Former Sports Minister MS Gill on Thursday lashed out at the BCCI for being persistent with hosting Indian Premier League matches in Maharashtra despite the state being affected by drought. He also said the cricket board had converted the Indian public to ‘zombies of cricket’ by foisting tournaments like IPL ‘tamasha’. (Full IPL 2016 coverage)Gill, who served as the Union Sports Minister from April 2008 to May 2009 and currently a Rajya Sabha member from Punjab, was reacting after Bombay High Court raised questions on why water should be wasted on hosting IPL matches in Maharashtra when the state is facing one of its worst-ever droughts. (Also read: Ponting backs Rohit to rediscover golden touch) In total, 20 IPL matches are scheduled to be held in Maharashtra in three venues — Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.”The drought condition in Maharashtra is so severe that in a few days people in areas like Marathwada will not even have a glass of water to drink. As a former Sports Minister and ex-Agriculture Secretary, I know that several parts of Maharashtra are bone dry and I am amazed that in this situation the BCCI wants to hold these IPL matches,” Gill told PTI today. (Also read: Fitness not captaincy the major challenge for Zaheer, Daredevils)”Cricket is no longer a sport and the BCCI has converted it into a serious commercial enterprise. Cricket matches are happening all through 12 months in a year and it is not good for the public and for the children. They (BCCI) have made the Indian public zombies of cricket,” Gill, who also served as Chief Election Commissioner of India between 1996 – 2001, said. (Clash of the captains: It’s MS Dhoni vs Virat Kohli )advertisementGill said the BCCI should not think that they can do things which are against the general mood of the country. (Also read: Complete list of IPL 9 teams) “Several parts of India face drought situations every year and it’s the worst in Maharashtra. In this situation the BCCI have scheduled 20 matches in Maharashtra. A huge amount of water will be required for these matches. The BCCI should have some sanity in their thinking and they should shift these IPL matches out of Maharashtra,” the 79-year-old former Indian Administrative Service officer said.”They can hold these IPL matches in states like Haryana, Punjab or Uttar Pradesh where the problem of water scarcity is not that big an issue. In any case, this IPL is a tamasha and it not serving the game of cricket. The Romans gave the world the Gladiators Fight and now the BCCI has given the Indian public this tamasha called the IPL. It is nothing but a purely commercial event meant for money making,” he added.
Los Angeles, Dec 7 (AFP) Boxer Floyd Mayweather says his New Year’s Eve bout with Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa will be “all about the entertainment”.The nine-minute exhibition in Japan will have no official winner or loser if it goes the distance, and Mayweather said at a press availability at his training base in Las Vegas on Thursday that he was looking forward to the event as a chance to sample “something different”.The contest will take place at the Saitama Prefecture Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, Mayweather said.Saitama is 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of Tokyo.Mayweather added that there and won’t be any judges present and the bout would not count on the combatants’ official fight records.”It is all about the entertainment,” Mayweather said. “Nine minutes of entertainment …. I’m in the entertainment business.” Besides three-minute rounds, the exhibition will take place at 67kg (147 pounds), feature “straight boxing rules” and eight-ounce boxing gloves.”This will be full contact competition but the bout is not going on boxing or MMA records,” a Mayweather spokesperson said in a news release.Nasukawa, also in Vegas Thursday, said he hopes his countrymen will get behind the show.”There has never been a Japanese fighter to face Floyd Mayweather in the ring. I would like to make a big impression,” said the 20-year-old, who is 27-0 with 21 KOs as a featherweight kickboxer.”I want to get the whole fight community, the whole country of Japan and the entire world involved in this fight.Thursday’s press event came almost a month after 41-year-old retired welterweight champ Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) announced he had scrapped plans to stage a fight with Nasukawa, indicating he had been duped into agreeing to a contest.advertisement”I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa,” Mayweather wrote on Instagram.But on November 15, the CEO of mixed martial arts promoter RIZIN said a “misunderstanding” with Mayweather had been ironed out and the fight was on.At that time, Mayweather described the match to TMZ Sports as “a little boxing exhibition” with no kicking involved.There was no mention Thursday of a US broadcaster, an undercard, or how much money Mayweather would receive for the spectacle.Mayweather came out of a two-year retirement in 2017 and knocked out mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor in the 10th round of a super-hyped boxing match. (AFP) APAAPA