Chennai is on a losing streak. Three matches lost and the team has some big problems. The auctions left them with a situation where 3 key players won them 4 games and just left. Of the replacements only Albie Morkel has more than justified his position and worth to the team. So what can Dhoni do to revive his team’s fortunes.
1. Drop Parthiv for a game. The guy has scored 96 runs in 7 matches and this is simply not good enough. Either get the dasher Aniruddha to open or bringing in the rookie Abhinav Mukund, who atleast is a specialist opener. Definitely persist with Fleming at the top.
2. Get Raina or Badrinath in at no 3. This floater no 3 is not working. Raina has shown promise and if he comes in early he can get a few balls to settle. Badrinath is also a technically correct batsman who can come in at 3. Either way I think numbers 3 and 4 should be Raina & Badrinath in any order.
3. Dhoni has to come in at 5. That is his best spot in the batting order.
My batting order for today’s game Fleming, Aniruddha, Badrinath, Raina, Dhoni, Vidyut, Morkel, Joginder, Gony, Ntini, Muralitharan.
Initial reactions in India towards the IPL has always centred around how much money each one is getting. This is probably the frist time when main stream celebrities are having their personal finances dicusdiscussedublic. Yes we have heard reports in the past of Chiranjeevi or Rajanikanth getting paid so much. We have read about the deals Sachin signed when he had just arrived on the scene. But financial arrangements have never attracted as much publicity and media attention as did the player auctions of the IPL. For people outside India flipping through magazines or watching news channels always threw up reports of financial deals struck by a motley assortment of celebrities like sportspersons, film stars, tv stars, musicians signing with record labels, models, fashion designers etc. any successful human being will immediately have his financial deals discussed in public.
But the situation has never been like this in India. So when the IPL auctions created a huge media hype about the money being doled out. A lot of people found the whole process disgusting! After the first round of matches were played the questions came back to money. What did Symonds do after the first 2 games? Look at the money they paid him? Of course Symonds is a hard nosed professional and he came back to form in true style with a fine hundred last night only to be confronted by Ian Bishop with question “That’s why they paid big bucks for you.” Is it just the money that you can see? Is it not professionalism, pride, skill, and a host of other things that make a player perform???
Look at the way the international stars have performed. People who have watched county cricket in England know what I am talking about. These players can join any team and do their job just as well as they did it for their country. Of course playing for their own country is not the same thing but when playing as a professional, they do not in any way underperform. Let us enjoy the matches and celebrate the performance of the players and stop cribbing about the bucks!
Kings vs Super Kings
The first game of the night saw two teams with similar sounding names compete – The Chennai “Super Kings” took on the “Kings” XI Punjab. One was lead by the captain of the World cup winning T20 team, and the other was lead by the vice-captain. After the inaugural game between Bangalore and Kolkata, it seemed 222 in twenty overs was going to be hard to beat, and yet Chennai managed to score 240 without breaking a sweat. Punjab stayed in the game a lot longer than the what the final score shows – ending up with a score of 207.
Daredevils vs Royals
Finally a low scoring game. But it was only because Jaipur failed with the bat. The Jaipur Royals look like one of the weakest teams in the tournament at the moment. The match saw the return of Shane Warne and Glen McGrath – one of the deadliest bowling combinations in the world. But this time, they bowled for opposing teams.
The game ended up being one sided with Delhi easily overhauling the score with about 5 overs to spare.
There were 9 Aussies playing last night and some of their performances stood out – Hussey was brilliant and McGrath looked as if he never stopped playing. Hopes was outstanding with the bat, but took a stick while bowling. Some of the others weren’t bad either – Hayden chipped in with a quick fire 25 and Shane Watson scored 21 before he was run out.
Hussey outdoes McCullum
McCullum’s innings in the first match was a one-off innings. A hundred in 53 balls would be hard to beat. Or so we thought. Hussey outdid that with a hundred of just 50 balls! And if he had come in to bat any earlier, he would have even beaten McCullum’s score. The main difference between Kolkatta’s innings and Chennai’s innings was that, the partnerships weren’t one sided. Raina and Badrinath in particular looked impressive with scores of 32 and 31* scoring a tad faster than Hussey.
Chennai takes on Punjab in its opening game today. Am all keyed up. The previews highlight the fact that Chennai is batting heavy while Punjab is the bowling team to watch. Am not comfortable with 2 wicketkeepers playing but if Dhoni is not fit enough to keep what the heck! Watch out for a couple of overs of tight off spin from Badrinath. If Hayden clicks early then we should canter home.
If anyone believed that the IPL and the “Cricket ka Karmayudh” was all hype and nothing else, then all they had to do was watch the inaugural game between the Kolkatta Knight Riders and the Bangalore Royal Challengers to see how wrong they were. And why wouldn’t it be a big success? Throw in a lot of money, bring in the best players, and play the most entertaining format of the game in front of a cricket crazy crowd and you just can’t go wrong.
The Inaugural game
Granted, the names of some of the teams in the IPL sound a bit corny and the inaugural game itself was one sided, but what a game it was.
In just the first game, McCullum broke the record for the highest individual score in the game’s short history with a score of 158*. And when Ishant Sharma, the new Indian bowling sensation took out Rahul Dravid’s stump with his first ball, any “challenge” the Royal Challengers had left wilted away.
Cricket set for change
IMHO, the tournament itself is going to change the way cricket is played across the world. Test cricket may not be under threat from T20 cricket, but I feel that One Day cricket is under serious threat. Why would you want to play 50 over a side game, when you can get much better entertainment value playing just 20 overs a side? I asked the same question after the success of the T20 World cup and I am asking the question again – Why would you want to continue playing One day cricket? It is only a matter of time, when the 50 over game is relegated to just 1 or 2 matches in a series.
It is still early days for the tournament and I am sure people across India are still trying to chose their favourite stars and teams. I for one, am still undecided. I naturally gravitate towards the Chennai Superstars, as Chennai is where I grew up. But sometimes, where you live may not decide which team you root for. Have any of you decided which team you are going to support?
Due to all the hoopla surrounding the BCCI/ICL/IPL controversy, I decided to check out the ICL games. I paid $10 to watch the games on the internet via Willow TV. I can tell you with great relief and confidence that the entire ICL set up and the games are no greater than the club games that I tend to dabble with in a place like Toronto. The ICL teams have age-old pensioners, losers, and very ordinary cricketers egged on in an artificial surroundings by big sounding names in the commentary team and coaching line-ups who are probably there more to ogle and flirt with the belly dancers from bollywood and the money that comes with it. The commentary team including tape recordings of Tony Greig and Dean Jones (I was reminded of a cricket video game that I used to play that had Richie Benaud’s background commentary that repeated itself), big time flirts like Mike Whitney and money grabbers like Barry Richards and Pat Symcox.
Now to the games themselves, boy were they ordinary! I was briefly impressed by a couple of Indian players like Abbas Ali, Thiru Kumaran, Mishra and S T Binny but only for fleeting moments. The imports clearly came for the money, yeah, there were big sixes by the likes of Cairns, Kemp et al but that’s not unusual for club cricket. My point of this is that I simply saw no reason why BCCI even feels threatened by this set up. I say that they should just let go, not ban these players (please don’t expect me to believe that somehow Thiru Kumaran is going to make it to an Indian lineup suddenly), and just plain ignore the whole set up. ICL is going to fold up and die a natural death once IPL takes over. There is simply no competition. As Bharath quoted sometime back, what was Lara thinking???
The ICl trivialities aside, I can’t wait for the test matches to begin once again. Hoping for a great beginning in Chennai and wishing for the weather to play good sport through the game. We need an uninterrupted supply of test cricket, something that has been rareity in Chennai these days!
The two greatest rationale and philosophy of our times, capitalism and democracy, are based on the idea that individuals, through their actions based on self-interest, will drive forces towards the most beneficial state for inviduals and/or society as a whole. In extending this thinking to the cricketing field and the current controversy over sledging, is it not best that the cricketers themselves decide what is acceptable and not acceptable to them, through their actions on the field, instead of expecting an external body such as ICC to define it for them? This thinking takes the exterme opposite view of what Harsha Bhogle tries to recommend in his article in The Times of India.
My sincere opinion is that cricketers should be allowed to use sledging, without any constraints, irrespective of how offensive it is. Most people take offense because they might feel ill-equipped in the approved forms of retaliation. In the newly recommended open environment, one can use whatever means one has, to retaliate. In a bizzare way, nothing will eventually be offensive to anyone, since its free for all. I look at it as a positive development in line with the ongoing changes that cricket has embraced in Twenty20, IPL and Technology.
Also, with every control that has been vested in the hands of the ICC, there have been perceptions of inconsistency and impotence felt by stakeholders of the game across the globe. In the interests of the game and a practical step forward, I feel its best that the players are let loose on each other in the center, so that the public is relieved of the after shocks. This brings to an abrupt end, months of debate and platitudes over whether someone or some society is racist or not, whether a certain person was as severely punished as another etc. I am positive that with each sledging act in the field, players will yell the choicest of abuses at each other without any interruptions from any players or officials, and when the energies are exhausted in that act, each will take their stance to bat or bowl or field the next ball and the game will move on.
Posted in Cricket, Fans, Harsha Bhogle, ICC, IPL, Match Referee, News, ODI, Racism, Sledging, Test cricket, Uncategorized