IPL Roundup

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[Warning: long post]

With the month-long IPL coming to a conclusion, if not a climax (and some would say many days too late) it is time to take a look back at the weeks gone by and ask ourselves: “Have we learnt anything about the mechanics of this newest incarnation of cricket after so many “Citi moments of success” and Arun Lalisms? Or are we as clueless as we were before?

Claim 1: Technically solid Test batsmen will adapt the best to T20

Dravid definitely believed in the above statement, staked his reputation on selecting a team consisting of some of the world’s best Test batsmen, and ended up being the subject of ridicule and scorn, mostly from his team owner, as the Bangalore franchise went under.

But was Dravid wrong?

On the face of it and looking at the performance of the Bangalore team, it seems that he was.

After all, it can be argued that having solid cricketing abilities in the longer form of the game counts for little in T20. T20 is a very different form of game than “cricket” as it is understood today, a fact that explains both the hostility of cricket purists to the concept of T20 as well as its rapidly growing popularity. Sharing only all the laws with “cricket”, the skill sets needed for success over here are very different from what they are in the conventional game.

Taking a step back, let us ponder the question “what is it that makes a great Test batsman”? For one, the ability to bat on different kinds of pitches and make technical adjustments based on the condition of the surface, the time of day and the state of the match. The beauty of Test cricket is that the conditions, under the feet and overhead keep changing throughout the day and the batsman’s shot selection, feet movement and other batting parameters change with it. Much of a good Test batsman’s skill lies in batting out sessions, defending dourly when the bowlers are on top, taking advantage of anything loose on offer and attacking only when a measure of conditions and the bowling is attained, sustaining over five days a game of cat and mouse that requires amazing powers of concentration, mental discipline and stamina.

The compressed form of the T20 game takes the subtle nuances of Test cricket out of the equation. Conditions now remain the same throughout the game and batsmen no longer can afford to give even an over even if the bowler is on top of the game. Deliveries, for the most part, can no longer be judged on merit and shots have to be manufactured and sometimes pre-determined. As any student of the game would tell, these are precisely some of the most cardinal sins of batting. And yet they are the most basic skills needed to survive in T20 as batsmen.

A question that naturally needs to be answered is : given the fact that many great Test batsmen have made successful transitions to the One Day game —what is it that makes T20 so different? For one, one day internationals have a passage of play somewhat similar to Test matches. Namely the “middle overs” where one requires a subset of the skills needed for Tests (namely patience and judicious shot-selection).[Chandrapaul, Kallis, Dravid, Laxman and the rest of the Test gang, all middle order bats, have made most of their runs in this part of a one day international] However it is precisely this part of a one day match that has been sought to be eliminated in the T20 paradigm —the audience no longer wants the “boring” middle part.

This still does not explain why a good Test batsman is unable to “dumb down their talents” to meet the challenges of T20.

The short answer: instinct.

Sunil Gavaskar in “Sunny Days” talked about his devastating 36 runs in 60 overs and how everytime the ball was bowled, he instinctively crawled into a defensive position and how even when he was desperately trying to get out, he found he was unable to even do that. While this may be an extreme case, it does throw light on the basic malaise of Test batsmen—their conditioning holds them back in the split second in which the shot is selected so that once the bat is swung and an improvisation is attempted, it lacks conviction. And the results show.

But then Sunil Gavaskar, the archetypal Test batsman did learn to adapt to the one day game. In his penultimate ODI, he blasted a quickfire century against New Zealand, whose ferocity would not be out of place in a T20 game today. Similarly, the Dravids and the Kallises would also be able to condition themselves to this new paradigm. But for that they need time. With a four-foreign-player limit and the pressure to drop them for T20 “experts”, Kallis and Chandrapaul never got the chance to learn on the job that for instance captain and icon player Dravid got.

And the results showed. As the tournament ended, Dravid might not have become a Sangakkara or a McCullum. But he still had pretty decent batting numbers to show for himself: 360 runs at an average of 30.00 with a strike rate of 127.65. In comparison, Ganguly, a specialist One day player who was the Kolkata Knight Rider’s star performer throughout, scored 349 runs at an average of 29.0 with a strike rate of 113 (As an aside: the fact that such batting statistics made Sourav KKR’s stand-out performer speaks volumes for the rest of the batting lineup of the King’s Servants sorry Men. As a double aside: Despite Dada having weaker numbers than Dravid, Dada can claim rightfully to have been one of the “successes” of the T20 tournament because unlike Rahul Dravid, Dada has finished games for his team).

As Dravid himself said, perhaps if he was 21 years old (i.e. still not had his instincts ossified), he could have been more of a success. Even then, he did not do too badly for himself. And perhaps the other Test specialists, given sufficient number of opportunities, would also be able to make at least moderate successes out of themselves.

So in conclusion, we may weaken Dravid’s assertion and conclude that— yes technically sound Test batsmen can, given sufficient time, adapt themselves to the T20 game. But with the primary requirement of the format for batsmen who can power-up right out of the box, Bangalore Challenger’s decision to go in with a team-full of Test batsmen all at varying stages of the learning curve was doomed to failure.

Maybe by next season, some of the worthies may have a batter handle on things. Maybe.

Claim 2: Twenty20 is a game exclusively for batsmen.

The second “take-home” from the season is that bowlers aren’t just backup dancers in a T20 game. Deccan Chargers made the season-breaking decision of investing in a line-up of big-hitting sloggers while leaving the bowling in the hands of relative lightweights.

Big mistake.

Despite having two batsmen with over 400 runs in the series with averages over 35 and eye-popping strike rates (139 and 147), Deccan Chargers were singularly unable to defend any score that their amazing line-up managed to cobble up—so bad their bowling line up was. (All their main bowling options had economy rates above 8.5)

In many ways, T20 is far more lenient to bowlers than Test matches or for that matter even one days.

With batsmen going for the big shots, bowlers have many ways of getting wickets—through a good ball, a bad shot or through a dot ball. Successive dot balls, even three back-to-back ones vastly increase the chances of the fourth ball being a wicket one. Contrast this to a Test match where virtually every batsman has to be prised out over the course of many days or even contrast this to a one day match where a number of good overs are needed in succession to get the batsmen to try something desperate and one begins to realize that a T20 is not the nightmare for bowlers we thought it would be.

Successful bowling in Twenty20 has not been just about yorkers, low full tosses, back-of-the-hand slow balls, bouncers or the length ball but in effectively varying between all the kinds. Predictability has been the bane of bowlers—-Subhash Gupte who could legendarily land the ball on a coin over after over and could bowl 20 maidens in succession would possibly be dead meat in a Twenty20. The reason why variations count for so much in this form of the game is because most of the shots that are played are pre-determined. Varying continuously the line, length and delivery type simply introduces three independently varying parameters in the batsman’s “guessing” function.

Yes. Variety is the spice of the T20. Not just variety in bowling, but also variety in bowlers. Shane Warne, T20’s reigning strategy king, shows how effective continuous bowling changes can be. And one of the myriad places where Kolkata Knight Riders suffered was in not having a quality slow bowler (Murali Kartik being a big disappointment along with Ishant Sharma) which to an extent negated the effect of its otherwise strong, but overtly pace-dependent, bowling line-up.

Claim 3: It’s a young man’s game.

For anyone following the tournament, this hypothesis has been torn to shreds. The reason is simple: the compressed version, though definitely frentic, needs you to be out on the field for only 40 overs at the maximum, most of which is after the sun has set.

Of course just like a team full of Test batsmen has been a disaster, so would have been a team full (or comprised mostly) of old men. Fortunately, none of the franchisees have made that mistake.

Claim 4: It’s all a lottery.

Sure. A lot of cricket is luck and T20 perhaps even more so. Who could foresee Chris Gayle not playing a single match? Or Misbah-ul-Haq, Cameron White, Shahid Afridi, Herschelle Gibbs and Brad Hodge coming a cropper? Or that Shawn Marsh’s buy price would provide the most amazing ROI for any $50,000 spent in the IPL?

Noone.

However once you accept the fact that there is always an element of luck in any of life’s endeavors, you realize that fortune has consistently favored the brave. Or in this case, the well-prepared and well-managed.

For instance, no matter how much Dada points to Gayle’s absence and two rain results that went against the Kolkata Knight Riders as reasons for KKR’s loss, the fact remains that with the team they fielded for most of the tournament, they did not deserve to make it to the final four. The seeds for the debacle had been sown the day the KKR team was announced with bizarre selections in the batting department with investments being made in people like Tatendra Taibu, Akash Chopra and Mohammed Hafeez to the exclusion of talented Indian T20 batsmen, decisions which led to KKR having the worst batting line-up, on paper, among all the teams once McCullum left. A stunning vote of no-confidence in his own team was made by John Buchanan when almost a third of the side were kicked out of the franchise.

Why?

Because “they did not have the skills to be in the team“. [This included a certain Cheteshwara Pujara, considered by many to be a future Indian prospect], a team whose skill levels allow for the continual presence of a Taibu and a Chopra.

A bit ironic considering that the team selection was a management decision of which I presume he too was a part.

Contrast this kind of high-handed arrogance with Shane Warne’s avuncular captaincy style, whose hands-on-ness, warmth, tactical astuteness and capacity to inspire has contrasted starkly with Buchanan’s note-taking coldness. Can we then ascribe to mere luck the fact that virtually every player for the Rajasthan Royals have delivered, often above their “price tag” (Sohail Tanveer , Asnodkar and Yousuf Pathan for example) while all of KKR’s assets, including David Hussey and Ishant Sharma, have underperformed? Similarly is there something more than chance in the fact that Punjab Kings XI have done so well, given that two of the best cricketing brains (Sangakkara and Jayawardhene ) are in its ranks?

So yes luck does and will play a big part in T20 but if you have a well-balanced team with a judicious mix of solid batsmen, sloggers, tactical brains and bowlers of various types who can bowl to their fields, then you will find, more often than not, things falling into place.

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40 thoughts on “IPL Roundup

  1. so nice of you to mention subhash gupte. a man no less than sir garfield sobers thought he was one of the finest spin bowlers he had ever faced, nagging and unplayable on any kind of pitch.
    i was expecting a tribute to maharaj’s heroics in his last match…

  2. Well said, well said.

    Points two and three fit in with my opinions too. I was sitting next to an elderly gent in the Mumbai-Bangalore game who I was debating about the old-players-new-players issue. After seeing the exploits of Meesrs McGrath, Pollock, Sanath, Warne…

    Also it is heartening to see Dravid end up with a better strike rate and average than so many batsmen, even Dhoni. And this after starting with a golden duck in his first match. Class is indeed permanent.

    The only thing that disappointed me in this post was a lack of Arun Lal-isms…

  3. Your post seems too early for IPL and too late for KKR.
    Just because KKR is out..doesnt mean IPL is over.

  4. having one’s batsmen and bowlers stick to a well-thought out tactical plan is no doubt essential in any form of cricket, but i don’t agree with you when you discount the luck factor so much in T20… i mean one or two mis-hits that go for six can so easily change the course of a match – as can a fumbled throw or a ball bowled too wide going for 5 runs. In the other forms of cricket these wouldn’t matter as much, because the team that suffers the bad luck has the time and space to bounce back. Not so in T20.

    also, don’t you think its a bit harsh to term buchanan’s style ‘high-handed’? all he did was release certain players who did not have a chance of making the playing XI…

    sorry arnab-da, but can’t endorse this post. i rarely find myself disagreeing with what you write (on any topic), but this is one of those times.

  5. @Burzum: Thanks for trying to find humor even when there was no intention to introduce it.

    @Saurabh Somani: I do not discount the “luck factor” at all.(Ref: the first 2 paras in Section4). However much of what we ascribe to luck is actually the result of planning.

    Well the easiest thing to say, for a supposed coach, is “These people are worthless”. First they are not. Certainly not Pujara or even Ranadeb, at least certainly not as bad as Sir John would like us to believe. People of the same capability have done very well for other teams and if he is as great a coach as he likes to project—well why cannot he get the best out of them? Are we to believe that these are the worst players in the entire league? Certainly no other team has kicked out members of their squad and not all sides have the deep pockets SKR has.

    And publicly announcing: “they do not have skills to be in the team”? Considering the performance of John, it is not just the skills of those players that are in doubt.

  6. John Buchanan is another Underarm Chappie. Why Dada would plump for him after his bitter experience with Guru Greg I do not understand.

  7. I don’t agree with you on just one point; you say that only technically sound batsman can adapt to IPL, well Dravids and Tendulkars have been wrecks in the IPL, Sourav Gangully though is high caliber batsmen has weeknesses, his pulls and hooks look downright ugly, but he still performed reasonably well in IPL, on all the rest of the points, I completely agree with you, nice post 🙂

  8. @Raj: I never said “only” technically sound batsmen can adapt to IPL. On the contrary, my point was exactly the opposite —the skill sets needed for success in T20 run counter to conventional technical correctness. My contention was that technically sound batsman need to “unlearn” some of their basic instincts in order to succeed. And for that they need time.

    @Anindya: Sorry. Corrected. And it’s Cameron and not Cameroon.

  9. IPL round up heading seemed to be bit misleading..as it was mainly a KKR round up story: how it fared, what went wrong with KKR, i-told-you-so bad team selection etc. and ofcourse subtle dravid bashing how he was wrong in selecting a test team, which point i think has been beaten to death in the media already.
    Sorry, but would have expected more on MI, KXI, DD etc.

  10. Oh I am so sorry Greatgujju for the mis-leading heading. Of course it goes without saying that my intention were not to do a roundup of all the teams (which I already have done) but to make a few general points and use KKR’s wrong selection/managerial policies, which yes I criticized at the start of the season, to substantiate what I was saying.

    Subtle Dravid bashing? Not very subtle else you would not have noticed would you? Of course the thing is I was not Dravid-bashing —just saying he himself needed a bit more time to adjust to the new format and that he had done reasonably well. This is where I was being different from the mainstream media analysis because I did not denounce Dravid’s principle outright ,only tried to qualify it to an extent.

  11. g.b.:

    “Subhash Gupte who could legendarily land the ball on a coin over after over and could bowl 20 maidens in succession would possibly be dead meat in a Twenty20.”

    i beg to disagree; in my defense, i present to you one mr. mcgrath. yes, one needs to possess the ability to land a ball on a coin (of course, they need to mentally move that coin around after each ball).

    “As a double aside: Despite Dada having weaker numbers than Dravid, Dada can claim rightfully to have been one of the “successes” of the T20 tournament because unlike Rahul Dravid, Dada has finished games for his team”

    maybe, but not definitive. what is definite is that ganguly did a better job of team selection than dravid did. the only match that ganguly won off his bat was the last one, and even that was ignited by gul’s two successive sixers. i’ve always felt that ganguly underbowls himself – his 3-0-7-1 (or was it 3-1-7-1?) was just too good. but sometimes i’ve felt – i could be wrong – that he deliberately plays politics and does not bowl as well as he can when he is not the captain. this is very debatable, and i do not have any facts to debate this out, just my gut feeling, that’s all. and no, i am not spoiling for a fight!!

    “Similarly is there something more than chance in the fact that Punjab Kings XI have done so well, given that two of the best cricketing brains (Sangakkara and Jayawardhene ) are in its ranks?”

    well, that’s not always true – i present mumbai with tendulkar, pollock, and jayasuriya (especially look at today’s game).

    you might want to point out the main men bringing up the rear of the ipl: vvs laxman (#8), rahul dravid (#7), saurav ganguly (#6 or $5), sachin tendulkar (#4 or #6).

    – s.b.

    p.s.: “Contrast this to a Test match where virtually every batsman has to be prized out …”

    though it could be one, i doubt this was a typo, so permit me to correct you — “prised out”, not “prized out”

  12. @Somebody: My recollection of McGrath’s bowling was slightly different.He did not continuously bowl the top-of-off-stump length he does in Tests.Instead he ceaselessly varied his pace and length, but with dead accuracy i.e. according to his field.This is in sharp contrast to people like Aggie-sir whose concept of variety is to bowl on either side of the wicket i.e. not to his field.

    Mm so SG did not win the match against Deccan Chargers(2nd round) by his batting also?

    “Gul’s sixes ignited Ganguly”….allow me to differ. SG was lacking any kind of support throughout the innings and this is the first time that he got some support. That’s why he could change the tempo of his game.True. But it’s not as if Gul somehow “inspired” Dada to hit sixes (even after he got out in the 19th over) .Incidentally Gul batted very well and do not interpret this as an attempt to belittle his contribution. But I am amused by your attempt to belittle SG’s innings with a “It was Gul who made SG do it”

    With due respect,I do not consider any of the 3 you mention to match up to the 2 I mentioned with respect to tactical acumen. Certainly not Sanath Jayasuriya or (shock of all shocks) Sachin.

    As to your snide remark about SG’s intentions, I shall let that pass. FYI SG’s greatest bowling performance was in Toronto…when he was not the captain. Not that you should let that affect your assessment of him.

    And thanks for pointing out that mistake—-since you do not believe it to be a typo I shall let that pass too.

    Its Memorial Day today and I have enjoyed replying to all comments.

  13. g.b.:

    wow! that was a quick response!!

    i did not watch any of the matches – my only knowledge is based on my recollection of the cricinfo commentary. my point on gupte was just that if you are an accurate bowler who possesses the ability to put a ball on the spot – an anti-agarkar, if you will – you will do good in t20.

    i never said ganguly did not win the second match with his bat also; my point was that he was not alone – gul played a good role too. and, i need to add, that for kolkata, shukla and saha performed consistently whereas for bengalooru, kumble finally got his groove only in the latest two matches (and that too, i am going only by the commentary, like i said above). the only game i recall any challenger (besides dravid) really challenging was when akhil belted the deccan chargers.

    thank you for not taking the bait (which wasn’t). it was just my opinion and, after all, it is really your blog!

    re: prized/prised – my apologies! many people, me too (of course), get confused among subtle variations in english spellings. i just assumed you also had the wrong word in mind – my bad.

    – s.b.

  14. @Some Body,

    Yes a very quick response. Now please do read the post again and tell me where I said that SG won the game “alone”. All I said was he finished the game.(The biggest blot on SRT’s career vis a vis the all-time greats as we all know is that he has rarely finished the big games—unlike Lara) And yes numerically SG’s contribution to the batting score was way higher than Umar Gul and so if we want to point out one person’s stand out batting performance in the last match it has to be SG’s.[Of course Gul’s overall performance was outstanding which is why he got the MoM]

  15. Have we learnt anything about the mechanics of this newest incarnation of cricket after so many “Citi moments of success” and Arun Lalisms? Or are we as clueless as we were before?

    Just a thought:

    – Apparently the outsourcing of the entertainment component of the IPL package to American firangi-s was a compromise with the high moral standards so may be next time we will see some quality sari-clad Indian cheerleaders performing classic Bollywood rain dance sequences , when monsoon interrupts the game :p

    http://digitallife.co.in/indian-cheerleaders-for-ipl/

  16. here’s a summary of kkr’s 14 games:

    game 1 – mccullum
    game 2 – bowlers
    game 3 – loss (chennai)
    game 4 – loss (mumbai)
    game 5 – loss (rajasthan)
    game 6 – loss (punjab)
    game 7 – ganguly (as bowler)
    game 8 – ganguly (91 off 57), hussey (57 off 29), shukla (14 off 3); margin of victory – 23 runs. ganguly cannot be claimed as ‘the finisher’ for this game, it was a team effort
    game 9 – salman butt/shoain akhtar
    game 10 – loss (mumbai – ganguly top scorer)
    game 11 – loss (chennai)
    game 12 – loss (rajasthan – ganguly top scorer)
    game 13 – abandoned
    game 14 – ganguly/umar gul

    so, if you are strictly counting finishing as being the person with the last partnership/shot, ganguly did it only once. he did, however, anchor the innings in the 2nd game against the chargers (game 8)and bowl well against the challengers (game 7).

    anyway, bottom line, after reviewing my original comment, here’s what my point was/is:

    you claimed that ganguly was a success and dravid was not, based on the reasoning that ganguly finished games (plural). my counterpoint to that is that dravid coulda/woulda/shoulda/mighta finished more matches had he got some better support from his teammates (or he might not have – this is a moot point).

    however, what i am saying is that with the same exact performances, there is a good chance that ganguly could’ve finished neither game 8 (without hussey and shukla) or game 14 (without gul). and that would have left him exactly where dravid currently is, successful (or unsuccessful). in other words, his teammates contributed to his becoming a success, that is all – it was not through the sheer weight of his performance alone (which i could argue about mccullum’s batting in game 1)!

    – s.b.

    p.s.: i agree with you w.r.t. srt. he has never been a good finisher, and he has an extremely weak 3rd/4th innings record (in tests).

  17. GB says in one of his previous posts – “Dear South Africans. In a movie called “Hum Aapke Hain Kaun” Madhuri Dixit wore an ornament which looked great on her. Its called a choker. It will look good on you too.”

    After yesterdays match, the same can be said about the Mumbai Indians….. 😦

  18. I think more than anything else the team that has got great opening and 1st wicket partnerships has won more games.

    One of the main problems with KKR is the opening batsmen that failed
    putting pressure on middle order. In last game, they had a 45 run partnership highest after McCullum left.

    For Delhi, most of the time when their top-order failed, they lost. Same goes for Kings XI Punjab when Marsh has given great starts resulting in wins or Royals with Asnodkar and Smith.

    All in all, Buchanan & Saurav need to really figure out for next year. I still believe KKR has talent and resources to win the trophy.

  19. GB, on an unrelated note, Venugopal Rao says a squash ball in the gloves helped him to better big-hitting skills. Now, that really is revealing. When Gilly did it, the consensus was that the squash ball, per se, wasnt performance enhancing. However, when you see someone like Venu turn into this six-hitting superman with it, I am forced to think if it is not really ‘dope’.

    Maybe, if Gilly hadnt tried it first, and Venu had tried it first, the ICC would have cried foul and banned it, and banned Venu also, maybe :-). This is one aspect of Cricket that is not commented upon often. Aussie or Englishman does it – immeddiately, there are defensive articles, not direct defence, but ‘scientific’ articles purporting to analyse the situation but actually subtly creating defence for it.
    When a Sub-continental does something first, it is sullied by all sources and somehow a negative image is created – doosra, reverse swing are all examples.
    ICC, despite India’s clout, remains racist in this sense – And that is rally unforgivable. The BCCI should do more, not less, to remove this anglo-saxon bias in ICC. However, we have purists arguing the opposite and suckers like Manjrekar and others in India sucking up to them.

    Someone with better writing skills than me, viz. you, should probably write on this.

  20. “if not a climax (and some would say many days too late)”

    I feel it is ending too early. Again we would have nothing to watch on TV except those Saas-Bahu serials, Javed Akhtar judged reality shows or umpteenth times repeated movies.

  21. Profound post GB, esp the ones anlaysing the reasons for the avg performances of the test greats and the conclusion that with more time, they are bound to catch up…
    Enjoyed it thoroughly, aslo the comment debates….
    ……..

    what happened to PRABHUJHI’S bengal tigers(hope the name is rite?) of the ICL? Mithunda’s buxom aunties from Ooty would make up a spectacle of cheer girls… 😉

  22. A doubt! Who is a test batsman? How do you group the guys you mentioned as test players? Or who is a ODI specialist?

    Dravid has scored 10000 runs at 40 in ODIs at a 72 strike rate. He is a middle order bat. Kallis averages a stunning 45 odd in ODIs and is very close to the elite 10000 club with 71 strike rate. Shivnarine Chanderpaul has scored 7500 runs at 40 plus average at 71 strike rate.

    I’m taking Ganguly n Dravid coz you often compare these two. I’m a fan of both. Now compare it with Ganguly whos scored 10000 plus as well with a 41 average and strike rate of 73. He’s a opening bat in ODIs. And now by your own admission, middle overs are similiar to tests where its more boring and scoring is slower. Ganguly is marginally better but he opens, bats under field restrictions and gets better value for strokes.Even otherwise they have similiar records.

    So how does Ganguly become a one day specialist,(as you have mentioned) whereas the others are test players? I would have agreed if you said Sachin or somebody else is, coz he strikes at 85 plus strike rate for his 10,000 plus runs! Or may be anybody else whos scored that many runs at that average and at a way better strike rate!

    Otherwise, I agree with almost everything on your analysis. Not all test batsmen will adjust. Bowlers have dictated in the second half and old timers are not for 20-20 is proven wrong comprehensively. And Ganguly for me played the best innings of IPL, they were hundreds but his was more valuable and played under immense pressure batting second. And yes, for me Ganguly or Dravid, they are players of the highest class who can play any form and excel. Likewise would Sangakara or a Rohit Sharma. And not the Dhonis and co. The top cant be typecast!

  23. On a side note, that Gangs and Dravid will take time to adjust but when they do they will definitely be assets is what I had mentioned in one of my previous comments.
    GB had washed his hands off Dada early in IPL but now that he is performing well, is able to happily resort to glorification in comparison to Dravid.

  24. One thing you forgot to mention, Captaincy!

    Take the case of Mumbai – Harbhajan Singh captained their first four defeats, Shaun Pollock captained their five successes, Sachin captained their one success and two close matches (failures).

    The biggest mistake of Mumbai Indians was to take Harbhajan on board for the amount of money they paid for him. A close second was making him captain in Sachin’s absence! The Mumbai Indians should thank Sreesanth that Harbhajan is no longer playing!

    Teams who have been captained by players with cool heads and aggressive attitudes (typically, people who are not affected by sledging and themselves sledge whenever they have a chance, just as an attitude display) have done very well (Warne, Yuvraj (debatable), Sehwag, Pollock, etc.) Next in line are captains like Sachin, Dhoni, etc. who are similarly not affected by sledging, but are less prone to sledging themselves. i.e. have a cool head and attitude too.

    I see absolutely no reason other than the captaincy as the reason for the failure of Mumbai Indians in the first four games and their success in the next six.

  25. Captaincy is again proved crucial here. Apart from the windies in first 2 editions and aussies in last 2 editions (far superior teams), rest of the ODI world cup winning teams had captain’s charisma a certain role. Warne looks like the man who manages to bring the best out of average players. I cant think asnodkars, patels have better skills that any other domestic players in fray.
    I think Sachin almost panics under pressure and as a captain his team would have difficulty to win close or crucial matches. He himself knows he is not a great leader, the MIs would have done better to continue with pollock as captain. I hope next time most of the teams understand this and make adjustments to have overseas players as captains as well.

  26. How about Shane Warne for Indian Team coach? He brings baggage (personality wise) but he has shown great skill in getting the RRs to where they are…..what say?

  27. “….but if you have a well-balanced team with a judicious mix of solid batsmen, sloggers, tactical brains and bowlers of various types who can bowl to their fields, then you will find, more often than not, things falling into place.”

    then what’s the difference left b/w 20 – 20 any any other form of cricket!

  28. the teams which have not qualified for semis are the ones which had the BIG-4 of indian cricket. Sachin, Saurav, Rahul and Laxman all failed to take their teams through to semi-finals..

  29. I completely agree with GB when he says that luck is not a ‘considerable’ factor in the T20 format(not talking about washed out games). A mishit six can happen in any format of the game, two of them? And for those who consider Mumbai unlucky, forgive me, but it was sheer stupidity that made them lose those close matches.

    @ just me: Being the coach of a team has nothing to do with success. That is determined by the captain and the selectors 😦

  30. I am ot sure why people say Test Cricket is the ultimate and T20 is a dumb version of it … its like thay read just british newspapers.
    You should be comparing the ability of batmen not which form is ultimate. A skillfull batsmen should be able to play all forms without much difference. You would find that a less skillfull batsmen just been better in one or two forms of the game.

    And btw did you notice that when Test Cricket and T20 are compared nobody talks about bowlers. I have heard Test cricketers would be slow in T20 but not that Test bowlers would ot be able to take wickets or bowl tightly. McGrath/Warne/Murali and to some extent kuble have shown that a good bowler in one format is good bowler is any other format. God knows its way difficut to take any wicket whatever the form be!

  31. Let’s not forget the genesis of IPL courtesy Kapil paaji’s ICL. Ostensibly the idea was to promote young overlooked talents and prolong careers of not-so-young ‘retired’ cricketers. That seems to have been implemented to perfection by Lalit Modi & Co. On the one hand, we have marveled at the heroics of Asnodkar, Goni, Wriddhiman, Shikhar, Dinda, Yomahesh….and hailed them as the future of Indian cricket! On the other, encore of majestic performances by greats like Sanath, Warne, Pollock, Gilchrist and the like have proved more thrilling than their commentator careers-in-waiting. Another point : current form plays a big role in determining the CITI success quotient of the players of any age, nationality and DLF six-hitting capability. That explains the misery of Misbah, Gibbs, Afridi while Gambhir can do nothing wrong, with luck or otherwise.

  32. Thank you for the kind references to Sanga and Mahela. One of the few cricketing opinions of yours I enjoyed. Here’s to another year’s IPL!

  33. I was wondering why Dada is investing his time in players like Taibu or Akash Chopra but can not call upon players like Tamim Iqbal from Bangladesh. Atleast he has more success as an one day player. I presumee KKR management team was largely averse to innovation and unearthing new players.

    More or less, we must admit, that IPL has provided us with new options in players like Asnodkar, Shikhar Dhawan or Shaun Marsh(For Australia). In absence of IPL, sooner or later, they would have finished their career in pursuit of some more rewarding career after playing against some state level players.

    I do not know what kind of framework will emerge after this IPL related to disposal of “Non Performing Assets”[I work for an investment bank and see some opportunity related to Mr. Mallya’s team for sale off :))]…however I strongly suggest disposal of Buchannon. I think P.K. Banerjee will do a better job with his “Vocal Tonics”. Anyway Mr. Laptop is not going to have his players under his watchful eyes to implement the technical corrections he has noted in his diary

  34. IPL has given a break to the young players of India; the likes of Gony, VRV, Badrinath, Karan Goel who attain a stardom is the biggest achievement of this tournament.

    It has pumped adrenaline in this game which had lost its pace long back; no doubts that all the award winners post final are non Indians(including the captain of the winning team); that shows they adapt quickly when it comes to this new format of the game..

    The biggest set-(back)-max of the tournament is the useless Jadeja and his companions; making it aweful to watch the match sometimes.

    Hey, GB; it wud be a pleasure if u post something on Ajay Jadeja, and his acts of foolishness on TV before and after the match.

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