed his performance goes up to another level. It motivates me as a player to perform well for the team,” said Siraj.
“I want to grab all the opportunities that come my way. After my poor performance in ODI and T20I, I want to perform well in Test cricket,” he added.
Spinners Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin spun a web over visitors as England was bundled out for 205 in the first innings. In reply, Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara showed great application as India ended the opening day of the fourth and final in the driver’s seat despite losing opener Shubman Gill in the third session. (ANI)

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Two opponents having a word: Stokes on altercation with Siraj

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Commenting on his on-field altercation with India pacer Mohammed Siraj, England all-rounder Ben Stokes on Thursday said people always look at these things thinking “it is all wrong” while suggesting that it was just two opponents having a word and going toe to toe against each other.
Tempers flared on the first day of the ongoing fourth Test between India and England as Virat Kohli and Ben Stokes clashed in the middle after Stokes exchanged words with Siraj and umpire Nitin Menon had to intervene.
The chat between Kohli and Stokes heated up at the end of the 13th over. The Indian skipper was visibly unhappy with something Stokes said to pacer Mohammed Siraj and as a result, he decided to have a lengthy chat with the swashbuckling English all-rounder.
“The thing in cricket nowadays is that it becomes a massive talking point when two opponents have a word with each other. People seem, I do not know, not lose their heads but they think it is all wrong. Look at it from a different way, guys care about what they are doing and what they are representing. Playing against each other, we are competitors and we are not going to back down to anyone, whoever it may be.
“It is nice to see two competitors going toe to toe against each other and no one is backing down. For me, that was it, two competitive guys trying to get over each other,” Stokes said in the virtual press conference after the end of day’s play.
Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara showed great application as India ended the opening day of the fourth and final Test against England in the driver’s seat despite losing opener Shubman Gill at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday. 11 wickets fell on the day as England was bundled out for 205 after skipper Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat first.
At stumps, India’s score read 24/1 with Rohit (8*) and Pujara (15*) at the crease — trailing the visitors by 181 runs in the first innings. (ANI)

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Stokes was swearing at me, so Kohli intervened: Siraj

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): On a wicket where the Indian spinners bowled beautifully, pacer Mohammed Siraj picked the important wickets of England skipper Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow on the opening day of the fourth Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday.
While Siraj was impressive with the ball, he was also involved in a verbal duel with England all-rounder Ben Stokes which also saw skipper Virat Kohli getting involved. Speaking after the end of the day’s play, Siraj said that Stokes was swearing at him and Kohli handled it well.
“He (Stokes) was swearing at me, so Virat intervened and handled that well,” Siraj said.
Tempers flared in the first session on Day One as Kohli and Stokes clashed in the middle with umpire Nitin Menon having to intervene. The chat between Kohli and Stokes heated up at the end of the 13th over.
The Indian skipper was visibly unhappy with something Stokes said to Siraj and as a result, he decided to have a lengthy chat with the England all-rounder.
After the final ball of the 12th over, Stokes came down the wicket and he had a word with Siraj. Kohli was not happy with the turn of events and decided to take it up with Stokes. In the end, on-field official Menon had to intervene to separate Kohli and Stokes.
In the very next over, Siraj was also seen in an aggressive mood and he had a go at Stokes.
India bundled out England for 205 and then reached 24/1 at Stumps on Day One.
Commenting on his bowling effort, Siraj said: “We planned to bowl patiently and keep bowling at the same spot. Virat bhai told me that we have only two fast bowlers so we will keep rotating, and we will be well-rested. When I started bowling from the Reliance end, there was a little extra bounce and good movement from that end after I switched.”
“When I played in Australia or when I play here, I will put my effort on every ball otherwise it’ll affect the team, and it’ll release the pressure. I just want to bowl every ball giving my 100 per cent,” he added. (ANI)

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Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Rohit, Pujara hold fort after Axar, Ashwin show

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Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 4 (ANI): Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara showed great application as India ended the opening day of the fourth and final Test against England in the driver’s seat despite losing opener Shubman Gill at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday. 11 wickets fell on the day as England was bundled out for 205 after skipper Joe Root won the toss and decided to bat first.
At stumps, India’s score read 24/1 with Rohit (8*) and Pujara (15*) at the crease — trailing the visitors by 181 runs in the first innings.
After a disappointing show with the bat, England got off to a flying start with the ball as James Anderson struck with the third ball of the innings. The pace spearhead trapped Gill (0) in front of the stumps as India lost a wicket with no run on the board.
But Rohit and Pujara ensured that was the end of the visitors’ joy on the day as they played out the remaining 11.3 overs without losing any wicket.
Earlier, Axar once again hogged the limelight with his four-wicket haul while Ravichandran Ashwin scalped three as England was bundled out for 205. While it was Mohammed Siraj who picked the all-important wicket of Root in the first session, Ashwin broke the deadlock in the third session as he dismissed Ollie Pope.
Pope’s wicket sparked a collapse from which England couldn’t really recover. The visitors went down from 166/5 to 205 all out within 14.3 overs, losing half of their side for 39 runs as Axar struck twice in one over. Ashwin dismissed Pope a few minutes into the third session. Pope got unlucky as the inside edge hit the back pad and popped to short-leg fielder Shubman Gill.
India’s senior off-spinner then dismissed Ben Foakes in the 66th over to reduce the visitors to 170/7. Minutes later Axar dismissed Daniel Lawrence and Dominic Bess to leave England reeling at 189/9. It looked as the visiting side would get bundled out soon, but Jack Leach and James Anderson took England over the 200-run mark.
Earlier, electing to bat first, England openers Dominic Sibley and Zak Crawley saw off the first five overs bowled by the Indian pacers — Ishant Sharma and Siraj, who has come into the side in place of Jasprit Bumrah. However, the introduction of Axar in the sixth over brought immediate reward for the hosts as the spinner clean-bowled Sibley (2), reducing England to 10/1.
The 27-year-old struck again in his second over as he had Crawley (9) caught at mid-off. The right-handed batsman tried to go over the top to create more pressure on the bowler, but ended up mistiming the ball and handed a simple catch to Siraj. Immediately after the first drinks break, England skipper Root (5) was trapped in front by Siraj and the visitors got reduced to 30/3 in the 13th over. The visitors ended the opening session on 74/3.
Brief Scores: England 205 (Ben Stokes 55; Axar Patel 4-68, Ravichandran Ashwin 3-47); India 24/1 (Cheteshwar Pujara 15*; James Anderson 1-0) (ANI)

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ECB appoints Cindy Butts as Chair of Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket

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London [UK], March 4 (ANI): England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday announced the appointment of Cindy Butts as the chair of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which will examine issues relating to race and equity in the game.
“The Board of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has taken a significant step toward ensuring cricket is a game for everyone with the appointment of Cindy Butts to establish and chair the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket, which will examine issues relating to race and equity in the game,” ECB said in a statement.
ECB said Butts has “extensive experience” in senior roles spanning governance, inclusion and equity across the justice/policing sectors and Government. Her current roles include serving as a lay member of the House of Lords Conduct Committee, a lay member of the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and as Panel Chair for the Judicial Appointments Commission.
She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Kick It Out, the organisation for equality and inclusion in English football. Previously, she held roles as the Deputy Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority and as a Commissioner at the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
As Chair, Butts will work with the ECB Board to finalise the terms of reference for the Commission. She will lead the process to appoint a number of independent Commissioners who will bring further diversity of thought, background and experience to the Commission, providing constructive input and challenge to the ECB and the wider game.
The Commission, whose formation was announced in November 2020, will independently gather and assess the evidence of inequalities and discrimination of all forms within cricket and identify the actions the ECB will need to take to tackle these issues. It is known as the Commission for Equity in Cricket, in recognition that different groups of people face different access issues or barriers. The Commission will act with complete independence, examining any evidence it deems relevant and making the recommendations it considers necessary.
The Board’s engagement with the Commission will be led by the ECB’s Senior Independent Director, Brenda Trenowden, who is driving the Board’s work in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.
Ian Watmore, Chair of the ECB, in a statement, said: “The creation of the Independent Commission for Equity in Cricket is an important step in our ambition to make cricket a game for everyone. Cindy is extremely well-qualified to lead this work and will bring empathy, rigour and practical experience to the deliberations and recommendations of the Commission.”
Butts said: “I’m excited to be bringing together my lifelong love of cricket with my passion for equity and inclusion, to lead this work for the ECB. Over the coming months we will be looking to hear from a wide range of people who share a love of cricket, whether as spectators, players, coaches or administrators both present and past… I am committed to ensuring that cricket has a bright future in this country.” (ANI)

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Champions League: Liverpool, RB Leipzig to play second-leg tie in Budapest

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Liverpool [UK], March 4 (ANI): Liverpool on Thursday announced that the club’s Champions League last-16 second-leg match against RB Leipzig will be played in Budapest.
Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital will host the fixture, the same venue where the teams contested the first-leg on February 17.
“Liverpool can confirm the Champions League last-16, second-leg tie with RB Leipzig will be played in Budapest,” Liverpool said in a statement.
The Premier League side said that the COVID-19 regulations in Germany have prevented Leipzig from traveling to the United Kingdom to play the match at Anfield as planned. The Reds, who hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, will be classed as the ‘home’ club for the game.
RB Leipzig also made an announcement in this regard. “The second leg of our @ChampionsLeague last 16 tie against @LFC will also take place at the Puskas Arena in Budapest,” the German club tweeted.
The match between Liverpool and RB Leipzig will be played on March 11 (local time). (ANI)

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