It’s now just a matter of less than a day. Right after that, the first-ever pink-ball Test of the subcontinent will take place in the City of Joy- Kolkata.
Sourav Ganguly, the newly-appointed president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is trying his best to make this occasion memorable to the people of Kolkata and other parts of India as well.
The Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), the organizing institute, also put their best foot forward to turn this pink-ball Test into a mega-spectacle to the world.
“We have many programmes on the first day of the Kolkata Test, including para trooping by the Indian Army, who will land the match venue to hand over the balls to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee and the captains of both teams. During the lunch break, the organisers will arrange a talk-show to be participated by Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble,” Sourav told the media.
“After that, the former Indian captains will be introduced at the game venue. At the same time, the cricket fans will enjoy the musical show of Runa Laila and Jeet Ganguly,” he further added.
On Wednesday evening, there was a training schedule of the Indian team for the first time with the pink-ball. It was enough to draw the attention of the local cricket-mad fans who gathered in front of the Eden Garden to look for a chance to see the Indian team practising with pink-ball when a couple of official mascots were standing at the main entrance of the venue.
Not just for it, but the spectators gathered also for collecting the tickets for the match starting from November 22. But it was too late for them because all tickets for the first four days were sold out as it was confirmed by the BCCI president himself.
Despite the sold-out announcement from BCCI, the spectators were adamant to collect a ticket, which has made Kolkata police come up and force the spectators to go away from the venue.
However, the appeal of the first pink-ball Test is still too high. So being disappointed to grab a ticket was not enough to prevent Kolkata from going to the festive mood.
A notable part of Kolkata turned into a pink city, pink lights were lit here and there, top 13 floors of a 42-storied building were turned into a pink-building. Sourav shared some images of that building on Twitter.
The madness of the pink-ball Test reached that level that people at the tea stalls are also talking about it for the few days.
The Kolkata Test of the ongoing two-match series between India and Bangladesh got more attention due to the local interest to Bangladesh team.
The forefathers of many people of Kolkata are from neighbouring Bangladesh who came to India during the partition back in 1947.
Wriddhiman Saha, the wicketkeeper-batsman of the Indian team, believes this personal emotion might come to the fore for many spectators. But at the same time, he insisted that the support for the Indian team will be enormous in the first-ever pink-ball Test of both participating countries.
More than 50 sports reporters came to Kolkata from Bangladesh to cover the historic Test. Bangladesh’s failure in the previous game in Indore did not prevent them to cover this match, which came as a surprise for the local reporters who were never outnumbered by the reporters of opposition teams in their home backyard.
Not just the reporters, many Bangladesh spectators also came to witness the historic Test in Kolkata.
Together all these, Kolkata is now a festive mood. The hosts’ team is eager to make this occasion memorable more to the people of India. On the hand, Bangladesh are keen to pose a strong comeback after the dismal show in the first Test.
Chelsea can expect a verdict within three weeks in its appeal to overturn a FIFA transfer ban for breaking youth transfer rules.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport said after a hearing Wednesday its ruling is expected in the first half of December.
The month-long trading window for English clubs opens Jan. 1. Chelsea already served half its one-year ban on registering new players during the offseason.
Chelsea is challenging verdicts by FIFA's disciplinary and appeal committees that the club had 150 violations of rules protecting minors from trafficking. Those cases involved about 70 players.
Chelsea also broke rules prohibiting third-party influence on players. FIFA imposed a fine of 600,000 Swiss francs ($608,000).
The club has denied wrongdoing.
The timeline of this transfer of minors' case is similar to Barcelona's appeal in 2014 when CAS upheld a transfer ban on Dec. 30, almost four weeks after a hearing.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have their sights set on playing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Murray said Wednesday "he would love to compete in Tokyo," and Djokovic acknowledged the Olympics are "very high on the list of wishes for next year."
Murray, the two-time Olympic champion in singles and a three-time Grand Slam winner, has been slowly coming back to full speed after undergoing hip surgery in January. In October, he won his first title since his return.
He defeated Tallon Griekspoor 6-7 (7), 6-4, 7-6 (5) on Wednesday in his first Davis Cup match with Britain since 2016.
"I've really enjoyed playing in the Olympics," the 32-year-old Murray said. "I've always enjoyed a team environment and competing for my country. Always really enjoyed that. So yeah, I would love to play in Tokyo."
The Olympic gold medalist in 2012 and 2016, Murray said he hopes to "feel healthy" and that his "body feels good" at the end of next year.
"I'd be delighted with that," he said. "That's what I'd like for next year."
Roger Federer has already said he plans to play in Tokyo, even though it adds to an already packed calendar. And Djokovic, who helped Serbia beat Japan in the new Davis Cup Finals on Wednesday in Madrid, said the Olympics are also part of his plans for 2020.
"I'm going to try to be healthy, be fit, be prepared to play my best," he said. "I played the Tokyo (ATP) tournament, I won it this year. And the Olympic Games are going to be played on the same courts, which are quite good for my style of the game, I think it's quite suitable."
The 32-year-old Djokovic said he expects "fun" games in Japan.
"Olympics are always bringing something extraordinary," he said. "Every four years you get a chance to be part of the most historic sports events in the history of sport. You never get really a chance to, other than in the Olympics, to really sit next to all the elite athletes from their sports and dine with them and just exchange experiences and knowledge and everything. There's a lot of storytelling, a lot of fun."
The Olympics is the only top tournament Djokovic hasn't won in his career. He won the bronze medal in the 2008 Games in Beijing.
A recent modification by soccer's rule-making panel is the culprit behind a significant increase in VAR dependence — and controversy — in Serie A this season, according to Italy's refereeing director.
Nicola Rizzoli, who officiated the 2014 World Cup final and now handles the Italian league's refereeing appointments and technical matters, said at a heated meeting among Serie A stakeholders that constant checks for involuntary handballs is putting too much strain on the video review system.
In 119 Serie A matches through 12 rounds this season there have been 790 incidents checked by the VAR, which translates to 6.6 checks per match. That's up from 657 checks and 5.4 per match at this point last season.
Perhaps more alarming is that the instances in which VAR has corrected a referee's decision on the field have doubled from last season — from 24 to 48.
"It means we're not refereeing well," Rizzoli said. "But also that the rules have changed."
At Tuesday's refereeing summit attended by all 20 Serie A clubs, Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said VAR dependence was spiraling out of control.
"Who is refereeing the games?" Ancelotti said. "At times I get the impression that some games are being decided by the VAR."
While Rizzoli replied to Ancelotti by saying that "the referee is always at the center of the decision-making process," the new rules mean that referees no longer have to consider intent on handballs. But nearly any sort of touching above the shoulders or by making the body "unnaturally bigger" is a foul.
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt has been at the center of the controversy.
The Netherlands international conceded penalties to Inter Milan and Lecce with handballs this season but appeared to get away with another handball during a derby with Torino.
Rizzoli used a slide of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing to illustrate the complexities of the rule.
"The handball is one of the most challenging situations the referees have to judge," Rizzoli told The Associated Press after the meeting, adding that the IFAB rules panel should consider "adjustments" after this season.
"The intention of the player, the touch with the arm, the position of the arm — everything. And the dynamic also of the situation," Rizzoli added. "We have to think (about) a lot of things."
The increase in VAR checks have resulted in an increase in angry player protests.
Rizzoli appealed to teams to curtail the protests and reminded them to make sure only the captain addresses the referee.
"If the captain comes we are obliged to offer an explanation," Rizzoli said. "Everything we can do better in terms of communication with the captain instead of a lot of players that surround the referee.
"The rulers of the game have to think about giving more power to the captain in terms of collaboration with the referee."
The Italian soccer federation is building a VAR control center at its Coverciano training center in Florence, from which all matches can be handled starting next season.
The central VAR room — as opposed to the current system of trucks parked outside of stadiums — would enable refereeing heads to meet with media immediately after games to explain their choices.
"It's like a university for the referees," Rizzoli said. "This is the future, because after that we can speak with the media immediately, we can teach the referee and have an immediate feedback altogether. So this is something that can improve the technique of VAR."
FIFA used a VAR center at the 2018 World Cup and the Premier League has followed suit with its introduction of VAR this season.
UEFA has called for further investigations into allegations by a Sweden player he was racially abused by Romania fans at a European Championship qualifying game.
After Alexander Isak reported his claim to the match referee last Friday, play in Sweden's 2-0 win was briefly stopped to broadcast a warning to fans in Bucharest. The stadium will host four Euro 2020 games in June.
UEFA says it opened a disciplinary investigation, and also charged Romania's soccer federation for separate incidents of an alleged "illicit banner" and "illicit chants." Those charges will be judged on Dec. 12.
Romania faces more severe UEFA action because it was already under one year's probation for previous incidents of offensive fan behavior.
Only accompanied children were allowed to attend Romania's home qualifier against Norway last month.
The next UEFA punishment could affect Romania's next game in the Euro 2020 playoffs round in March.