They say sports is like a tonic. When COVID-19 was ravaging the surface of Planet Earth in 2021 and nations went into a lockdown, one of the first things that opened up as a means to recreation was sporting events. As we enter a new year (2022), sports once again promises to bring smiles and a sense of engagement. (More Sports News)
We are still gripped by the fear of the coronavirus and its new variant, Omicron. But sports has the propensity to take on the insurmountable odds and hence it's going to a real Happy New Year 2022 for Indian fans. Purely by looking at the annual calendar, stuffed with major events, a feast is coming your way.
2021 was a challenging year because of the COVID pandemic. The difficult times started from March 2020 but sports started making a return in 2021. As athletes got used to life in bio-bubbles, the definition of media and entertainment changed drastically. Sporting events like Tokyo Olympics were held in empty stadiums as fans derived enjoyment from TV and live streaming on their digital devices.
Whether the fans will return in big numbers in 2022 is anybody's guess. Big ticket events like the 2022 FIFA World Cup (in Qatar) and the ICC T20 World Cup in Australia see thousands of fans but nothing is clear now as the virus lurks in every nook and corner.
Let’s take a look at the 2022 sporting calendar:
CRICKET IN 2022
The international cricket calendar in 2022 is going to be hectic like the previous years. While there will be a plethora of bilateral Tests, ODIs and T20 international series across the globe, the ICC will also have four major tournaments taking place in 2022.
Besides, the year will also see franchise leagues like Indian Premier League, Pakistan Super League, Big Bash, Bangladesh Premier League and Caribbean Premier League taking place in a big way. IPL 2022 will see a new format with more teams (10) and extra matches. Unlike 2020 and 2021, IPL 2022 has been planned in India.
Another blockbuster cricket calendar for Team India. AP photo.
Meanwhile, for the first time, cricket will be played in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The women’s cricket teams will compete in the 2022 CWG. Besides, the matches of the World Test Championship 2021-2023 are expected to go on as planned.
Major ICC Events
Women’s World Cup (50 overs) – New Zealand (March 4 to April 3)
Men’s T20 World Cup (October 16 to November 13)
Men's U-19 World Cup (January 14 to February 5)
India’s International Schedule
West Indies tour of India – 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is (February 6-20)
Sri Lanka tour of India – 2 Tests and 3 T20Is (February 25 to March 18)
South Africa tour of India – 5 T20Is June 9-19
England vs India one-off Test (Rescheduled) – July 1-5
India tour of England – 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is (July 7-17)
BADMINTON IN 2022
The 2022 badminton season starts with two important events in India – Indian Open and Syed Modi International – in January. Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist PV Sindhu and BWF World Championships silver medallist Kidambi Srikanth will be the top draws in both events.
A revitalised Kidambi Srikanth will eye more glory in 2022. File photo.
Birmingham will host the All England Championships in March while the World Tour Finals will be in China in December. Some of the important events are:
Indian Open – India (January 11-16)
Syed Modi International - India (January 18-23)
All England Championships – Birmingham (March 16-20)
World Tour Finals – China (December 14-18)
FOOTBALL IN 2022
2022 FIFA World Cup – Qatar (November 21 to December 18)
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be a little different, unlike its previous editions. Not because of the COVID-19, but the biggest change is the November 21 to December 18 slot instead of the usual May, June or July.
It will be a different kind of World Cup for the Beautiful Game! Logo - Qatar World Cup
It was earlier assumed that the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held in the usual heat of June and July, but FIFA decided to move the dates to save everyone associated from the scorching heat.
Among the leagues, the English Premier League and French Ligue 1 2022-23 will have August 6 starts. However, the dates of Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A are yet to be announced. The UEFA Champions League final is on May 28 as expected. The dates for Indian Super League 2022-23 season are also yet to be announced. The FIFA Club World Cup, which was scheduled in 2021, has been postponed to 2022. UAE will host the event from February 3-12.
AFC Women’s Asian Cup – India (January 20 to February 6)
At the Asian level, India will play hosts to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. This will be the second time India will be hosting the event, the first being in 1979. Like several other tournaments, the AFC Women’s Asian Cup was also scheduled for 2021 but was postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19. The competition will have 12 teams for the first time and will also serve as the final stage of Asian qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
TENNIS IN 2022
Like every year, all eyes will be on the four Grand Slams in 2022 besides a host of ATP and WTP events. Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are all tied at 20 Grand Slams each.
World No.1 Serbian Djokovic can go past his rivals if he wins the season-opening Australian Open but his still participation at the Melbourne event is still in doubt as the 35-year-old remained tight-lipped about his vaccination status. The Australian Open organisers have made it clear that everyone associated with AO 2022 needs to be double-vaccinated or have a medical exemption.
Australian Open – Melbourne (January 17-30)
French Open – Paris (May 22 to June 5)
US Open – New York (August 29 to September 11)
Wimbledon – London (June 27 to July 10)
FORMULA ONE In 2022
The 2021 Formula One season was a great spectacle for fans around the world. Such was the thrill and excitement that the F1 champion was decided on the last lap of the last race of the season at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix where Max Verstappen pipped Lewis Hamilton in a bizarre finale.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rivalry to get a new chapter. AP photo.
Most importantly, the Verstappen vs Hamilton duel ushered a new era in the history of motorsports. The 2022 Formula One Championship will have 23 races starting with Bahrain Grand Prix on March 20. The final race of the season will be held in Abu Dhabi on November 20.
MULTI-SPORTS EVENTS In 2022
After the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the Tokyo 2020 by a year, athletes will be getting less time than expected ahead of a huge 2022 that will see events like the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. Listed are at the major multi-sports events in 2022.
Asian Games - Hangzhou, China (September 10 - 25)
Commonwealth Games – Birmingham (July 28 – August 8)
Winter Olympics – Beijing (February 4-20)
World University Games – Chengdu, China (June 26 – July 7)
ATHLETICS IN 2022
Tokyo Olympics javelin gold medallist India's Neeraj Chopra will be one of the top stars at the World Athletics Championships starting in Oregon, United States in July. The last edition was staged in Doha in 2019.
Neeraj Chopra will be one of the star attractions in 2022. File photo.
The competition was originally scheduled for August 2021 but the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics prompted the need to postpone this competition too. Another event that will see top competitors from around the world is the Diamond League which is divided into 14 legs in 12 countries.
World Athletics Championships – Oregon, United States (July 15–24)
Diamond League – (May 13 to September 8)
HOCKEY IN 2022
Among the field hockey events taking place in 2022 will be the FIH Pro Leagues for both men and women. For the first time, the women’s hockey World Cup will be jointly hosted by Spain and the Netherlands. Year 2022 will also see the inaugural edition of the FIH Women’s Nations Cup to be held in Valencia, Spain.
FIH Men’s Pro League – February 4 to June 26
FIH Women’s Pro League – January 31 to June 26
FIH Women’s World Cup – July 1-17
FIH Women’s Nations Cup – December 10-17.