Here’s hoping Djokovic and Sharapova win the Australian Open singles titles

ONCE a year, Australia has a world-class sporting event, one where it is guaranteed that all the best players will turn up. That is the Australian Open, one of four grand slam tennis events around the world.

This year, the tournament has not had as many close matches as usual, with most men’s matches ending in three sets and most women’s games ending in two. The finals pit Novak Djokovic against Andy Murray and Serena Williams against Maria Sharapova. Here’s hoping that Djokovic and Sharapova prevail.

Reasons?

Murray is a dour, grim person who seems to hate every moment here is out on court. And he has a girl-friend, Kim Sears, who abuses his opponents as she pleases. When Murray played Tomas Berdych in the semi-finals, Sears was caight on camera saying “F*****g have that, you Czech flash f***”, or “Take that, you flash f**k”. And she wasn’t playing the match, Murray was.

It would be poetic justice if Djokovic thrashes Murray the way he has at least on two earlier occasions.

While one cannot stand the grunting that Sharapova indulges in while playing, she would be a far worthier winner than Williams who is often touted as one of the better women’s players of the modern era. She is just an ugly example of American arrogance, someone who can never be wrong.

If she wins, then it is always because she played well. And if she loses, then it is because she played badly, not because her oppponent played well.

And here are a few more good reasons why Williams does not deserve to win.

Is ESPNCricinfo riddled with errors due to incompetent staff?

Over the 20-odd years of its existence, the website Cricinfo has grown into some kind of authority as far as cricket goes.

The site was bought by the American sports broadcaster ESPN in 2007 and is now known as ESPN Cricinfo.

The site has a big archive with statistics, all of which are claimed to be correct.

But how many errors are there? Cricket is a game that lives off statistics and if any of those are wrong, then the site would be of little use.

This afternoon (January 8) I was watching the third day’s play of the fourth Test between Australia and India on TV. I had a look at the ESPNCricinfo site to check how many overs were remaining for the day.

At the time I checked, the 108th over of India’s innings has just begun. I noticed that the commentator, an Indian named Abhishek Purohit, had listed Mitchell Starc as the bowler for the 107th over. That over had just been bowled by Josh Hazlewood.

I watched for a while to see if this would be corrected. Then over 109 began and again Purohit listed Starc as the bowler when Hazlewood was continuing.

Now Starc is a left-hander and Hazlewood a right-hander. No commentator should get them mixed up. They are both tall but then these are supposed to be professional commentators.

After I sent the site a series of emails using the feedback button, Starc’s name was changed to Hazlewood for one over and then slowly for the next. For a while over 107 had Hazlewood bowling five balls, and Starc the sixth. I sent in another email and then this was corrected too.

There was no acknowledgement of my emails. There was not even a word of thanks from Purohit.

It raises the question — how many other such errors are committed on a daily basis by incompetent staff? How are things checked for accuracy?

This website is supposed the be the canonical digital authority for cricket worldwide. It seems to be as unreliable as many other resources on the internet.