Let cricketer Moeen Ali wear his ‘Save Gaza’ wristband | Ally Fogg |

“In times of great humanitarian crisis…there cannot be neutrality. To do nothing, to say nothing is in itself a political act. In declaring which causes are appropriate for sports audiences and which are not, David Boon and the ICC have made a political statement of their own. It is not Moeen Ali’s statement that is in the wrong, but theirs.”

Publishers withdraw more than 120 gibberish papers: Nature News & Comment

Shoddy quality controls by academia are exposed by a large number of spoof papers making it past the gatekeepers into conference proceedings and journals:

"Germany May Be the Best National Soccer Team Ever," Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight Data Lab

“By the end of the World Cup,” Nate Silver concludes after analysing the relevant data, “Germany left little doubt it is the best team in the world. In fact, it may be the best national soccer team ever assembled [that’s a big claim, which needs to be approached with a degree of scepticism — NR]”:

“Germany didn’t begin the World Cup as the favourite,” notes Nate Silver. “That honor belonged to (ahem) Brazil).” Here are his predictions, which turned out to be way off:

And here are Silver’s apologetics:

Messi had the lowest work rate among non-goalkeepers in 2014 World Cup, FiveThirtyEight Sports analysis

Over the course of the 2014 World Cup, “Messi had the lowest work rate among non-goalkeepers when his team is on defense and the second-lowest among forwards when his team is on offense (among players with 150 minutes on offense/defense combined)…on the other end of the spectrum, Mario Goetze had a great tournament (obviously ) and the highest work rate.” This comes out clearly in Benjamin Morris’s interesting analysis in FiveThirtyEight Sports. But, the writer adds, “the bizarre spectacle of Lionel Messi strolling along lazily shouldn’t be used either to hang him or to excuse him…”

Courtesy: Prannoy Roy

‘After Theater in Brazil, Soccer’s Calloused Cousin Takes the Stage’,

Soccer, that is, real football, governed by FIFA, is much better theatre than the NFL ‘football’. NYT sports columnist William C Rhoden reflects after watching (‘again and again and again’) the vicious blow that put Neymar out of the World Cup with a cracked vertebra, ‘”Now that’s what soccer needs more of” if it wants to occupy a larger space on our [U. S. fans’] palette. Big hits and midair collisions. We like collisions; we like the violence. Cynical, but true.’®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

Edward Snowden: ‘If I end up in chains in Guantánamo I can live with that’ – video interview

Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower, talks to Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, and reporter Ewen MacAskill in Moscow. Snowden appreciates the asylum that Russia has given him, and discusses his likely fate should he return to the US.

World Cup 2014: Before Manuel Neuer Was Germany’s Keeper, There Was Robert Enke –

Manuel Neuer’s magnificent contribution to Germany’s triumph in the World Cup 2014 Brasil showed the world why he is regarded as the world’s best goalkeeper. But Neuer’s ascent was preceded by tragedy — the suicide of Germany’s No. 1 goalkeeper, Robert Enke, “the Kennedy moment of German football”.

Recommended reading: “A Life Too Short: The Tragedy of Robert Enke” (Kindle Edition) by Ronald Reng (translated from the German), Random House UK, 2011

"Life after 7-1," The Guardian

What happens to footballers after a defeat like Brazil’s? The challenge in historical perspective:


Harold Larwood: Jardine told me to stand at short cover-point and just stare at Bradman | The Guardian

A memorable chat, in 1993, with the most feared fast bowler in cricket history – “patron saint and forerunner of Lillee and Lindwall, Ambrose and Holding and Waqar.”


Romila Thapar on the appointment of the Chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research

“During the BJP/NDA government of 1999-2004, there was a frontal attack on historians by the then HRD minister M.M. Joshi. The attack focused on two levels of history writing. One was the content of school textbooks written for the NCERT prior to 1999, and the second was the attempt to prevent the publishing of some of the research projects of the ICHR, such as the “Towards Freedom Project”. The present HRD minister, who unfortunately is unfamiliar with academia beyond school level, gives the impression that in this case she may be doing what she perhaps was appointed for: Carrying out the programme of the old history-baiters of the BJP who now have a fresh innings.”

Neymar’s Injury Sidelines Effort to End World Cup Racism –

Brazil’s racial divide has come into sharper focus during this World Cup. And the torrent of racist insults against the Colombian, Juan Camilo Zúñiga, demonstrates that the country’s declared policy of eradicating racism is a long way from fulfilment.®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

World Cup 2014: Soccer’s Elite Sends the Party Crashers Home –

“To be sure, the World Cup lets in hoi polloi to give a glimmer of hope and inclusion, but the inner sanctum is usually sealed shut by the semifinals, sending home the pretenders. Not our kind.”®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0