Hold The Back Page: 23/07/2011

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The Independent Online

Beckham: What's my motivation?

When David Beckham shocked the world and moved to the City of Angels, despite interest from a host of top European clubs, many people were left wondering what the motivation might have been. Four years down the line and the masses finally get their answer.

It was not money nor pressure from Posh to live in LA LA Land, but David's own desire to break into Hollywood. The Disney Channel has handed the struggling actor his big break, with a guest spot on Phineas and Ferb, a children's comedy cartoon which follows the fortunes of two stepbrothers. Colin Firth and Christian Bale better watch out: there's a new Briton in Tinseltown.

Japan refuses to play ball over pay

As the Baseball World Series is fought out by strictly North American teams, we should perhaps expect to be misled by the "World Baseball Classic" series between the US and Japan. However, we are not the only ones feeling short-changed by the event, as Japan have threatened to boycott the 2013 tournament as a result of a pay dispute.

The furore surrounds the Japanese who, despite winning the last tournament, received only 13 per cent of the revenue it generated. "We are not saying we don't want to take part," said players' union president Takahiro Arai. "But we will not be able compete under the current conditions, which are unfair."

Indian cricket put to test by football

As test cricket prepares to fight for its life against Twenty20, Indian cricket seems to have a new enemy from without, as well as within. A recent trend of urban youth worshipping Leo Messi rather than Sachin Tendulkar, along with progression in the World Cup qualifiers, has raised football's popularity in India to unprecedented levels.

Even former India footballer Anadi Barua, who runs a bustling academy on the outskirts of New Delhi, is surprised by the recent trend. "It is amazing to see the craze, focus and ambition of youngsters," Barua said.

Without a professional league, football in India still has a lot of work to do, but many in cricket could be shooting worried glances over their shoulders in the next few years.