Weekly Digest (December 13-19): Virat available for SA ODI series, Max is F1 champion

Here are the top sporting headlines from the week gone by.

Max Verstappen

Red Bull celebrates Max Verstappen's drivers' championship title.   -  Getty Images

CRICKET

Virat Kohli has said he was informed he would no longer be India's ODI captain by chief selector Chetan Sharma an hour-and-a-half before the selection meeting for India's Test squad to South Africa on December 8. (REPORT)

Virat Kohli: All these people who are writing these things and their sources, to me they're absolutely not credible. (File)   -  SPORTZPICS

 

The BCCI has named KL Rahul as vice-captain for the upcoming three-match Test series against South Africa. (REPORT)

India white-ball captain Rohit Sharma and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja have started their rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy after being ruled out of the upcoming Test series in South Africa due to injuries. (REPORT)

Indian Premier League's Lucknow franchise has appointed Gautam Gambhir as the mentor ahead of the new season. (REPORT)

Former Zimbabwe captain Andy Flower was appointed as the head coach of the newly formed Lucknow franchise that will debut in the 2022 Indian Premier League season. (REPORT)

FILE PHOTO: During his time with the England team, Flower led the side to the T20 World Cup title in 2010 and the number one spot in the Test rankings.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Pakistan completed a clean sweep in the three-match Twenty20 series against a virus-hit West Indies with a resounding seven-wicket win on Thursday. (REPORT)

South Africa's wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock is set to miss the third Test of the upcoming series against India due to the birth of his first child. (REPORT)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India will host the Afghanistan team for a three-match ODI series in March, just before the Indian Premier League. (REPORT)

The Sri Lanka Cricket Board has appointed former skipper Mahela Jayawardene as a consultant coach for the national side, effective from January 2022. (REPORT)

FOOTBALL

Premier League players will undergo daily coronavirus tests as part of emergency measures approved by clubs on Tuesday to deal with the worsening pandemic in England. (REPORT)

Sergio Aguero announced his retirement from football on Wednesday at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with a heart condition. (REPORT)

Aguero helped Argentina win the 2021 Copa America -- their first major title in 28 years.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

FIFA will hold a global summit next week to discuss its plans for holding the World Cup every two years but its biggest opponent, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, shows no sign of backing down. (REPORT)

Robert Lewandowksi took another old record from Bayern Munich great Gerd Müller on Friday. The Poland star scored his 43rd Bundesliga goal of the year to cap a 4-0 win for Bayern over Wolfsburg and eclipse the previous best mark for goals in a calendar year set in 1972 by “Der Bomber.” (REPORT)

Lewandowski, who broke Müller’s 49-year-old Bundesliga record for goals in a season with his 41st last May in the last minute of a 5-2 win over Augsburg, again left it late to score on Friday.

 

European Championship winner Italy will face Copa America champion Argentina on June 1 in London, Europe's soccer governing body UEFA and its South American counterpart CONMEBOL said on Wednesday. (REPORT)

Christian Eriksen’s contract with Inter Milan was terminated by mutual agreement on Friday, six months after he had a cardiac arrest at the European Championship. (REPORT)

FIFA held a virtual meeting on Tuesday with political institutions as well as rights organisations to discuss human rights in Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup. (REPORT)

Police made one arrest after Arsenal reported a fan for alleged racial abuse directed at their substitutes' bench during the 4-1 Premier League win at Leeds United on Saturday. (REPORT)

TENNIS

Former world number one Andy Murray eased past Rafael Nadal 6-3, 7-5 in the Spaniard's comeback match at the World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Friday. (REPORT)

Rafael Nadal lost his first match in four months in straight sets against Andy Murray on Friday.   -  REUTERS

 

Rafael Nadal said he cannot guarantee he will make the trip to Melbourne for next month's Australian Open after returning to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. (REPORT)

World number five Andrey Rublev outclassed Andy Murray 6-4, 7-6(2) in the World Tennis Championship exhibition event final in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. (REPORT)

Men's world number one Novak Djokovic has been named the 2021 ITF world champion for a record seventh time while women's number one Ash Barty has picked up her second crown, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said on Thursday. (REPORT)

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said players applying for a medical exemption to participate in the Grand Slam without being vaccinated against COVID-19 will have their case reviewed by an independent three-person panel. (REPORT)

Austria's Dominic Thiem has delayed his comeback from a wrist injury and pulled out of the December 16-18 Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi. (REPORT)

BADMINTON

Defending champion PV Sindhu suffered a straight-game defeat to familiar foe and world No.1 Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the women's singles quarterfinals to bow out of the BWF World Badminton Championships in Huelva, Spain on Friday. (REPORT)

Kidambi Srikanth (extreme left) and Lakshya Sen (extreme right) added their names to the list of Indian medallists at BWF world championships after clinching silver and bronze, respectively, in Huelva, Spain.   -  AP

Kidambi Srikanth clinched a historic silver medal in the World Badminton Championships after suffering a straight-games defeat to Loh Kean Yew of Singapore in the summit clash to notch up the best performance by an Indian in the men's singles in Huelva, Spain on Sunday. (REPORT)

Lakshya Sen, 20, who lost to Srikanth in the semifinals, became the youngest Indian man to finish on the podium as he won bronze at the BWF World Badminton Championships. (REPORT)

HOCKEY

Vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh scored a brace as Olympic bronze-medallists India defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 3-1 to register its second consecutive win and virtually qualify for the semifinals of the Asian Champions Trophy men's hockey tournament on Friday. (REPORT)

Harmanpreet Singh

FILE PHOTO: Harmanpreet Singh of India in action.   -  Reuters

 

Punjab, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and hosts Maharashtra moved into the semifinals with hard-fought wins in the 11th Hockey India Senior Men National Championship on Saturday. (REPORT)

Odisha, the defending champion, has added two players—Indian stars Sunil Jojo and Sudeep Chirmako—to its team in the Junior National men’s hockey championships  (REPORT)

CHESS

Indian chess ace Viswanathan Anand lost to lower-rated GM Rauf Mamedov in the Armageddon on the opening day of the 7th Vugar Gashimov Memorial chess tournament on Saturday, after winning one game and losing the other in the Rapid event. (REPORT)

The inaugural six-team Indian Chess League is set to start in June next year. Making an announcement on Tuesday, the All India Chess Federation said the league would be played on a double round-robin format over two weeks, with the top two teams clashing for the title. (REPORT)

ATHLETICS

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe on Wednesday said India must grab the opportunity provided by Neeraj Chopra's historic gold medal in Tokyo Olympics and broaden athletics' footprint in the country by holding more international events. (REPORT)

Italy's double Olympic champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs said on Saturday he would try out the 200 metres in some races next year, moving up from his usual 100m speciality. (REPORT)

Lamont Marcell Jacobs

Lamont Marcell Jacobs, who has yet to compete since winning the 100m and 4x100m at this year's Tokyo Olympics, plans to return to competitive action in Berlin in February.   -  Reuters

 

The Diamond League has now changed the 'final three' format for the 2022 Diamond League, virtually the world series in athletics, which will see the best throw or jump from the entire competition winning the event. (REPORT)

TABLE TENNIS

India’s Hansini Mathan Rajan defeated Syria’s Hend Zaza, the youngest athlete of this year’s Tokyo Olympics, to win the girls singles event at the 2021 ITTF Hopes and Challenge table tennis tournament in Amman. (REPORT)

MOTORSPORT

Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team dropped plans to appeal the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix outcome on Thursday and congratulated Max Verstappen as Formula One world champion. (REPORT)

Seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton received his knighthood for services to motorsport on Wednesday, days after he lost out on what would have been a record eighth title after a tense last lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. (REPORT)

Mohammed Ben Sulayem of the United Arab Emirates will be the first non-European president of motorsport's world governing body after being elected on Friday, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said. (REPORT)

BOXING

Promising a "new era" and "new ways of working", the International Boxing Association began the process of revamping itself in a virtual Extraordinary Congress which approved crucial constitutional amendments suggested by an independent group besides announcing a recertification programme for its under-fire referees and judges. (REPORT)

Japan's unbeaten "Monster" Naoya Inoue defended his WBA and IBF bantamweight titles on Tuesday with an eighth-round technical knockout win over unheralded Thai challenger Aran Dipaen in Tokyo. (REPORT)

WRESTLING

Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh courted controversy during the Under-15 Nationals in Ranchi when he slapped a grappler, who insisted on competing in the tournament after being disqualified for being overaged. (REPORT)

SHOOTING

Indian shooter Avani Lekhara has won the "Best Female Debut" honour at the 2021 Paralympic Awards for her record-breaking gold medal at the Tokyo Games. (REPORT)

Former national champion Mohammed Asab won the double trap gold with a score of 128 in the 64th National shooting championship that concluded at the New Moti Bagh Gun Club on Tuesday. (REPORT )

Shreyasi Singh won the women’s double trap with a score of 101 in the 64th National shooting championship at the New Moti Bagh Gun Club. (REPORT)

SWIMMING

Srihari Nataraj set the 'Best Indian time' at the FINA short course World Championship but that was not enough to take him to the semifinals of the 50m backstroke event on Saturday. (REPORT)

Srihari Nataraj

Srihari Nataraj clocked 24.40s in the men’s 50m backstroke event to finish 26th in the overall heats. (File Image)   -  Murali Kumar K

 

Indian swimmers Sajan Prakash, Srihari Nataraj and Kushagra Rawat registered 'national records' at the FINA Short Course World Championships on Thursday. (REPORT)

Former French Olympic swimmer Yannick Agnel, who was placed under formal investigation last week for the suspected rape of a minor, has admitted to a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl, a public prosecutor said on Monday. (REPORT)

VOLLEYBALL

The Prime Volleyball League's player auction as held earlier in the week. (REPORT)

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