It is that time of the year you know :-D The brainchild of Subhash Chandra of Essel Group / Zee, the 20-20 cricket in India has sky-rocketed in the last 5 years. It all started when he launched the India Cricket League (ICL) - challenging the BCCI. That he forced BCCI to think differently - was in itself a victory according to me. Hats off to those who have taken the initiative to change the market scenario. Welcome to the new millennium!
Here's what - as a die-hard cricket lover, I would like to see from this year's IPL
A few medium pace bowlers. Who can vary the pace. Bowl the yorkers. The slower ones. The leg cutters. The length balls. And the bouncers. Like Chris Harris and Gavin Larsen.
Some spinners succeeding - like Pragya Ojha did in the last version of the IPL. Bowling early on in the field restrictions. Stopping the runs and then picking up wickets. Choking the big hitters in the slog overs - the way Harbhajan Singh did in the Version 1.
Some fast bowlers consistently blocking the flow of runs in the last few overs. Like Umar Gul did in 2009 in South Africa.
Batsmen getting more innovative - like the Tilakaratne Dilshan scoop. Or the Kevin Pieterson switch hit.
A Jonty Rhodes - like live wire, picking up an extra wicket or two every game by virtue of brilliant anticipation, reflexes, movements, pick-ups and throw-downs.
A lot of new stars born - like Yousuf Pathan, Shuan Marsh, Dirk Nannes, Shane Watson, Manish Pandey
What a stunning fight back by the lower order SA batsmen in the 1st game! Truly remarkable... Never stop believing till the end. Always playing for a win. Never give up...
Double century for Sachin Tendulkar. Over hyped? I am not a fan of centuries and doubles. Buts hats off to the old man's fitness. 3 cheers!
Dhoni's batting in the 2nd ODI was really deadly. Hit flat sixes off the bottom hand. What strength, what eyes, what hands, WHAT A PLAYER!
It was nice to see Yousuf Pathan back in the thick of things. I really look forward to see him perform well. After all, he is Shane Warne's find!
In the 3rd match, nobody was interested. Even more proof of the fact that none of these 2 teams belong to the champions league like the Australians do. All were wanting to relax before the IPL
Why do all ODIs end up in more than 600 runs per day nowadays? Or more than 300 in an innings? I hate to say this.. But if this continues, I will loose interest in watching cricket. This is Bowlers' Mass Murder. Pull back the short boundaries. Resolve the due. Bring the back foot no ball rule back. ICC - are you listening?
Why is S. Sreesanth given an extended stay in the India Team? Does he have a god-father in the selection committee? Is Dhoni over-doing the risk? For the last so many matches, he has turned out to be the most expensive bowler in the team! Just sack him.
Why was a potential all-rounder like Abhishek Nayar dropped from the squad without giving him any chance to perform? Is that fair? Something evil cooking up in the selection process?
Once again, a marriage across generations. On one side, you had the fluent Laxman and on the other side, a brutal Dhoni. Let's compare their style a bit
VVS Laxman is for a purist. Elegant, beauty to watch him bat, correct technique, minimum efforts for the maximum results, superb timing, accurate placement. Great efficiency while batting. Very patient. E.g. he played 6-7 overs without a run on this day. Hardly ever plays a shot in anger.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Backhand specialist. Hits every shot - even a single with a lot of power. Belongs to the Symonds, KP, Polard, Gilchrist generation. Great personality and charm. Outgoing, outspoken and successful
South African agony was increased after they put down the catches. Catches Win Matches. & Drops Loose Matches. What a good prrof of that in the whole series.
Why on the earth did Mahendra Singh Dhoni - the India captain, send a night watchman? I am never a fan of those. Its a sign of fear and flawed logic. If Dhoni can't stay for long at the crease, how can some worse batter do it?
The South African bowling attack was really shattered today. Sehwag toyed with them. And Sachin dismantled them slowly. What a pair!
Wayne Parnell does not deserve a place in this team. Maybe the old war-horse Mkhaya Ntini will replace him in future series
What a waste of opportunity by M. Vijay and Subramaniam Badrinath! Suddenly, the future Indian batting generation looks weak again
Should India not win this match from this point, they would deserve a fast dropdown from rankings. The match is now perfectly setup for a clinical finish for them. Will they have the killer punch? The knock-out strength?
Or will the coming-back-from-behind champion attitude be demonstrated by the champion Test cricket team - The Proteas?
Sehwag and Gambhir took some really awesome singles in the morning. That's the key to their success, I think. What an anti climax that their stand had to be broken by a run-out!
Great crowd at the Eden Gardens, Kolkatta. Way to go...
Why did Pieterson come in as an opener when Aswell Prince was in the line up? It proves that Prince is the non-preferred opener. Not good for the team balance.
One of the most famous turnarounds. 8 wickets in 50 runs! No wonder that they call this team Chockers :-)
Talking about Bunnies of opener captains, Graeme Smith is the biggest bunny that I can remember. More than Darryl Cullinan of Shane Warne. Hats of to ZAKS.
Zaheer Khan, match after match, looks like a better and better bowler. OLD WINE :-) Much like Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, Javagal Srinath. Very un-like Anil Kumble :-)
Harbhajan Singh also keeps making comebacks. Another great bowler in the team
India still miss an all-rounder. Even he is a national level and not international class, he must be given a chance in Tests. Candidates? Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Yousuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayar. Anyone else? I always believe in Long Term Vs. Short and Higher Risks for Higher Returns. Got to make the difficult choice sometimes. I am hugely disappointed that Dhoni has not tried it yet.
Hats off to Ishant Sharma for being the rawdy fast bowler that every good team so desperately needs
Is Amit Mishra good enough to deserve so many chances in Tests? Or are there no other good enough spinners in India anymore? Why not Ramesh Powar?
Comments: - Only one team played like Champions and deserved to be one. - The all rounder question has come back to haunt India again. - Dhoni has lost a game. And has fortunately not given any excuses. - Selectors have admitted a mistake and have now moved on. - If Dinesh Karthick has been selected now, in the 2nd Test, then why was he not selected in the First? - Sreesanth is back in the Indian cricket team - despite doing nothing of note in the last 2 months! Inexplicable! - Why is Yousuf Pathan not in the team? - Only two players from India had the fire in the belly to reach 3 figures. Sehwag & Sachin. But they both got out after reaching 100. Whereas the 2 centurions from South Africa made it big - and that was the difference in the two teams. - What type of pitch will it be? Minefield? Dead rubber? Even? Or a fast one! - If this does not motivate the India Cricket Test team, then nothing else can. 0-1 down. Test championship up for grabs. Home record on the brink of collapsing. It is NOW or NEVER.
Sehwag deserves to be a strong contender for the player of the last decade. More on that later, in some other blog post.
Dale Steyn is the best bowler in the world at the moment. Hands Down.
Golden Words: Getting out caught behind the stumps is always less embarrassing than getting bowled - leaving the ball.
The worst way to end the day for the ever so successful Sehwag is to send him to the face the press when all others in the team are too ashamed to face them.
What is the worst quote of the year (already!)? "I was trying to smell the ball - that's why I bit it". Second worst: "The new ball was very helpful. It started to suddenly move around. The seam came off and then it swung like hell" from Dayle Steyn. Why on the earth would you say such thing when you have taken 8 wickets in a day? Can someone coach them Media Management? Not to reveal all the secrets?
Not that the NEW-BALL episode is a controversy yet, but where are all the rules? And the rule makers? And the Ball Makers? Why do you need to change the ball every so often? Why is a replacement ball so different than the routine ball, that it can change the course of the match/series?
Can India save this yet? Yes they can. Will they save this one? They might.
Can India win this yet? They have, in the past. They still can. But they may not... Based on first 3 days, they don't deserve to!
What do champion teams do when they are down and out? They gather all their reserve energies, dig deep and bounce back. Is India a Champion team? Will their 9 batsmen play out then (minimum) 9 to 10 hours? . . .
Who selects the playing 11 for India? Selection panel / team management (including captain Dhoni, Coach Kirsten and Vice captain Sehwag)?
The bowlers did not bowl good enough to get 10 wickets. But did they disappoint? Were they BAD? Even on the 2nd day, at least 2 chances were dropped, one plumb LBW missed. Its all so pathetic. India's fielding has plummeted in the recent past. They deserve a kick from the board (and by they, I also mean the coaches)
Has Sachin stopped bowling? Why?
Kallis was too slow. Looks like he was shooting for a draw instead of going for the kill. 3 runs or so per over is so 1990's! I feel that it is this difference between South Africa and other good teams (sometimes India and Australia) that becomes a hurdle in their way of becoming champions. Lack of Knockout Punch
Where has the Active Sports option in DTH gone? Tata Sky, are you listening?
AB Devilliers looks like the next star for South Africa. After JP Duminy has failed after achieving the stardom. ABD showed great attitude today, I think he can become a future captain.
- World No 1 Vs. World No 2 - Best opening new ball pair vs. Best openers in the last few years - Two very good, smart, successful and young captains against each other
What a mouth watering contest!
My prediction: I think with Dravid out and with a struggling bowling unit (except Zaks) India will find it tough to beat South Africa. They will concentrate all energies against India after England, Arthur Gate and Board craziness. Their team looks fit and raring to go - with a good mix of youth and experience.
If India do manage to beat them, though, they will deserve the tag of Champions!