This blog attempts to function as a confluence of thoughts from the blogosphere on any matters pertaining to international cricket.
April 2009 - Posts
Ok ... what just happened?
We all have come to terms with the fact that the 2009 edition of the Indian Premier League is NOT actually being in India. But how many of us were ready for the rest of the topsy-turvy ouctomes in just 2 days of IPL?
All 8 teams have played at least one match each and here's what's happened:
- Last year's finalists both lost their first matches.
- Last year's champions, in fact, ended up with the lowest total in "IPL history".
- Last year's worst 2 teams won their first matches and that too with huge margins.
- Last year's champions, in fact, lost to last year's worst team.
As far as individual performances go, the so-called old-timers, the ones who are supposedly "not suited for the shorter game", the "slow movers", the ones who are not considered good enough to be part of their national team, were indeed the stars of the first round:
- Rahul Dravid ended up with a 120+ rated 66 to give his team's bowlers a something to defend
- Anil Kumble, one of those bowlers, ended up with figures of 3.5 overs 5 wickets for 5 runs!
- Sachin Tendulkar held his team's batting order in order and did what Rahul Dravid did for the Royal Challengers.
Batsmen were supposed to take everything the away bowlers and into the stands:
- Anil Kumble has already been mentioned above
- Ojha and Vettori did exceptionally well for the Chargers
You heard it ... this IS South Africa we are talking about and it is spinning like a top and the top spinners are out to hunt.
Captains were swapped around:
- Gilly for VVS
- KP for the Wall
- Paaji for Bhajji (even though Bhajji did it since Sachin was out due to injury the last time around)
- McCullum for Dada
One thing that stayed in line with expectations was the importance of an all rounder. This was illustrated in the match up between Kolkata and Deccan which staged quite a first in that it had or captains 2 players who were truly all rounders. McCullum and Gilchrist are each wicket-keeping batsmen, openers at that, AND captains of their respective star-studded teams.
It was quite intereting to note that South Africans refer to their kids who attend school as learners and not students. So even as Lalit Modi hands over a cheque for ZAR100,000 to a South African school and thier learners jump up in joy, one can't but wonder what the older but equally keen and astute learners of cricket will be learning from the benefit of their hindsight from the first IPL season. Those IPL "leader caps" might exchange very strange hands this time around.
The T20 format might not have too much of a history, but has enough for cliches to have come out already. "All it takes is one over for the match to turn completely" anyone?
Well, looks like all it takes is one season for some seasoned cricketers to turn their limited overs career around.
First there was the captain, then came the manager, then the "coach". Each with an increasingly lower shelf-life, maybe not individually but as a breed. Now walks in Andy Flower. The great lefty opener that he was, he opens once again for this new breed ... and guess what, it is from the left-field to boot! Trust the ECB to "innovate" yet again by creating the: "Team Director".
As if to confirm the warne-ing that It is already a cliche to call the coach a team-bus, the English cricket establishment has established yet another new post that their prima donna national players could have a beef with, although there seems to be enough "e-pinion" that suggests that the two men newly at the helm of the English team probably have more in common than, well, just being familiar with being at the top of the order in a lefty kind of way .. .and a first name.
You know what they say about e-pinions though (e-pinions are like blogs ... e-veryone has them!) and so does this one.
If one thought a coach was one too many, John Buchanan has taken off on a different tangent altogether by instituting the ploy of multiple captains for the Kolkata Knight Riders. Actually, if one were to pay a modicum of attention more than needed to the name of the franchise itself, one might immediately realize that in the fantasy world of Knight Riders, there has to be more than one knight! But the "real" world doesn't need more than one Knight to Ride a team if you were to believe this Gentleman
One of Sunny's ex-adversaries, Tony
, feels that the Andy-Andy combo might not be that handy if and when Strauss leaves the scene.
Regardless of how dandy things might be between the Andies, manager, coach, and team director all just seem to be euphemisms for a non-playing captain, and that is someone cricketers and captains just don't seem to want at all.
Which begs the question ... is the "Team Director" a new beginning for this non-playing captain or is this the beginning of the end for him?
A lot had been expressed about the supposed loss of luster of the Australian cricket stars ever since they were beaten by India in India last year.That is just another tribute to the dominance of the Australian cricket team over their counterparts who were reduced to part-counters by them during the past decade. All they have really lost in that period is the sense of invincibility. They have actually not lost too many matches and the ones they have only lost to South Africa and India. And not just ANY India or South Africa, at least in the case of India many are arguing, not without evidence, this is THE BEST Indian team to have ever played cricket!
So when Rhys Thompson "roars" in relief at the "resurgence" of the Australian team, one feels like pinching oneself and him.
Just when we thought the Australian Cricket team, the Goliath of all Australian sporting rep teams had met its own David, waiting for the killer blow, the beast has suddenly re-awakened.
But there are a few Australian cricketers to whom that word might suit much better individually. Soon after the mass exit of some of the Australian greats, various factors led to the exit of some who many thought would be counted among the greats by the time they hung their boots or cast their fishing rods for longer or strummed their guitars louder. Drum rolls please. Enter (or is it "Exit"): Brett Lee, Andrew Symonds, Stuart Clark, Shane Watson, Shaun Tait.
Of these, Binga is certain he belongs in the Australian Team, heck he demands it! The Australian Team Management seems to be certain this averment combines destructively with his aging (at least for a super-fast bowler) body resulting in average performances on the field. Roy, spurred by his agent, is bent upon averting another smash to his image. They will be hoping that it is not just the image that's below average for this otherwise fearsome competitor. "Sarfraz" , for his part, stayed true to that adage "If you love something, let it go and ...". Well, his average ODI overs have not stopped him from getting back into the side. And then there's Watto, Watto ... Watto! He must be wondering Whatto will ever bring him back from the sideline into that very side? In his case, his age might, in fact, be causing him an oppostie problem. His still-growing body a few years ago might have been put through too much resulting in a apge of injuries that possibly gave the Australian establishment that is always looking for stability, a very warm, fuzzy feeling in their collective stomachs. Tinga, who had started with a tingle in his stomach telling him he could be the next Binga, bowed himself out into the sidelineswhere he seems to linga.
All of these talented Ozzies seem to have suddenly seemed average to their national selection committee and at the same time the Australian team seems to be heading that way as well. Will their age, at least on the international cricket pitch, aver their returns to the national side? One can wait and see.
In the meanwhile, Younus Khan is lamenting the lack of Ricky, Mitch, and Mike in his opposing ranks because he feels his inexperienced side could learn a lot from them:
"When you play against the top players like Ponting, you learn different and good things"
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