Monday, 30th October 2017

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World Cup over but surfeit of sport to beat hangover

Cricket to club football, never a dull moment as action continues on television

By Rith Basu in Calcutta
  • Published 16.07.18

Calcutta: Hangover cures abound - and a few of them have stood the test of scary weekend excesses - but World Cup withdrawal symptoms are known to demand more relief than sleep and hydration can provide.

If you just woke up feeling depressed at the thought of the next World Cup match being four years away, the only therapy that might work is a worthy sporting distraction.

There are quite a few currently on offer, just in case you didn't notice while you were marvelling at Kylian Mbappe's speed or Luka Modric's uncanny ability to make the pass that matters.

Virat Kohli and Co have been in England for some weeks and are scheduled to play England in the decider of the three-match ODI series at Headingley on Tuesday.

Abhik Ray, a resident of Kasba who follows almost every major sporting event, didn't even know that England had drawn level in the series on Saturday until he read the papers the next morning. "It escaped my mind that India would be playing an ODI in England on Saturday, which doesn't happen often. All I could think about was the England-Belgium World Cup play-off!" he said.

Cricket action featuring India in England continues right till September, when the last Test starts at the Kennington Oval. In November, Team India moves on to Australia for another tough assignment stretching till January 2019.

Abhik, who swears his loyalty to Mohun Bagan and roots for Brazil in every World Cup, said on Sunday that he would be keenly following the India-England Test series.

In between two big cricket tours, football will be back in club jerseys with the English Premier League kicking off on August 11. The very first night will probably have the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young back in action as Manchester United squares off with Leicester City.

Wimbledon, particularly the men's final, may have played second fiddle to World Cup football, but the next Grand Slam event of the year could ace the tennis viewership. The US Open begins on August 27.

Formula 1, fired by the rivalry between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, will be grabbing eyeballs at the July 22 German Grand Prix. Like Wimbledon, viewership for the French Grand Prix on June 24 had dipped because of the World Cup match in which England pumped in six goals against Panama.

World Cup football had been the staple of almost every evening in front of the TV since June 14, when Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0. The matches that followed lived up to the World Cup's billing as the most-watched sporting property. Sony India reported 192.7mn World Cup viewers in the country till last week, with the France-Argentina thriller being the most-watched match with 22.2mn eyeballs.