China, a viable option for Brazilian footballers

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 27, 2017

With the generous salaries and financial rewards on offer in the Chinese Super League, a host of Brazilian footballers sees the CSL as a viable option compared to the European leagues.

Brazil’s defender Marquinhos (L) vies for the ball with Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani during their 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier football match at the Centenario stadium in Montevideo, on March 23, 2017.
(Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images / DANTE FERNANDEZ)

Last week Thursday, Brazil and Uruguay battled one more time, this time in a 2018 World Qualifying football match. Brazil-Uruguay encounters have always resulted in a climax, with the zenith being the 1950 World Cup final, which saw Uruguay hoist their second World Cup title. That 1950 victory in the stadium of football, the Maracanã stadium, Brazil’s home turf, before the loyal Brazil fans, was against the odds and a significant blow to Brazil’s hope of World Cup glory. Thankfully – eight years later – that blow was quickly forgotten, after Brazil snatched the first of their five World Cup titles.

Last Thursday, at the Estadio Centenario, home of Uruguay’s first World Cup glory in 1930 and a venue which has been a nightmare location for Brazil, Brazil thumped a Luis Suarez-less Uruguay 4-1 to all but secure their spot in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The hero of the night for Brazil was not the usual suspect, Neymar, its captain, but Paulinho, once a forgotten man, who scored a superlative hat-trick. Continue reading

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Welcomed changes – MCC grows a pair

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 20, 2017

MCC has finally adopted the changes proposed by its World Cricket Committee in December last year. Come October 1: red cards, no more big bats, no more bouncing run outs and more.

Ricky Ponting and other members of the MCC World Committee have tried to restore the balance between the bat and the ball in world cricket through their proposals to the MCC.
© Getty

In December last year, MCC World Cricket Committee put forward recommendations which included the restriction of bat sizes and the sending off of players for serious disciplinary breaches. MCC, Marylebone Cricket Club, are the custodians of the beautiful game’s laws and spirit, and its world cricket committee is the leading independent voice of cricket. At the time, I wholeheartedly endorsed the recommendations put forward by MCC’s World Cricket Committee and I eagerly anticipated MCC’s main committee’s approval of the recommendations from the world committee. Three months later, MCC has officially adopted the recommendations from its world cricket committee and will implement the restraints and red cards starting October 1 of this year.

BAT SIZES REDUCED

The restraints approved results in bats having maximum dimensions of 108 mm in width, 67 mm in depth and bat edges of 40 mm in width. Since the major changes in the no-ball rule in 2000, batsmen and the bats they wield have cockeyed the game’s even balance between bat and ball. Batsmen like David Warner its reported walked to the crease with bats of depth 85 mm and bat edges with a width of 50 mm. My God, that’s 18mm and 10mm respectively more than the proposed new rules! That was more of a trunk and not a bat and more of a bat face than a bat edge. No more! No more, I say. Continue reading

Sports, Technology & the Future: Will robots entertain us?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 13, 2017

Sports is big business and technology has played an integral part in how we are entertained today through sports. Will robots entertain us in future and be our future sports stars?

Deandre Jordan is seen shooting while wearing a wristband that records his biometrics.
(Source: ESPN)

Recently, DeAndre Jordan, the NBA’s leader in defensive rebounds and field goal percentage, wore a little biometric computer called WHOOP on his wrist in an NBA game. The WHOOP tracks his heart rate, skin temperature and other metrics. The device according to Jordan has assisted him with recovery after travelling as well as with his sleeping and eating habits. In essence, Jordan told ESPN’s TrueHoop that the device has taught him what he needs to do and what he does not need to do.

A few weeks later, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, using former New Orleans Pelicans’ Langston Galloway showcased some of the real-time biometrics data that could be collected on an NBA athlete. With wires strapped to his stomach and chest, viewers were able to view biometric data on Galloway’s heart rate, skin temperature, oxygen levels, respiration levels, sleep quality, caffeine levels, and blood pressure. Technology like this is currently banned in the NBA and not allowed under the current collective bargaining agreement, but that may change in the new deal due this year. Continue reading

The Warriors are in trouble, or are they?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published March 6, 2017

With Kevin Durant injured, several individuals believe the Warriors are doomed to make it out of the West. Don’t sound the alarm just yet. The injury might make the team better.

Kevin Durant to the Warriors, the rest of the NBA’s nightmare happened.
(Photo credit: SN illustration/Getty Images)

Seven months ago, former MVP and eight-time All-Star Kevin Durant released a statement that shocked the world and changed the landscape of the NBA possibly forever. Part of his statement simply read, “I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors.”

At the end of the last NBA Season, the Cleveland Cavaliers were crowned NBA Champions with Lebron James lifting his team from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. Two weeks after his team’s meteoric rise from the proverbial ashes, their beaten rivals in the NBA Finals, the Warriors, acquired former MVP and eight-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant. The Warriors were the newly crowned best regular season team in NBA history, copping 73 wins in their 82-game regular season. This feat had just eclipsed the former record set by the all-conquering 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan of 72 wins. However, the Warriors failed to cap off the effort by winning the NBA title. Continue reading