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DLF IPL hangover is a pleasant one
by Sunil Gavaskar
Jun 14, 2008
DLF IPL hangover is a pleasant one - Sunil Gavaskar

The Sunil Gavaskar Column

The DLF Indian Premier League is over but the discussion about it is still going on despite there being a Tri Series between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. There is also a Test series on between Australia and the West Indies and a Test series played between England and New Zealand which was won easily by hosts, England.

Somehow still the talk veers around to the IPL and what Dhoni could have done or what Shane Warne did and where this team went wrong and where that team could have done better. It's a hangover which is not an ache but a pleasant feeling. The hangover also can be seen on the field of play where India's batsmen went berserk as if they were playing in a Twenty20 match and notched up a 300 plus total with ease against a Pakistan side. Of course the Pakistanis can say that they were without Asif who is under detention in Dubai but as was seen in the IPL, even he wouldn't have been able to do much to stop the flow of runs. Sehwag coming back in the playing eleven after Tendulkar pulled out was the one to benefit. He has got such a repertoire of audacious shots that the 20 overs game seems too short for him to exhibit them all. He also falls in the 50 overs format trying to score too many too soon. Once he gets the balance right then he can swing the game in his side's favour and he did that along with his trusted partner, Gautam Gambhir, who is going from strength to strength and his consistency means that those following him are under little or no pressure at all. By the time this appears in print you will know if Pakistan have found an effective tactic to stop the Indian batsmen or not.

If they do that then it will be a feather in the cap of their coach, Geoff Lawson who is finding out that it is not easy to coach in the sub continent. He has not helped his cause by giving interviews to Australian papers, who have only one way to look at things in the sub continent and that is in a derisive manner, unless, of course, there is money to be made when suddenly all the so called faults of the region are forgotten for the period that money is to be made. To be fair, the answers also depend on the line of questioning but here again the replies are given for the readership of the paper forgetting that in today's internet age the interview or comments can be seen in a jiffy anywhere in the world. The papers are also interested in protecting the coach and so will ask queries which gives the coach the chance to shift the blame somewhere else to some typical perceived faults of the sub continent. The stereotype has to continue even if it means the truth be damned. Why, even if it's a news item about the entertainment industry, the reference has to be to the sub continent when it is supposed to signify something wrong or bad. Not too long ago, the Australian troops in Iraq were entertained by an Australian group and in a secret report which was somehow leaked to the media, one artiste was reported to have had a romp with the troops. Now that is all okay but to refer to that artiste as a bollywood star was taking it to an extreme. Yes, maybe the artiste had a bit part in a movie and was what the Indian film industry used to call an 'extra' or the more correct political term now, a junior artiste but the nationality was Australian and the person was more known for appearing on Australian TV rather than Indian movies. So why refer to that person as from bollywood unless it is to try and belittle the Indian film industry. By the way, do all these overseas performers have valid work permits in India or not?

What the DLF IPL did was to debunk some myths and the biggest of them all was about the infallibility of the Australian coaches. Shane Warne has gone on record a record number of times that coaches are not needed at the international level and maybe that is why he was so keen to lead from the front and show that without a coach his team could win the DLF IPL even though they were not given much of a chance by the experts. His team was without any superstars, apart from himself and also had been the least expensive of the franchises so they were not taken seriously at the start of the tournament where the focus was on the expensive teams and the big name players. He had also said pointedly at media conferences that his team uses brains and not computers in an obvious reference to the coach who made the use of the laptop as his usp. None of the Australian coaches or the highly paid consultants and advisors could do anything to help their teams once again emphasizing that in a Twenty20 game tactics are of little use. One consultant who had a cushy contract which let him fly in and out of India came down for the semi finals and after the game when his team was mourning he was having a laugh and a drink with officials from his country probably telling them what suckers he had made out of the franchise owners with his deal of flying in and out for a few days for his 'consultancy.' The franchise owners are not fools and unless they have an inferiority complex will soon be issuing pink notices to most if not all these freeloaders masquerading as consultants or cricket officers or some such fancy designations. What teams need above all else is a good fielding unit, for every run saved is a run scored and top fitness so that even in the final overs a batsman can run twos and threes and still have the strength to hit the last ball over the ropes. A top fielding coach and a great fitness trainer is all that is needed and also a manager who will not be afraid to wield the stick as far as team discipline is concerned. Not only will this trim the squad but also ensure that there is no confusion about job responsibility and make for a far more efficient working environment for all.

The ball is now in the franchise owners court.

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