Indian Premier League—Team Reviews

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With nearly one third of the IPL games over, it was time that I thought I wrote little reviews/assessments of the individual franchises. Though Twenty20 appears at first sight to be a game of brainless slam-bam, a second and a third look reveals that there is strategy, team-building, intense professional pride and more than a bit of character and man-management at play. Not to speak of booty shakes, pompoms, hugs and slaps.

[Warning: Long post]

Chennai Super Kings: Having gone for team balance with an eclectic mix of superstar foreign players in both the batting as well as in the bowling department, Chennai Super Kings are deservedly at the top of the table and are clearly the title favoritea.

With an uber-attacker in Hayden, a solidly spectacular presence in Michael Hussey, a reliable batting backup in Stephen Fleming (retired and hence guaranteed to play for the entire season) to exciting all rounders like Jacob Oram and Albie Morkel (dubbed the new Klusener), a tearaway (Ntini) and the greatest off-spinner of all time (Murali), Chennai Super Kings are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing foreign imports for their team.

However formidable that roster may be, Chennai’s actual strength comes from its Indian personnel —three reliable T20 batsmen in Parthiv, Raina and Badrinath forming their batting core. Not to speak of the most potent weapon of them all: Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Here is a man who understands the T20 game like no other, makes excellent spot decisions, stays cool and agile, and most importantly does not let his batting or glovework suffer due to captaincy. Unlike some “icon” players who have been automatically foisted upon their franchises as captains without having proven themselves first in the format and consequently have embarrassingly underperformed, Dhoni (he officially is not an “icon” player) has, so far, led from the front. This will make it much easier for him to command respect and admiration, especially in not-so-favorable times when tough decisions need to be taken.

Standout Performer: A tie between Michael Hussey and Matthew Hayden. While the former, smarting from being being valued less than his less illustrious brother, showed who is the real champion Hayden has demonstrated once again that he dominates Indian conditions like no other. Given that, it is expected that the departure of these two stellar performers as well Jacob Oram will hit Chennai hit. Not that it doesn’t have players who can step up in their stead.

Weakest Links: If Chennai has a consistent weakness, it is their roster of rather lightweight Indian bowlers. However with Manpreet Gony emerging as an effective presence with the ball, the most jarring part of a Chennai performance is listening to Srikkanth, in the commentary box, saying in his Hindi “Don ko pakarna muskhil he naheen na mumkin hain.”

Delhi Daredevils: India’s historical strength has been its batting. In contrast, our bowling has been like Mithun-da’s sister—easy prey for evil predatory opposition. Given this state of affairs, one way of creating a powerful Twenty20 franchise is to assemble a strong core of young, athletic and aggressive Indian batsmen. This “Indianness” is important because 1) unlike foreign imports, there are no numerical restrictions on them in a team (only four foreign players can be present in a playing XI) and 2) during the tournament, Indian players will not be called away to honor international commitments. This means that the batting core of the team (and consequently the batting line-up) will remain constant throughout the season, without the captain having to worry about international players joining and leaving. In an overwhelmingly batsman-dominated game like T20, the importance of a fixed batting line-up and the consequent determinacy in the roles that different batsmen play in the overall scheme of things cannot be overlooked.

Delhi Daredevils have built their team on this philosophy. Consisting of a powerful “made in India” batting core of Sehwag (India’s most destructive batsman), Gambhir (India’s best T20 batsman), Dhawan, Tiwari and Dinesh Kartik, it leaves Delhi free to use the foreign quota almost entirely in the bowling department —McGrath, Asif, Maharoof and Vettori being four champion performers in the ranks who can be simultaneously deployed if needed, without having to worry about cutting back on batting power.

Of course this means that the Daredevil’s bowling line-up is susceptible to “player flight” but with McGrath a retiree and the other three bowlers from three different countries, chances are high that all three of them will not be absent at the same time. However the support cast of bowlers that will be exposed once any two of Asif, Maharoof and Vettori leave may be a serious chink in the Daredevil’s armor.

It is to be noted that the Daredevils have not let their batting line-up go unbuttressed. With Shoaib Malik, Dilshan and A B De Villiers (all “export quality” Twenty20 players without the trappings of superstardom and the price tag that comes with it) imported from outside, they have a strategic bank of batsmen whom they can use effectively as needed, but whose presence the team is not inordinately dependent on.

Standout Performer: With due respect to Sehwag and Gambhir’s destructive batting and Dhawan and Mahroof’s consistency, the standout performer so far has been McGrath. Resembling a mean-spirited Swiss matchmaker, he has bowled with inhuman precision and with subtle variations, grumbling away to himself endearingly when, once in a while, he has been hit for a boundary. Perfection, as they say, is ageless.

Weakest Links: Akshay Kumar as brand ambassador making benign stunts appear “dare devil”. The supposedly “spectacular” team unveiling where the players are choreographed standing with their backs to the audience, apparently peeing on the wall in a team building exercise, while Akshay Kumar shadow-bats. [Video]

Lame. Very lame.

Rajasthan Royals: In sports, everybody loves an underdog story. I wonder who is writing the script for Rajasthan Royals. Apparently the weakest team on paper, this franchise through sheer perseverance, team spirit and a never-say-die attitude has captured the attention and loyalty of most of the “undecided” IPL fans.

Like the protagonists of most underdog sports stories, the Royals started with an embarrassing drubbing. A clearly match-unfit, pot-bellied Darren Lehman ambling about the field was emblematic of the Royals’ team problems and captain Shane Warne also put in a listless performance, as if he was on a date with his wife. Things turned around in the second match however with Warne putting in a devilishly crafty performance, looking as robust as enthused as if on the way to a threesome with two fetching models. Passed over for the captaincy of Australia due to his penchant for controversy, Warne seems intent on showing to his doubters what Australia has missed. Whether it be taking caught and bowleds or hitting two amazing sixes off Symonds in the last over to bring off an almost impossible win against a far superior team or simply lifting the gigantic Yousuf Pathan after a post-victory huddle, Shane Warne has been a fireball of energy and inspiration. He has got able support from Shane Watson, Yousuf Pathan and old Warne rival Graeme Smith as well as little-known names like Under 19 Ravindra Jadeja who in a course of a pulse-racing cameo got spectacularly stuck into Brett Lee.

Another big plus for the Royals is that, from what I understand, they have no players from the current Australian, New Zealand or West Indies squad and hence will not lose any players in the coming weeks due to international commitments.

Standout Performer: Shane Warne. And Ila Arun for her “Ar har har” Rajasthan Royals theme song which, in its supreme irritation-inducing ability, must be getting on the opponent’s nerves as it is played between overs.

Weakest Links: Mohammed Kaif, an expensive buy, has been a gigantic disappointment so far. And one must never forget that not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Deccan Chargers: What could be wrong with an army that has Gilchrist (available throughout the season), Afridi, Symonds, Gibbs, Rohit Sharma and VVS Laxman in its cavalry and a “made for T20 player” like Scott Styris (also a retiree and available throughout the season) as backup?

Plenty. That is if the performance of the Deccan Chargers in the initial exchanges are to be believed. The problem with the Chargers has been their total lack of team balance. Taking the axiom “T20 is a batsman’s game” to an unreasonable extreme, their almost single-minded focus has been to pack their squad with the most destructive batsmen that money can buy. In the process, they have woefully neglected investing in a varied bowling attack to the point that an inordinate amount of faith had been put in the bowling talents of their most prized acquisition, Symonds (that too at the death of an innings) —an expectation Symonds has, to put it mildly, found tough to live up to.

What this lack of balance additionally has done is put an enormous amount of pressure on the batting. In order for the Chargers to win, their batting stars need to put in superhuman performances (like Gilchrist did in the game against the Mumbai Indians) to cover up for their lack of bowling prowess. While it has to be said that the batting lineup is powerful enough to consistently muscle all opposition, against the really well-balanced teams on the days that none of the batting stars put in a defining performance, Deccan Chargers may have more than a bit of a problem.

Standout Performer: Symonds with the bat. And Gilchrist against Mumbai.

Weakest Links: Symonds with the ball. I will accept that the sight of Symond’s face after he was taken apart by Sehwag and then Warne was…for the want to a better phrase…mighty pleasing.

Kings XI Punjab: A squad well-balanced in every respect, with an almost ideal mix of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders ,both Indian and foreign, (not to speak of modern cricket’s best brain—Sangakara ) Kings XI Punjab have made fairly heavy weather of their initial games. While much of it has been because of bad luck and the random nature of the competition, some of it may have been due to management decisions that negatively affected team morale and unity.

When the rumor started circulating that franchise owner Priety Zinta was reserving her post-match hugs for superstars like Brett Lee, depriving the lesser lights from a chestlock, my first reaction was a “What will people think of next!” ( Related trivia: Ms. Zinta had previously accused Shiney Ahuja of hugging her too hard during the shooting of a film) While this may be true (or not) and in any case Priety Zinta has ever right to be selective in distributing her jadoo ki jhappis, the story had a subtext of discrimination between the “elite players” and the others.

Then the second story, more believable, broke. It seems that the entire team had initially been lodged in the swanky Taj in Mohali. However when Priety Zinta’s star friends came a-visiting, she made a part of the squad (the less privileged ones including promising Punjab player Gagandeep Singh) move out of the hotel into “bargain-basement” accommodation. Ms. Zinta then issued a denial saying that none of the “real” players were moved, but yes some “trainees” had indeed been relocated.

However I am sure that Ms. Zinta has since realized the error of her ways and as of the last match, it was reported that Priety was spreading her hugs more democratically. [Now this is where she is so different from SRK, he would never have to be told explicitly to hug every player of his team.] Whether that translates into more consistent performances for the Kings XI however remains to be seen.

Standout Performer: Not surprisingly, it has been Brett Lee.

Weakest Links: Sreesanth who again, not surprisingly, substituted performance for unprovoked snarling and abusing —targeting Yousuf Pathan and Kamran Akmal. Bullies are usually the biggest cowards themselves and this was proven once again as Sreesanth started crying like a baby, once he got slapped around by an even bigger bully.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Korbo, Lorbo, Jitbo has at the time of writing become a “Amader daabi maante hobe” (Our demands must be met —a favorite slogan of Bengal’s militant workforce) as the much-touted Knight Riders have magically morphed, perhaps imbibing some of the local oxygen, into a CITU (the Communist trade union’s) committee of disgruntled laborers for whom performance is a 4-letter word.

When the team for the Knight Riders was announced, I wrote an angry post that lampooned Shahrukh Khan and the squad selection hinting that there may be non-cricketing reasons at play for this assemblage of players. Now I provide a rationale for my initial pessimism.

First of all, the geniuses at the Knight Riders paid good legal tender to buy Shoaib Akthar. Cricketingwise, the decision made no sense— Shoaib is in the twilight of his career and his stubborn refusal to bowl anything but express pace to satisfy his own ego makes no T20 sense on Indian pitches. Most importantly, when one is trying to build a team out of people who have never played before, having someone as arrogant, unpredictable, violent and so-full-of-himself as Akthar was a recipe for disaster.

In perhaps the only good break Shahrukh Khan got, Shoaib was banned in the process doing the franchise a gigantic favor.

And that was not the only bad decision. While building up a corpus of players, the Knight Riders have created a core of Indian bowlers (Ishant, Agarkar, Murali Kartik) and then relied almost exclusively on foreign imports for their batting backbone. In other words, the exact opposite principle to the one followed by the Delhi Daredevils. While Ishant is a great person to have in your team and Murali Kartik (who ranks after Kumble, Harbhajan and Piyush Chawla in the list of Indian spinners) a debatable presence, paying anything above Rs 101 to get Agarkar, inconsistent at best and execrable at worst, makes no sense.

Whatsoever.

An even bigger mistake was that the administration did not pursue a single top Indian T20 batsman. [Cheteshwara Pujara, Yashpal Sharma and Akash Chopra are, on current reputation, not a patch on Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa, Gautam Gambhir or even Tiwari, Parthiv, Yousuf Pathan and Raina.] Instead, foreign players with questionable T20 credentials like Taibu and Mr. Butt were brought in.

Then of course, SRK had more than a slice of rotten luck , perhaps God compensating for the largesses heaped upon the Khan throughout his life.

Gayle got injured.

Ricky Ponting (or as he is now known, Kaliyug Ka Manoj Kumar as captured in the picture on the left in an “India” T-shirt —courtesy The Telegraph), less worried about his own form and more concerned about how low his compensation was, went on to show how vastly overvalued he really was—-on the strength of his performances, he wasn’t even worth the price of an extra for one hour’s work in a Sukhen Das flick.

McCullum played one innings of stupendous worth and then fell away, being pretty ordinary behind the stumps too.

David Hussey showed why he will always remain on the fringes and never be a spot on his brother, Michael.

Mohammed Hafeez flattered to deceive.

And Sourav Ganguly–we shall talk about him later.

Will buying another “never quite there” player like Brad Hodge help? Your guess is as good as mine.

It’s not that the Knightriders don’t have the muscle to go the full distance. With the fringe players performing out of their skins, all that is needed are the premium players to step up to the plate. But that alas has not been happening.

Standout Performer: Who would have thought that in a team comprising of “mega-stars” , the standout performers would be local catchment players—-people who I presume have been bought for the least amount. I am talking about Wriddhiman Saha, Laxmiratan Shukla, Debabrata Das and A B Dinda who have each played many levels above themselves showing a lot of character while the well-paid fatcats have been content to clap hands, shout encouragements and under-perform.

Weakest Links: The obvious answer would be Ricky “the smartass” Ponting. But the real weak link, in my opinion, has regrettably been Dada. Occupying key batting positions, he has neither succeeded in anchoring the innings and rotating the strike nor in playing breezy cameos. The contrast in his performances with those of other captains like Yuvraj, Sehwag and Dhoni do tell a story.

To be honest, Ganguly’s performance so far has been an embarrassment. And I say this as a long time fan.

Bangalore Royal Challengers: The second most expensive franchise in the league, Bangalore Royal Challengers problems began the day Rahul Dravid, their icon player, based his squad selection on the principle of “A good Test player can play any version of the game” creating a line-up of stodgy, joyless, technically correct, emotionally mature batsmen for whom Twenty20 means 20 runs in 20 overs

Then in the second round of the draft, Vijay Mallaya himself stepped in supposedly and picked up some entertainers—some real T20 players like Misbah-Ul-Haq and the Royal Challengers added more than a modicum of respectability to their squad. Finally, in a desperate bid to spray yet another little bit of coolness to a very unexciting team, cheerleaders were imported all the way from Washington DC.

Straight away, these lissome lasses exhibited more bounce and bustle than the cricket players.

Watching the Bangalore Royal Challengers has been like drinking a Kingfisher beer that had gone flat. Sunil Joshi looks like he just came out from a geriatric care facility, Anil Kumble appeared bored and disinterested as he opened his IPL campaign with two cringeworthy longhops (each dispatched for four) and promptly landed on the bench in the next game, Dravid looks like he hasn’t been having good bowel movement for a few weeks now. Some of the selection decisions have also been totally senile—-like keeping Misbah-ul-Haq on the bench so that Kallis could play. This is all the pity because Bangalore has a fairly good line-up of bowlers, which would have been even better had Nathan Bracken being playing. Now if the batsmen could just give them a bit of support.

Standout Performer: Boucher in one game. And Wasim Jaffer in another. The very fact that Wasim Jaffer is one of your standout performers in a T20 game, puts the efficacy of rest of the lineup in perspective.

Weakest Link: Rahul Dravid. Stagnant at the top for the first few games, against Chennai he tried to hide himself at the bottom. No luck, as even here he got out first ball.

Mumbai Indians : The most expensive franchise of the IPL, it had , till the match against Kolkata, become the “RGV Ki Aag” of all IPL teams—a total train wreck. With the main headliner yet to make an appearance, the stand-in captain banned for the rest of the tournament for slapping an opponent, their hapless coach unfairly fined 50% of his match fees for not stepping in between the slapper and the slapee and the team at the bottom of the table, the only good thing the Mumbai team had going for them was that they still had not played the Knight Riders.

Noone knows who exactly made the decisions when it came to selecting players for the franchise but when one sees Ashish Nehra, long forgotten fast bowler who would, on current form, struggle to make an India B team, spearheading the attack you have to wonder “What were they thinking?” Of course the problem began when Harbhajan Singh was bought at a price way higher than what he deserved, money that could have been better spent on a couple of international quality pace bowlers.

The marquee pair of Sachin and Sanath is undoubtedly a dream pairing—but only if you are stuck in a time bubble in the mid and late 90s. Shaun Pollock still has it in him to lead from the front but he needs support from Uthappa, Nayar and Bravo, a late purchase who has been worth his weight in gold.

Standout Performer: Robin Uthappa has looked solid in most of Mumbai’s encounters. Against Kolkata, his partnership with Bravo was a critical performance under pressure—-the kind that makes a team believe in itself once again.

Weakest Link: Ashish Nehra and Luke Ronchi. The second has been dropped and the first one —I don’t think we will be seeing no more.

And that concludes the team reviews.

Of course such is the nature of the T20 game that the mighty can stumble, all cricketing logic can be thrown to the wolves, Dravid can blast a 50 ball hundred, Dada can have a 200 strike rate, Shahrukh Khan can hire the female Shoaib Akthar Urooj Mumtaz to give the side a lift, Priety Zinta’s hugs can work wonders (as Sivaramakrishnan, the great sage, said of T20 ” It’s a hard man’s game —that’s why it is professional), Deccan Chargers can break all conceivable T20 batting records, the form book can radically change and the cheerleaders can revert to their original attire.

I, for one, will be hoping that all this happens.

For entertainment’s sake.

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87 thoughts on “Indian Premier League—Team Reviews

  1. “our bowling has been like Mithun-da’s sister—easy prey for evil predatory opposition”.

    @ Arnab
    hehehehe

    Its true, Dhoni has proven again why he deserves to lead India in the sorter versions

  2. Great reviews. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is truly the man. The alpha-male of Indian cricket. He knows how to go out there and win. And only win.

    The big guns have failed. Ponting, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman and so many others.

    Rajasthan have been very impressive really, along with Delhi. Shane Warne seems to be playing with a passion that was only visible during his peak years with Australia. Like Rajasthan is his spiritual home.

    At this stage I’d pray for a Chennai vs. Delhi/Rajasthan final. These three teams seem very keen on winning the league.

    The intensity of the league has been amazing. Unexpected too. They are playing for their life, really. The controversies, equally at par.

    It’s a success, undoubtedly. But what else can you expect. The best in the world, grouped against each other.

  3. Agree with almost everything you have written. While the big names have scored runs, I am very impressed with the Rainas, Nayars, Trivedis, Shuklas, Dindas and Gonys. I think its great they get to play with experienced seniors, Indian and international, and learn a lot.

    I thought Kaif played very well in one of the innings and sort of won it for Rajasthan.

  4. Now dada, it has been a fairly long post and with some hilarious comments once again…my favs are “….Warne putting in a devilishly crafty performance, looking as robust as enthused as if on the way to a threesome with two fetching models” and “… become the “RGV Ki Aag” of all IPL teams—a total train wreck” …..Dada ek teer se do nishaane…ab ro RGV ko cchod do bechaara suicide kar lega ;-)…

    apart from those great lines your analysis was I must say complete and perfect. You explained the startegy of the teams very well….a great review for IPL…kudos to you

  5. Well Bangalore Chargers are busying “scoring” elsewhere, and perhaps have no real interest in the real score on the board now. That would explain it all wouldn’t it?

    I wonder how does the Royal challengers locker room talk looks like. Perhaps they are too busying comparing their “scores” i believe.

  6. Notice how most of the standout performers so far have been the limited foreign players, an mostly Aussies at that too…….

  7. Excellent post…very thorough analysis of each team…

    Players like ganguly, dravid, jaffer, laxman who are deemed not fit to be included in the indian team for regular 50-overs one day games are selected for T20 games is a big joke. Not only that, some are leading the teams and enjoying “iconic” status is beyond my understanding. Only reason i can think of is these players might be considered crowd-pullers in their respective cities – although i would doubt that would be the case for the players other than ganguly.

    And sunil joshi, nehra…duh what they were thinking… even these players offer money from their pockets to play, franchises would think twice to select them.

    Is it me only or does someone think that there should not be a limit of 4 foreign players per team…i think having one or two more would add variety and options and probably better than mediocre performances.

  8. Pingback: Making use of ICON players « The Official Fake Blog of the Indian Premier League

  9. Pingback: Three Posts on IPL | DesiPundit

  10. @GB- Great review. The description of the Bangalore team could not have better described by anybody in words. It just could not. You said Ganguly has been embarassing. You literally spoke my mind. If Gayle gets fit, he should do his team a huge favor by dropping down the order.

    Regarding Preity Zinta, I dont think that the guys she didn’t hug would consider it a loss. She is no Bipasha and I never found her hot. And I am sure many many people would agree with me.
    Call him an eccentric person, but Srikhanth chose his team well. SRK chose his team as if he was choosing a masala movie cast. When you have 4 million to invest (and by the way I believe that a cap is good. It brings out management skills), not everybody spends it well as you have pointed out. Chennai have the best team out there. Deccan is also a good team. These 2 should make it to the semis. My suggestion to Knight Riders would be to continue creating dicey pitches in Eden if they are confronted with oppositions with big blasting batting line ups. Bangalore can do that too and let their technical geniuses score 100 in 20 overs to win a match.

    Ricky ponting needs a real ass kick. As does John Buchanan. Now when you have a player like Shane warne mocking Buchanan, you have to wonder if he is indeed the luckiest coach ever. Warne is correct. Inspired moments in cricket (Gibbs b warne, 99 Edgbaston) are not planned. Buchanan even got his son here. Till now, Indians in middle eastern countries were noted for pushing their close ones there for economic prosperity. It seems India is such a destination now for all aussies related to cricket. But you must see admire how professionally the Aussies are playing. That is no surprise as they have been the best in county cricket for ages immemorial. But Ricky Ponting seems to be real complacent.

    My favorite cricketer Warne provided the best moment of the IPL. Lets see how far his magic takes his team to. I like Delhi matches too as the joy of Sehwag in full flow is unparalleled. Delhi is the dark horse of this tournament. But I think the IPL deserves to be in MS Dhoni’s hands. I have always been a huge fan of his cricket. But I was indifferent to his captaincy till before the Vb series. His keeping throughout the tour down under was just great. Seeing him captain the side and reading his press conferences tells me that he is a player like none other. He harbors a kind of maturity which great players do and he seems to be planner. I now support him in hindsight for his courageous decision to leave out Ganguly and Dravid for the CB series. It was not a malicious one like Greg Chappell’s was, but one based on prudence. As much as a folklore Ganguly’s comeback is and though he can still play well in ODIs, I think he and Dravid have pretty much played the last ODIs of their lives. With so many young talents coming up via IPL, India cannot afford to look back.They should also not be included in national 2020s. I also would love to talk to people like Sclyd Berry or CMJ or Tim De Listless about Dhoni. Those guys were pretty sarcastic when he bagged the highest bid for IPL. Racial prejudice, what else? As one official claimed after the IPL auctions, Dhoni is priceless.

    Finally a word about the tournament- it sure has provided entertainment in various ways. After all, a 60 day tournament has to be entertaining to maintain ratings. It may not have the sexual excitement of say the old India-Pakistan matches, pre 2000 Wcs or classic tests, but the entire format seems to be a very stable one. The demolition of the team concept seems to have been compensated by the fast pace of cricket. Its like being a voyeur observer seeing sexy women of different nations in the same shower room. Its not the real thing, but you cant keep your eyes off!

  11. “Its like being a voyeur observer seeing sexy women of different nations in the same shower room”.

    @ Yourfan2
    Watch the 1969 Bond movie, “On her Majesty’s Secret Service”.

  12. chusbo, chatbo, chirbo! that has become the new motto of KKR!

    whatever you say greatbong, i still feel a T20 is subject to randomness of Lady Luck more than any other version. Which is not quite cricket!

  13. Wanre is the man. He was openly grumpy about not getting the captaincy and also critical of John Buchanan. Unlike other superstars, he walked the talk. Rajasthan Royals have succeeded till now mainly due to his leadership.

    The “Icons” have proved to be the biggest blunder of IPL. Apart from Sehwag, none of them have been worth their “x + 15%” tag.

    Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the real deal. If things go well, he could end up as the best thing to happen to Indian cricket.

    As for Agarkar, 7 wickets in 4 matches. With an economy of 6.61!! As of now the best bowler of the tournament statistically and economically. Give him a break for once.

  14. arre bangali babu, get your facts right. the maratha agarkar has taken the highest wickets (7) in the ipl so far with the best average (12.28) and one of the best economy rates (6.61 rpo). his stats show that he has been by far the best bowler in the ipl. its a pity that he is playing for the bangalees and not for mumbai. we will get him back next year.

    And he will soon be the lead bowler for India too now that the madrasee anna sreesanth will be out after the slapping incident with the punjabee sardar.

    JAI MAHARASHTRA

  15. how cud u forget dhoni’s last over expert….joginder sharma.
    @great maratha…i hope agarkar blasts the oppositions away and get injured in final…no more agarkar in “real matches” please

  16. Wonderful post. couldn’t agree more with Ila Arun’s song and the tremendous Mithun’s sister reference.

    About Agarkar, that guy has the habit of constantly surprising people. If you start shuddering when the ball is tossed to him, expecting a Jalianwala type massacre, he comes up with a sublime over and take two wickets. Expect a sublime over and the match will be over in that over. Agarkar’s immense value lies in the fact that he makes us all spiritual..he relieves us from having expectations, that tie us to this mortal world…

    @GreatMaratha: Who told you that Agarkar is a Maratha? He is Marathi (Maharashtrian). Maratha is a caste and he does not belong to that caste.

    The Aussies have left a big mark on the whole tournament. Wonder if any other country will be able to do so.

  17. I am a Deccan Chargers fan and I completely agree with your assessment. But according to me, the weakes link in the Chargers has been Laxman. Symonds at-least put more on the scoreboard than he gave away… Can’t wait to see Styris, Gibbs…

    I agree with yourfan. I think that DC and CSK should make it to the semis. Their face-off on Tuesday should be exciting to say the least.

  18. I am glad your watchful eyes have not missed ( unlike most others) the performance and promise of some of the “lesser” players in our country like Dinda, Gony , Dhawan , Jadeja , Abhishek Nair etc.
    I think Dinda and Gony are very exciting prospects in the bowling deptt while Dhawan, along with Rohit Sharma, seem to be the most promising younsters for a future sans Big Four. Lets hope they can scale up to the longer versions!

  19. Sad to see no Indian name in the top scorers list…but IPL surely has provided good entertainment, and supposedly saas-bahu TRPs have dropped since the start of the IPL….

    And yippeee,Mumbai Indians wont go out of the tournament with no wins to their name!

    It will be quite an interesting watch, once the top Aussie/WI names leave, to see how the teams cope…and also wanna see a Misbah-run feast soon!

  20. why would anyone spell pakadna as pakarna as in “don ko pakarna” what the fuck is that? so many people do it. was i sleeping while everyone else was taking special lessons in how to write hindi words in english?
    i can not tell you how much shit like this freaks me out.
    marwari, larki, larna. a middle finger salute to all.

  21. I think the worst picked team of all has been Mumbai Indians. Bhajji was picked because of his friendship with Sachin. As you pointed way above his “aukaad”. I feel the biggest mistake they made was to not to pick good local / domestic talent. The youngsters on display barring abhishek nayar have been pedestrian. Plus whats the point in picking 9 / 19 overseas players ? You can play just 4 at once. To make matters worse you have to pick 7 / 10 desi lads. Players like Loots Bossman , Ronchi , Prince . I mean if i had a choice between jaffer/ prince . i’d pick jaffer. both r similar in their style, have same worth so why pick an overseas lad when u have a limit of 4 ? Instead u r forced to play players like manish pandey Dhaval Kulkarni and saurav tiwari who have simply looked out of depth. To me they dont even look worth a Ranji spot yet . A better balance would have been like a 7-12 ratio.Well Harsha Bhogle is an adviser on that panel. Wonder how much say he had in picking up the team.

  22. paying anything above Rs 101 to get Agarkar – ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Dravid looks like he hasn’t been having good bowel movement for a few weeks now – very true LOL

    awesome review – expected a post on the slap-cry saga from you. Dada’s form has been worrying, OTOH Chennai has been awesome and would be the finalist for sure.

  23. @nikhil…haha, its a typical bong syndrome (pun intended). Mumbai indians shud slap their opponents in the very next match so that all of them are banned and the team could avoid some shame.

  24. What the hell does ‘knightriders’ mean?
    A knight is a mounted armoured warrior, or in the modern times maybe Sir V S Naipaul. so what sort of person would want to ride them and how? My imagination fails…

  25. @Nandan and GreatMaratha: Who told you that Agarkar is a Maratha? He is Marathi (Maharashtrian). Maratha is a caste and he does not belong to that caste.”
    Am going off topic but would want to clear up certain confusion about Maratha being a caste. There are 96 clans in the Maratha group. It is a collective term for various castes which is complicated to say the least. The surname Agarkar falls under one such clan. However that does not make Agarkar a Maratha. The surname Mhatre also falls under the Maratha clan system but last time I checked, I am not a Maratha. Incidentally, the surname Bhogle is a part of the Maratha clan which may make Harsha Bhogle a Maratha. Very complicated as such.

    With respect to Knight Riders, why are they being written off this early. They have won two matches and look good to reach the top four. L.R.Shukla is good btw.

  26. first moral issues in terms of cheerleaders then a someone slapping his brother in public and now the caste issue…..IPL is doing no good for the country…ban it now.

  27. an outstanding piece of analysis.

    i just wanted to say that it’s too funny that lalput rajchand got fined. it never ceases to amaze me how much sanction exists in Indian society for blatantly vindictive behavior by authorities.

    also, i feel ajit agarkar should pay Shah Rukh Khan to play. waaaay more than 101 rupees.

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  29. @ Nikhil
    Correction; you were sleeping when others were taking lessons in manners and politeness. The other name of such lesson is ‘good upbringing’.

    @ Greatbong
    One of your best posts.

  30. Great review! Well balanced, except for couple of things i dont agree on! Leave Agarkar alone, like couple of people have pointed out, hes done decently well. So has he in the past with irregularity.

    And its unfair to say Dravid hid himself.Hes been a letdown but by no means a misfit,as yet. The type of player he is I dont think he would do that. Hes never been guilty of giving anything lesser than 100% ever. Im sure hes going to fire sooner than later. I just dont belive he cant get a 30 ball fifty or a 60 ball hundred in this format. He played one good innings and then was got out to a dicey decision in the last match.

    Abhishek Nair seems to be the find of the tournament!

  31. Nice overview.

    Rather harsh on Agarkar though. He seems to have done quite well so far. Of the 10 bowlers who have taken 5 wickets or more (8 of them are Indians), he is on top of all the charts: number of wickets, economy, average, and strike rate.

  32. While the comments on Dhoni being cool and composed and not letting captaincy affect his batting/keeping are apt, we need not criticise Rahul-Asthman, Dadaji and Lazyman for their inability to do so. Fact is Shorter versions are Dhoni’s comfort zone while the longer version (Tests in case of Rahul and Laxman, and 50 overs in the case od Dada) is the comfort zone of the elders. Naturally, they are under pressure and are unable to live up to it here.
    I think if you asked Dhoni to captain in tests, and justify it with wk/batting performance, he will feel the heat and will not be able to lead from the front as here.
    Remember, it is easy to do it for one day or 4 hrs, the elders have huge amount of success there(okay only dada in captaincy but others have played stellar vice-captain, senior palyer roles). Thats the real test – and I dont think Dhoni is up to it.

    Also, Dhoni is lucky. Joginder for last over. He tried twice and won. Kapil didnt succeed with another Sharma, Chetan. Their principle was the same but Dhoni succeeded while Kapil failed. This doesnt mean Dhoni is a better captain because the underlying strategy was the same and fate was kinder to Dhoni. Lets not put a big pedestal out for him…

  33. “Remember, it is easy to do it for one day or 4 hrs, the elders have huge amount of success there”
    This should be
    Remember, it is easy to do it for one day or 4 hrs,but the real challenge is doing facing the heat in a 5 day match, the elders have huge amount of success there

  34. hey GB, Kartik is not exactly Kumble but with some encouragement, he could have been a better asset for India than the over-rated Harbhajan.
    Also, he had a big part in one of the wins for Kolkata. His career economy rate is 5.72 in T20’s and yesterday, he got 2 close shouts not given against Bravo.
    Still, somehow you cant admit that he is good enough.

  35. Agarkar is not a marathi manoos anymore he is playing for bongs. Mumbai Team should have 80% reservation for Marathis then they will start doing better. Moreover there should be no cheerleaders in IPL while farmers are dying in vidarbha (as the uncle of our esteemed leader has demanded).

  36. Now with so many indian players exposed on big stage, its easy to see who stands where. Kudos to indian selectors for getting the teams absolutely right for the TT world cup and the VB series. On hindsight these decisions look so perfect and the world cup team selection so wrong..

  37. Agarkar is a CoBra – Konkanastha Brahman! How’s that for splitting matchsticks? But as far as Kolkata is considered he is a Kolkatan the moment he stepped in and donned its colours. Kolkata has a long history – longer than anywhere else – of welcoming sportsmen from other parts of the world and India. Among its football stars there are people from everywhere (including my late uncle C.Krishnamurthy, who played for Mohun Bagan).

    Rajasthan, Madras, and Delhi (to a lesser extent) have made hardnosed business decisions in picking their teams, and would do the NFL proud. Bangalore and Bombay seem to have made the worst choices and are being advised by some hack within BCCI or the local Cricket Association who is used to selecting players for a price. When these owners realise it is their hardearned money (or illgotten but dear wealth?) at stake and there is no glory or romance in being at the bottom of the table, they may buck up and select wisely. After NFL, the IPL/ICL format and the Eurpoean Football Leagues pose the most complex team building problems. NBA and MLB come later. The trouble is no one in cricket understands this yet, since we have played it very differently all these years, not only by way of the longer versions of the game, but also nationally without high stakes.

    That said hats off to the Aussies who have performed. They have played their hearts out and served their owners well. The Indian players are disappointing and barring a few here and there think their place is guaranteed. They need some rude shocks to be brought back down to earth. Sadly the seniors especially, Brahma/Vishnu/Shiva have no stake in the game any more.

    I would still like to see the IPL take on the ICL in a AFL vs. NFL type of final.

    Finally cricket is beginning to look like NFL. On a given day any team can beat any other.

    Are the BCCI game enough to try out a college draft, free agency, contracts etc? Remains to be seen.

  38. yups, Mumbai and B’lore look jaded. The best teams so far are Chennai,Punjab,Kolkatta and Delhi. These 4 deserve to be in semis.

    Hyderabad is so-so. Rajasthan has the surprise element, but going forward, teams will figure them out soon. They got lucky as others took’em for granted..

    i m betting delhi and punjab for finals. law of averages wud catch up with Chennai..and we have seen, it happens around semis time..

    excellent post as usual..

  39. I was looking forward to an article similar to the NFL/NBA
    power rankings for the IPL, and you are the first to oblige.
    Excellent post overall. Rajasthan has been the cinderella
    story of IPL so far, but I don’t think they will go the distance.
    Other teams (read Deccan, Punjab and Kolkata) will soon push
    RR out of the top 4.

    In response to your earlier post (Knight Riders Korbo Re), I
    had opposed your viewpoint of Twenty20 being a predominantly
    batsmen-dominated game. I had argued that in this format,
    the teams with a strong bowling line-up backed by agile
    fielders will dominate the charts. There is too little margin
    of error for the batsmen, and subsequently they are under more
    pressure than the bowlers. One important exception is the
    case when the team batting second chases a small target, but
    this happens when the bowlers have already restricted the opponent team’s batsmen. Delhi and Chennai have consistently demonstrated
    that bowling wins T20 matches, and no wonder they are on top of
    the charts. I thought Kolkata also had standout bowlers, with
    Ishant, Gul and Akhtar in their ranks. However, each team can
    only play 4 foreign players, and Kolkata has played 3 foreign
    batsmen and they have not delivered the goods (barring McCullum in Match 1). Hopefully the team will regroup once the Aussies leave and perform better in the latter part of the tourney.

  40. I strongly disagree that Agarkar has been a bad buy for Kolkata.
    At present, he’s got the best strike rate in the tournament. And thats how this boy has been all thru his career. Expensive but strike-worthy!!!
    A wicket every 9 balls, come on, what else would you want from a player of that age and that price.
    Being fair to him, he’s producing goods more than expected of him. Just that his image being portrayed so far is not so rosy.

  41. Arbnabda, excellent piece of writing I must say. The best since that utterly hilarious review of “Sanwariya” !

    My favourite in this tournament is Viru’s team. One has to admit the profound impact Haydos has on a team when he plays for/against it. With him gone Chennai will look a weaker outfit. I would say that the semi-finals would be Delhi, Chennai, Rajasthan, Punjab/Deccan.

    Kolkata unfortunately will have to stay low and pray that Gayle returns next season. I think Dada’s response time has gone up, as a result of which he cannot score as fast as he used to. Our only glimer of hope is Umar Gul and Ishant Sharma bowling like a Wasim-Imran combo and then the kid batsmen of Bengal playing their hearts out with some wily captaincy by the otherwise dissapointing Dada.

    PS: When will there be a time that internet becomes fast enough for us to watch live HD cricket on willow.tv?

  42. One correction Arnabda. It is Asmavia Iqbal and not Urooj Mumtaz who is supposedly the female Akhtar. The latter is the captain of the Pakistani Womesn’s national cricket team. She was quoted saying : “The Shoaib Akhtar [of our team] is Asmavia Iqbal … The only difference between him and her is that she’s completely fit, sticks to her game and does the job she’s asked to do.”

  43. IPL is all ruled by money. Shah Ruhk Khan and Gangly took money from Mukesh Ambani and lost to Mumbai Indians because if Mumbai does not register a win, it would be out of the tournament and Mukes Ambani loses all of his money. Moreover, competetion loses its luster if one team exits so early. We should not allow such practices anymore. Only merit should count, not money.

  44. Delhi Daredevils all the way……Look at McGrath……at this age also he is bowling so well….and to think of it he was in reserves….during auction…..i suppose Delhi GMR team was smart enough……i think the worst combination teams r Banglore and Mumbai

  45. Great write-up, Arnab. Probably the best I’ve seen in this context.

    One more thing to be noticed is the players who haven’t yet played for their country but are T20 experts haven’t fired at all. David Hussey, except for one cameo in the low scoring yet high pressure match against Deccan Chargers, so far has failed to justify why his bid price was double his brother’s. Luke Ronchi and Dominic Thorneley both have failed miserably.

    It really took me by surprise that there are quite a few good Wicketkeeper-batsmen in India right now. Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthick are around for quite some time now. But Wriddhiman Saha and Pinal Shah are great prospects too.

    Yousuf Pathan and Laxmi Ratan Shukla perhaps could just be the all-rounders India’s ODI team needs.

    I was wrong to have thought that after Sourav, there won’t be any other great left handed batsman to play for India. Of course there were a few flashes of brilliance before him (eg. Vinod Kambli) and after him (Yuvraj, Gambhir – both good but still have to go a long way to match Dada). After seeing Abhishek Nayar, Karan Goel and a rejuvenated Suresh Raina bat I’m now pretty confidet that we’re going to have quite a few fine left hand bats in near future.

  46. Excellent review. I went on from being an 20-20/IPL skeptic to a huge follower of the matches. Anyways, where is the obligatory indiadaily reference?

  47. Well said about Agarkar, GreatBong! Watching the Kolkata vs Rajasthan match going on right now, I am convinced that Agarkar knows some secret of Dada’s (e.g. Nagma related or some such) because of which he manages to blackmail Dada into selecting him in any team that Dada captains. Had they not been (separately) married, I would have a different conspiracy theory…

  48. Have you seen Mumbai Indians’ Dhaval Kulkarni. He doesnt have pace, but he bowls with a lot of brains. And he is just 19.

  49. Pingback: India Syndicate 2.0 »  Twenty20 : A new sport

  50. KKR got screwed again…. 😦 … a hat trick of losses…
    Dada failed to capitalize on the 3rd umpire’s wrong judgement…Smith had taken the catch cleanly…
    With McCullum gone, the batting line-up looks horrible at the moment…

  51. Not only is Agarkar one of the best bowlers in IPL so far, but also today against RR he looked the most confident of all KKR batsmen…even Dada and Hussey.

  52. Brilliant review….was waiting for the KKR match against Royals……3rd straight defeat…..maybe Dada and SRK have a lot of thinking to do. Warne is taking his underdog team to heights that have most bookies worried…..and he is doing it with a largely unknown Indian side…..can Dada repeat that magic?

  53. I am watching the match…. Sreesanth took a catch, sreesanth bowled zoysa out and would you beleive it not a single lunatic pelvic dance, not a single smirk or grimace not a single ‘hairy eyeball’.
    He has been utterly destroyed!
    Bhajjeeeeee mai aaa raha hoon…

  54. High time dada realises being late on field is not aggro,but gross indiscipline….

  55. Another controversy! These news channels have caught on to it and blown it big! Any thoughts fellas? I though the catch was neat and Dada had no busniess tryng to influence the umpires decision. He should have been fined. I dont why somebodys past is brought up like Rohan Gavskar was saying in one of those sport channels. In light of the recent series in Australia, perhaps Ganguly was right to stay, but from the spirit of the game perspective, I guess not.

    And I agree with Dravids theory of test batsmen can deliver anywhere. He came up with a uncharecteristicly aggressive knock in the last match. Laxman was sublime yesterday. Dada struggled initially but got a fifty and maintained a good strike rate.You will have to agree that these three are new to 20-20 as opposed to the Dhonis. They havent played in domestic 20-20s. So it will take them time and it has. they seem to be conming into the groove now and Im sure you will see better performances from them.

    Class definitely is permanent. It not about being slooging like Rohit, Raina, Sangakara, Mahela, Marsh and the rest have shown. The famous four perhaps will not create hara kiri like a Mccullum or a Afridi or a Dhoni but will hold thier own and deliver more consistently!

  56. Hey Arnab da, didnt u see P Amarnath of CSK ? U missed him in ur write up..
    VVS tried to redeem himself with a 34 ball 48, which was def: good.. Even dravid,2 days back, tried his best.. dada also tried ..

    but all these guys look totally at sea in this format…

  57. Is the match available for viewing in US? Pls provide info, if this is available on any soapcast links. Thanks

  58. Pingback: IPL: Better Statistics Please « The Other Side

  59. I cant understand the criticism of Rahul, Dada and Laxman, really. All of them have got into stride after the first 2 matches. I expected that because, as someone reminded here, Class is permanent. The fact that they cant make the 50 ball hundreds is immaterial. Someone has to make the 30 ball 40’s also and they are good enough, after all these years of toll on the international roll, to outshine countless youngsters except perhaps:
    Rohit Sharma is all class and Gautam Gambhir, to me atleast, seems a Sourav-clone, determination making up for other limitations. He has the making of a graet limited overs batsman.
    Suresh Raina, and one remembers here Greatbong’s disparaging comments on him when Sourav was dropped, is living up to his initial promise. Ofcourse, GB doesnt acknowledge he was wrong on this one though it would add to his(Gb’s) graceful image. Missing a trick, eh? I dont see you missing these tricks often.

    Still, News Channels after gleefully noting the singe digit scores of Dravid, Ganguly and laxman initially as proof of their inferiority to the so-called youngistan, now complain that their 30 ball 45’s are still not good enough. Eh? So, what is good enough – the 10 ball 15s of Karan Goels and the 16 ball 1’s of Venugopal Raos?

    Seriously, we have 4-5 good youngsters and the old brigade is definitely good enough to play in the IPL, maybe not in the national team for T20s but surely, the skill and experience they bring is valuable to the T20 franchises? Who will you replace them with? KP Appanna for Dravid? Venugopal for Laxman? I dont even know a reserve bengal name for Ganguly.
    This is just ageist nonsense being propogated by news channels who are perhaps targetting the youngistan as their audience.

  60. Dear Randomrant,

    There is a fourth dimension called time. Suresh Raina, when he was first selected, was not fit to be in the national side and got taken apart in South Africa. Just like Ganguly was not the finished product when he was first selected. But he was ready the next time he got a chance. This may very well be Raina’s time.

    With people like you always eager to find my faults, how can I be not graceful?

  61. I completely disagree GB. I thought Raina was a great talent when I first saw him. He didnt perform well, or rather perform consistently, thats another thing. I remember a 30 or 40 odd which he scored in what was one of his first 5-6 matches, if I remember correct. What i remembr is the shots he played to get there. I remember a non-chalant flick over the fielders for a paltry four, very stylish and elegant, all class. Im sure you would get the point. You seem to be as avid a follower of cricket and im sure you know when you see someone play that he belongs there, may be not the amount of runs that person scores but how he scores them. More often than not.Yousuf Pathan has scored big, but I dont see long term all round potential there. Asnodkar was good in the first match, he scored again yesterday but you could see that he may not be top class material. On the other hand,when you see a Rohit Sharma play, you know he belongs to a higher league. I thought I saw at potential in Raina, but people were harsh on him.

  62. @randomrant-

    “I cant understand the criticism of Rahul, Dada and Laxman, really. All of them have got into stride after the first 2 matches. I expected that because, as someone reminded here, Class is permanent. The fact that they cant make the 50 ball hundreds is immaterial. Someone has to make the 30 ball 40’s also and they are good enough, after all these years of toll on the international roll,..”

    I can perfectly understand the criticism. The purpose of these players is to use their region of origin, so that local people can identify with the new teams. So that justifies some of their value. But the fact that they are playing well doesn’t mean they are suited to this form of the game. Dravid and Kallis lost 1 match for Bangalore….by the time they got out, Boucher had too few balls on his hands to construct a win. When others fail around you, a fifty you score is a significant score by itself, but nothing in the context of the match. For national level 2020s there are enough players to fill the 11 slots. These players are not necessary. For local levels, it is expected that there will be douchebags, compared to which these players will always appear great. There have been fine talents on display too…Asnodkar, Dhawan, Saha, Pathan etc.

    “Suresh Raina, and one remembers here Greatbong’s disparaging comments on him when Sourav was dropped, is living up to his initial promise. Ofcourse, GB doesnt acknowledge he was wrong on this one though it would add to his(Gb’s) graceful image. Missing a trick, eh? I dont see you missing these tricks often.”

    Living up? How? See this the thing that irks me- when Chappell was the coach, he restricted the future batting talents to Raina and YV Rao. What if there are more talented youngsters? And take my word- Shikhar Dhawan is a much better batsman than Raina. Let us come back back to this thread in 2015 and see who was correct. I don’t think anyone would dispute that Rohit Sharma is a better batsman than Raina. But if we were to to stick with Raina only, like a wet sari on a hot body, then we would have never have uncovered talents like Rohit Sharma.

  63. Yourfan!

    But if we were to to stick with Raina only, like a wet sari on a hot body, then we would have never have uncovered talents like Rohit Sharma.

    What kind of logic is that? lol.

    And BTW, the so called old timers are almost matching the so called big hitters. Laxman and Dravid have played well in the last couple of matches and have scored quickly as well. And how about the Dhonis? Yes, they score quicker, if only marginally, but then how consistently over a period of time. Its anybodys guess that even in 20-20 cricket over a period of time, the veterans will be more consistent. The currebt lots will score quicker but not as consistently becoz they rely on big shots and that game is always frought with danger, They will come off on thier days like Mccullum. but wont on some others. So a more compact batsmen will have lesser of thopse bad days.

    And how do you compare Raina and Rohit Sharma? Both have averaged in late 20s in ODIs in respective thier short career!! I absoultely agree that Dhawan is a talent. But then it doesnt mean anybody bloced anybody.

    Living up? How? See this the thing that irks me- when Chappell was the coach, he restricted the future batting talents to Raina and YV Rao. What if there are more talented youngsters?

    What if there was somebody more talented than Tendulkar? Late Dhruv Pandove perhaps! Its not question of what ifs. Its just that at that time Raina scored runs that season, aplenty, showed talent and he got in. As simple as that!

  64. PS: And if Dravid and Kallis lost a mtch for Banaglore, the others you fancy have lost quite a few by not performing. Be it a Dhoni in the last two matches or somebody else!

  65. @Deeps- We shall see. Some people are put on a pedestal. But performances will tell the tale. Hope you remember Greame Hick. Again, my personal view is that Rohit Sharma is a much much better batsman. Till now Raina has nothing much to show- except great accolades showered by an ex India coach. The only remarkable thing about him is probably his fielding. My point is that he deserves only as many opportunities as his performances warrant after a fair run. Anything else would be an injustice to other youngsters who are not quite put on a pedestal like him.

    You did not quite get my point about the seniors. In a team like Bangalore, a Rahul Dravid will always score more in the long run than a talented youngster even when he is 45. Same with Saurav Ganguly at 40, in current form vis a vis a Debabrata Das. But when we aggregate people for choosing the national side, there are enough players to fill 11 people comfortably who can bat at a faster rate and run faster b/w wickets for 20 overs. We don’t need SG, VVS or RD here. We don’t need Rahul Dravid scoring a 50 ball 60 in an India 2020. We would rather have 2 youngsters who would each score 25 ball 45s. Rahul Dravid’s 50 here would be significant statistically. But he cannot bring down the asking rate from 13 to 11 to 9 and so on. Instead while he bats on, the asking rate actually increases. Think about it. And they would field better too. In a local team like Bangalore, the dearth of such ideal cases of replacement is understandable. Maybe you would have 5 players flopping, making that 50 ball 60 look real precious. At a national level, there more contenders than places. Contenders who are of higher class than the local team contenders. Contenders whose performances are likely to satisfy the law of large numbers. We have Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Sharma, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Uthappa, and so many other upcoming youngsters (people like Raina included) to choose from. Why take the retrograde step and include the 3 of them?

  66. All cricketing logic has already been thrown to the wolves. Dhoni’s team has suffered 3 consecutive losses, the latest one from Deccan Chargers, Preity’s hugs are working for Punjab, Dravid has scored a quick 50 in recent matches.
    Though sadly cheerleaders have not reverted to teir original attire.
    And I wanted the last one the most 🙂

  67. To add to my above comments, the leader of the current pack and the most expensive player of IPL is a case in point. Dhoni was all at sea against the up and coming under 19 player Pragyan Ojha, it was an eye sore as he got tied up on leg stump line and finally succumbed. Scored 20odd but at a strike rate of 75!

    Or how about Gilly, looked most devastating yesterday but hes got two great innings and failed in the rest.

  68. Yourfan, I would agree with most of the points. Especially on fielding and running between the wickets perspective, the four dont match and are not 20-20 class. Its so exciting to see the young guns running between the wickets with the Aussies. Saurav in the last match was a pain. It was hard to miss when he batted with the hussey, who almost always grounded and took a start for the second and dada wouldnt bother.

    And I partially agree with youngsters scoring lesser but at a higher clip. But then they will have to do that everytime they bat. A 75 strike rate like Dhonis yesterday wont help.

    All in all, Im neither completely for the old warhorses nor for the young extreme dashers like the Jadejas and pathans. Im all for Rohit Sharmas who blend, show potential for any kind of a game. Doesn he look a mix of Dravid and Tendulkar.I wont be surprised if he does well in test cricket. As for Raina, hes not done as well as Rohit in IPL, but I would back myself and say hes got the same potential from what I have seen.

  69. Pingback: Is T20 Different? « Life Is a Street Car Named Desire

  70. Great set of Team Reviews – but as you said it yourself, the tournament still has the second half and we may see the consistent performers drop their forms as they slacken off due to lost momentum or complacence.

    And we just about see the weak under performers breaking into the top with their renewed determination/purpose.

  71. rajasthan royal ko jeetne me shane warne ka bahut hi hath hai aur unke comfidence ke vajah se team jeet rahi hai

  72. Mcgrath – Mean spirited Swiss Matchmaker?? I think you mean Watchmaker.

    I have read through all your posts and reached this one just now. Awesome writing. 🙂

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