Robert Lewandowski resides in bite-sized moments of brilliance

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B – UEFA Champions League

Think of Bayern Munich and Robert Lewandowski’s name will automatically come to mind. It certainly would not be an overstatement to say that this star striker from Poland has been one of Bayern Munich’s most consistent performers in recent times. During the 2018-19 season of the Bundesliga, Lewandowski could be seen eating goals for breakfast. He finished as the season’s leading goal scorer (22 goals).

Lewandowski was bought by the Bavarian Giants in 2014 to bolster the club’s attacking lines. Since the Polish striker’s arrival, they have enjoyed a lot of success. Bayern Munich have been winning the German Bundesliga since 2012-13. In 262 matches for the German powerhouse (across competitions), the Polish star has scored 206 times. Wow, these are staggering numbers. Those following him closely would be aware of the difference he makes every single time he takes the field. He is expected to score the moment he takes control of the ball. No matter how formidable the opponent’s defence lines are, Lewandowski will decimate them within no time.

The moment he misses a scoring opportunity, several media outlets across Europe can be seen losing a lot of ink. Earlier this year, the Bayern Munich forward was criticised by Didi Hamann, an ex-Germany midfielder, for failing to score against Hertha Berlin in the DFB-Pokal round of 16. Lewandowski termed the criticism aimed at him as “flat-out stupid”.

 What does Lewandowski bring to the table?

He is the axis around which other rotate

It has to be said that Lewandowski’s scoring rate is phenomenal. Every time he comes out to play, he ends up making a difference. He spearheads the club’s attacking lines, sometimes almost single-handedly. Also, there is a circle of energy and enthusiasm that surrounds Lewandowski from all possible sides. He brings along a lot of energy and optimism into the side.

The go-getter

No matter how precarious the situation is, Lewandowski will find a way to tackle it. If Bayern Munich is in need of an equaliser, he will come out all guns blazing and score a goal for his side. The opposition’s defence lines can be seen running for cover if and when the Polish great is on song. He scored 14 goals in the first 10 matches of the 2019-20 season. After looking at his numbers, he can be easily counted as one of the contemporary greats.

His ability to soak all the pressure makes him an intangible asset. Bayern Munich have been winning the Bundesliga since 2012-13, all thanks to Robert Lewandowski and his on-field brilliance. He wants to score the moment makes his way out. He wants to win matches for his side.

The fighter

Just one or two bad games do not seem to have much of an impact on him. The moment you write him off, he tends to strike back. Criticism makes him stronger. He is not known for launching verbal attacks and lets his on-field brilliance do the talking. Different people have different ways to counter criticism, and his way is to come out all guns blazing.

The impact player

Robert Lewandowski happens to be the heart and soul of Bayern Munich’s attacking lines. He keeps on scoring consistently.  In numbers are phenomenal, but Lewandowski’s game has never revolved around numbers. He wants to help his side win matches. That is what makes him different from other strikers. His on-field persona happens to be his biggest strength.

To conclude the argument

He too feels bogged down and frustrated at times. He overreacts and makes silly mistakes. Well, he isn’t a wish-granting fairy. Lewandowski doesn’t really care much about being judged by others. This lad from Poland just goes about his business. Simply put, he resides within countless moments of brilliance.

Is India Paying Attention To Medals Brought Home By Sportswomen?

It goes pretty much without saying that life isn’t a bed of roses for women athletes in India. Despite their best efforts, the gulf between male and female athletes in India keeps widening rampantly.

Take this for an example: The likes on Twitter and Facebook erupt like a volcano, the moment a male athlete wins a medal. Also, it is quite unsurprising to note that male athletes are paid way more than their female counterparts. Back in 2008, Abhinav Bindra turned into a national icon after becoming the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal (individual sport). On the other hand, countless women athletes are struggling to keep their bodies and souls together. Nobody talks about their achievements. Consequently, they end up fading away into the depths of oblivion.

Almost all of us know that R.S. Rathore won a silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics, but not many of us know that MC Mary Kom has won as many as six Boxing World Championships. Women athletes keep exceeding our expectations, but we hardly pay heed to all the good work done by them.

It is heartening to note that a considerable number of women athletes have made their presence felt in recent times. The likes of PV Sindhu and Hima Das have taken the sporting world by storm. Today, both these women have turned into role models and cultural icons.

Let us take a look at some of the rising women athletes who have made us proud in recent times:

PV Sindhu (Badminton)

She seems to have answered all her critics with her racquet. In the recently concluded Badminton World Championships, she decimated Nozomi Okuhara in straight sets to win her first gold medal. The world number 5 has won as many as five medals in six appearances at the world championships. Boy, that’s no mean feat.

Hima Das (Track and field)

They say the size of your success is always measured by the strength of your desire. Hima Das, the 19-year-old sprinter, broke quite a few records during the 2018 edition of the Asian Games held in Jakarta by covering 400 metres, in a fraction over 50 seconds. Also, she won a gold medal in a track event during the IAAF World U20 Championships. She is the first Indian athlete to bag four gold medals in 15 days. Wow, these are staggering numbers!

Dutee Chand (Track and field)

She made journalists lose a lot of ink, after winning a gold medal in the women’s 100-metre sprint at the World University Games (Napoli, 2019). The 23-year-old smashed quite a few records after clocking 11.32 seconds in the final and became the first Indian athlete to bag a gold medal at the event. One has to say that this lass from Odisha knows how to handle extreme pressure.

Mithali Raj (Cricket)

The seasoned and wise ‘yodha’ of the Indian Women’s cricket team became a household name after leading her team to the finals of the ICC Women’s World Cup 2017. In a career spanning over decades, she has scored more than 6,000 ODI runs. Also, she is the highest run-scorer for India in all three formats of the game.

Also read: How A Community Of Writers Showed Up To Bat For Our Women In Blue!

Sania Mirza (Lawn Tennis)

With three mixed doubles titles in her kitty, Sania Mirza is one of the finest female tennis players the country has ever produced. At the very height of her powers in 2015-16, she ranked number one in the WTA doubles rankings, becoming the first Indian to achieve the feat.

After going through all of the aforementioned examples, I believe, it certainly wouldn’t be wrong to say that women athletes in India are outplaying their male counterparts. For centuries, women are being told that they are, and will always remain, inferior to men. I, however, feel that women are way stronger than men (they have always been). Most of us find it hard to come to terms with this fact.

The piece was first published on Youth Ki Awaaz

A Rivalry for the Legends to Narrate: Revisiting the Tendulkar-Warne Classics

The game of cricket has been witness to some of the strongest on-field friendships, and even more so for the rivalries. Over the years, viewers of the game have been treated to some monumental rivalries. Lara’s batting exploits against Muralitharan have now become an integral part of the cricketing folklore. The same happens to be the case with Jeff Thomson and Sir Viv Richards. The Aussie quick Jeff Thomson was known for tormenting batters around the globe, but found an able opponent in Sir Vivian Richards, a batsman who could smash the bowlers all around the park with relative ease.

 But for an Indian cricket fan, the book of famous cricketing rivalries would always begin with the Tendulkar-Warne saga. A lot of you would agree that not even retirement could end this rivalry when Tendulkar was seen facing Warne in an All-stars clash in the United States back in 2015. Continue reading “A Rivalry for the Legends to Narrate: Revisiting the Tendulkar-Warne Classics”

Cheteshwar Pujara and the Joys of Playing the Waiting Game

The sheer charm of playing test match cricket is fading away at a rate of knots. The money and fame associated with the shortest format of the game seem to be pulling promising talents away from long-form cricket. I remember getting up at 5 am in the morning to watch India’ taking on Australia back in 2003-04. Back then, there used to be a charm about playing and watching test match cricket. It was a time when scoring runs for your country used to be the first thing on a cricketer’s to-do list. But sadly, the advent of Twenty20 cricket has led to a drastic decline in the popularity of test match cricket. Continue reading “Cheteshwar Pujara and the Joys of Playing the Waiting Game”

The curious case of Lokesh Rahul

An eye-pleasing batting technique, a hunger to score hundreds, an ability to play the big shots when needed, Lokesh Rahul has every single attribute a batsman needs to succeed at the international level. Despite putting in all the hard yards, Rahul is seen warming the benches most of the time. It is quite disheartening to see a player as talented as KL Rahul is struggling to cement his place is the playing XI. Continue reading “The curious case of Lokesh Rahul”

Running between wickets: As important as ever…

Running between the wickets has been an integral part and parcel of the game ever since its inception, but with the emergence of Twenty20 cricket, players can be seen swinging their willows ferociously in an attempt to score as many runs as possible. The likes of Chris Gayle and Glenn Maxwell often send oppositions on a leather hunt right from the outset. But, even with an increased amount of emphasis being laid on smashing sixes and fours, the importance of running between the wickets hasn’t declined.

Continue reading “Running between wickets: As important as ever…”

MS Dhoni@36: The old, wise ‘Yodha’ in a team of youngsters

As the Indian selectors set their sights on building a core group of cricketers as part of the team’s preparations for the 2019 edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the men in blue have begun solving ‘The Riddle of the Middle Order’. A few experiments have been undertaken, a pool of players including KL Rahul is being rotated, and some of them are being assigned specialized roles. Indian skipper Virat Kohli too, told the cricket pundits across the globe to expect an array of changes in the days to come as the team plans to chart-out a roadmap for the marquee event. Continue reading “MS Dhoni@36: The old, wise ‘Yodha’ in a team of youngsters”