Issue :   
September 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.          September 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Time for neck guards


It was sickening to watch TV replays of Steve Smith going down after being struck on the side of the neck by a nasty Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s. Stretchered off for treatment, he returned to continue 92. The 30-year-old Australian run machine had earlier scored twin centuries at Birmingham in the first Test of the Ashes series. Archer is the latest weapon England’s bowling attack.
The ball that struck Smith on the side of neck calls for redesigning the helmet worn by batsmen to prevent head injuries. The helmet used these days leaves the neck region unprotected.

A protective collar may the answer. Australian cricket authorities, remembering the tragic death of Phil Hughes’ death two days after he was struck by a rising ball on the side of the neck in 2014 in a domestic Sheffield Shield match, are seriously considering mandatory use of a protective collar. It is only a matter of time before neck guards become mandatory.

That also brings us to the day when India captain Nari Contractor, opening the innings with Dilip Sardesai, against Barbados at Bridgetown, in the 1961-62 tour of the West Indies, took a blow on the back of the head by a ball bowled by Charlie Griffith. A blood clot had developed inside his fractured skull. Doctors carried out two operations to save Contractor's life, but his international career was abruptly ended as a result.

Batsmen did not wear helmets those days..

Not at the expense of studies

Hima Das Hima Das, the sprint sensation from Assam who rose from obscurity to fame when she won the 400 metres gold medal at the world under-20 track and field championships, was in the news in July, winning four gold medals, three in the 200 metres and one in the 400 metres in competitions in Poland and the Czech Republic, has until September 6 to reach a time of 51.80 seconds to qualify for the World Championships 400 metres.
Her coaches are of the opinion that her decision to take a 45-day break from her training in February-March to prepare for her Class XII exams was at the expense of her performance on the track. The 19-year-old could manage a season best of 52.09 in her favourite event.
Like Hima there are several other talented young school-going athletes who have to cope with the pressure of exams. That’s the reason why the sports ministry has asked the national sports federations and the Sports Authority of India to engage tutors to ensure that promising athletes can train and participate in competitions without harming their studies. The ministry says it will reimburse up to Rs.15,000 per month per tutor, but the onus on finding and hiring tutors rests with the federations.

The Union sports ministry deserve a pat for the step it has decided to take. It is a step education authorities in the states would do well to emulate.

One remembers the example of the German football squad that took part in the world under-17 football cup held in India in 2017. German laws require boys of that age to be at school. So they sent a couple of teachers with the team to hold classes for the boys when they were not required to train or compete.

Boost for women’s cricket

The British government is trying to persuade India not to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham because the organisers of the event have excluded shooting from the event.
The organisers didn’t exclude shooting because they were envious of India’s 16 medals out of its total of 66 at the Gold Coast Games. They did so because the sport has little spectator appeal. If India has done a splendid job in becoming a world class country in shooting, there’s no reason why it can’t do the same in other disciplines, especially with the generous support it is getting from the government.

It is learnt that Birmingham will include women’s cricket as part of the Games, a decision few will have any reason to quarrel with. Amy Sattersmith, captain of New Zealand’s women’s cricket team, welcomed the decision, seeing it as a boost to the women’s game.

Cricket last featured in the Commonwealth Games in 1998 at Kuala Lumpurwhere the South African men’s team won the gold medal and Australia the silver. The Indian team was captained by Ajay Jadeja. .