A look back on the best and worst from the past week in sport, including Harsha Bhogle’s sacking, Shinji Kagawa’s wonder goal, and a sad ending to James Taylor’s cricket career.
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Best controversy – Harsha Bhogle
The Indian Premier League is no stranger to these, and the culling of Harsha Bhogle from the commentary roster this season probably ranks at the lower end of the scale. Still, what a bizarre turn of events. The reasons for Bhogle's exit are not clear but if it is for not being pliant or patriotic enough, or as criticism-free of players, then clearly, the Indian board has not been watching, or listening to, the broadcast of its own product over the last nine years.
Best goal – Shinji Kagawa
Shinji Kagawa is having a wonderful season at Borussia Dortmund, who are, in turn, having a pretty wonderful season themselves. This weekend Kagawa scored his 11th of the season, against Schalke, and there cannot be any better. Picking up the ball halfway into the opposition half, he manufactured a one-two with a teammate on the edge of the penalty area, before ghosting in and chipping the goalkeeper in his stride from just outside. Oh Manchester United, how you have squandered gold-dust players in recent years let me count the ways.
Worst advert – MMA
MMA can be very polarising and in particular, what can become situations where it seems brutality is sanctioned. The death of the Portuguese fighter Joao Carvalho this week in Dublin will not help in quietening its critics. Carvalho fell ill 20 minutes after losing a bout by technical knockout and it seems a victim of one of those situations. Already slumped down, he was punched, by some counts, nine times on the side of the head while essentially defenceless. It is not a good look.
Cruelest cut – James Taylor
At the end of last year, James Taylor had finally made it. He was back in England’s Test and ODI sides and a key member too. Now he has no playing career left. Taylor, 26, was diagnosed with a serious heart condition that has forced him to retire. The good news is he was diagnosed early, and can manage the condition for the rest of his life. That is greater consolation than it may appear to him just now.
Best quote – Crisitano Ronaldo
We should perhaps just give Cristiano Ronaldo this award permanently. After scoring the hat-trick that sealed Real Madrid’s comeback against Wolfsburg and a place in the Champions League semis, he said: “Considering this has been a ‘bad’ season for me it has not been that bad. People can criticise me but I just keep on going and the numbers are there for all to see.” Goals, he added immodestly, are in his DNA. A 35th hat-trick, 16 goals in the competition and 43 for the season – who can argue?