Posts Tagged ‘IPL’


Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

It probably isn’t unfair to say that the berth atop the ICC Test Rankings, historically, hasn’t been a paradise for teams that have scaled it. Idealists would find it easy to argue that the current and former number one teams have had questionable, if not in entirety, rises to the top – England’s failure in the sub-continent, and India’s predominantly home-series wins adding alibi to their theories.

English fans, now, find themselves being stopped short of being wildly idealistic. What seems profound here is that despite victories (and draws) against tough overseas opponents on foreign soil (barring their quest in the sub-continent), England finds itself basked amidst vicissitudes of press coverage stating ‘too much cricket’ as an excuse for their exponential dip in form in the ongoing series against the Proteas. Isn’t this true for almost the entire set of test playing nations, or at least the top six nations?

World records may not hold great importance if it doesn’t help achieve a significant team result. © BBC

True, just like how the blackout in Northern India has highlighted our dependence on diesel, there have been enough presumptions with regard to England’s dependency on seam-friendly tracks. It wasn’t too long ago in the timeline when the English selectors (rather Andy Flower) had a pleasant headache over the pace bowlers they needed to leave out of an eleven being fielded. Even KP’s antics did little to overshadow the confidence that they had built as a test unit under Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower.

But, isn’t it common these days to witness sparse differences in standards between teams (or if we extend this to organizations in general) vying for pole position? It is healthy, as a fan, to witness intense battles between teams that look not only strong on paper, but have the firepower to back it up on the field.

A nascent advantage of the billions of cash reserves in the Middle East has been the creation of stronger clubs (through foreign ownership) to compete against the cliché of names one usually comes across in the European leagues. Chelsea, for one, given how they’d been a dominant force not too long ago under the billions of Roman and reign of Mourinho, finished sixth last season – it wasn’t ‘too much football’, but stronger competitors.

Fortunately, cricket is witnessing the same. Just to drift slightly off here – as much as I’d love to call the current New Zealand team a touch below par, the resurgence of West Indies (too early to say?), owing to the return of Chris Gayle at the top of the order, has been a welcome sight to most of us.

In paper, they may hardly seem like teams being overworked. Chris Gayle, players competing in the IPL, WICB issues have, in the past, camouflaged substantial on-field press coverage (barring the Ramdin ‘paperwork’ during the series against England). The change in tutorship at New Zealand has received a little more space than an obituary in newspapers here. But they’re competing all right.

Coming back to the perennial issue highlighted earlier – packed calendars don’t help. Agreed. Much has been written in the footballing circles about how players get jaded after a long season (domestic, league, continental competitions adding to the toll) followed by international commitments. And by the time they’re done with it, the new season beckons – it isn’t uncommon to see players who’ve undergone the wrath of such schedules sit out of contention for the best part of August.

Cricket is equally, if not more, demanding in terms of fitness (probably more mental owing to the long stretches of tours away from home). Unlike football (and I’m sure football purists would disagree here), there’s very little space for error in the game of cricket – a lapse of concentration could cost a batsman his wicket, a fielder a catch and a bowler a wayward  line/length. Add to all this media hype and expectations (something which I believe dearly affects teams like England  and India, more than other teams around) – the end result is a volatile cocktail.

So, have teams at the top been victims of everything (and everyone) but themselves? It is as much about hype and expectations, as it is about packed schedules. The modern day sportsman is trained (through a combination of well-structured training programs catering to the mental aspects of sport) to cope with expectations of a nation, and the glaring eyes of the world.

But few cross the line that differentiates the best from the rest. A double hundred in a dead-rubber test on a flat wicket deserves to be dwarfed to insignificance when compared to a half century on a trying wicket that saves a test. Only when the cricketing community starts setting such standards and yardsticks, will we see the crop of players rise up and deliver.

Let me recall an interesting anecdote I heard from a source (this isn’t fiction) regarding Don Bradman’s reaction, when quizzed by an Australian journalist, after Brian Charles Lara had scored a record breaking 375 against the touring Englishmen in Antigua. The Don, apparently, had replied ‘Okay’.

Assuming that age had caught up with the Don, the journalist repeated his question (understandably more pronounced) to get the entirety of the message across. The Don, once again, without batting an eyelid, replied ‘Okay’  When quizzed further, The Don had said: ‘On a flat wicket, against a scrawny bowling attack in a Test which wasn’t heading towards a result, what more can I say?’

The journalist decided to pose his question thus: ‘Sir, how much do you reckon you’d have scored had you been in this situation?’. The Don thought for a while and said ‘Maybe 260 … or 270.’ Presuming that age had taken a toll on his thinking, the journalist asked ‘Sir, but he scored 375. You’re saying you’d have 260. And you’re not rating his knock too.’

To which The Great Man replied: ‘I’m 85, he’s just a 23 year old kid.’

Maybe, that is what greatness is about.


Niranjan K

By the time you read this, IPL’s relevance would have been long gone. And its only 3 days since the great Indian circus got over. Ever wonder why IPL is losing popularity? It is because of the controversies that when it’s over, people gasp with a ‘Finally!’. So, movie channels can now shift their premier movies to their original prime time of 9pm. New programs are launched in various channels. People start reading books again. We don’t have to endure Navjot Singh Sidhu and an array of stupid presenters in MAX who sell products rather than call the match. (I wonder how IPL will look like if ESPN broadcasts it with Harsha as the host).

IPL has a new champion in KKR and deservedly so. In fact the four teams that made it to the playoffs took their rightful place. I know a lot of you will go bonkers that CSK didn’t deserve to be there. True CSK had a lukewarm season in their standards but then none of the 5 eliminated teams grabbed their chances did they? KKR and Delhi looked like finalists from the first weekend. In the business end, one team choked and the other kept its resolve. MI were their usual underachievers self while CSK showed in the end why they are a champion side, brushing aside MI and DD in the playoffs with such disdain. I can hear a lot of “fixing” groans already. Let’s debate it in the end and keep Cricket first shall we?

The question doesn’t seem to have a conclusive answers

The Kolkata Knight Riders had but one agenda when they started the campaign. Win it. It is not like other teams did not but they had that resolve about them. DD were lazy at times I thought, just like their captain. KKR flourished with a captain who was all out to prove, both about his leadership and his team’s capability. Sunil Narine was their trump card while Kallis and Balaji contributed immensely. But if Gambhir struggles then KKR will struggle big time. That they won despite Yusuf Pathan woeful form tells something. Mumbai Indians faltered to deceive while CSK didn’t really set the tournament ablaze like how they were supposed to. They were poor by their own standards (except fielding that is) and didn’t really deserve the hat-trick.

But the real questions lay outside the cricket ground. That IPL needed controversies to improve RATINGS is a shame on the game itself. Initially, IPL was driven by the frenzy of cricket madness. With 5 seasons behind, there is still not a single defining rivalry in IPL. CSK-RCB has the potential but will take years to reach where a Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry is now. Both neighboring cities and both have beaten each other in crunch games, though CSK is ahead in the rivalry. But when are we going to see an El Classico types? That improves ratings, not some SRK bullshit. Ever consider why people don’t talk about IPL weeks after it’s gone like the Ashes or an Indo-Australia series? I guess the onus for this soon-will-be failure of IPL has to be put on both the organizers and the people. The organizers are happy with providing what people want rather than what they should have. And people are dumb enough to care about gossips. Is it because more women watch cricket these days? Just kidding!

Now the whole “fixing” game… With so much money involved and that too in India, it is so much easy to connect the dots to match fixing. Sure one can’t refute it. But people tend to get over emotional about the whole fixing part. See the thing with high octane matches is, you can really have a plan. So if it is about a bowler bowing low full tosses and it turns out to be a yorker, where is your planning there? The best thing about cricket is its unpredictability, even for the players. And people talk about how CSK got into the finals despite being out of form. They point to the fact that Chepauk is the venue for the final and a “crowd“ is needed at the ground. CSK played their first qualifier in Bangalore and the stadium was full, filled three quarters with yellow. Last year I watched the 2nd qualifier and the final at Chepauk. The 2nd qualifier between MI and RCB was watched by over 30000 people and the ground was buzzing for Gayle and Sachin. So I don’t see the stadium-full theory as convincing from people who are quick to post “IPL is fixed”.

Here’s my point. If IPL is fixed, then logically the players are the cheaters. Those include the likes of Dravid, Ganguly (Who famously lead India with distinction after the match fixing era), Hussey, Steyn, Kallis, Fleming and a certain Mr. Sachin Tendulkar. Are these great players, cheaters in their country colors too?  N Srinivasan heads the most influential cricketing board in the world whose country won the World Cup last year. So the ones who are quick to brandish him as a fixer, are they ready to say that him and Sharath Pawar scripted the World Cup win for India? There is only so much in sport that is run by the brain. Mostly it is the heart and instinct that fuels the players in that less-than-a-second time to react to a ball. Can’t cheat that can we?


Niranjan K

There is a lot of bullshitting about the Chennai Super Kings over how they make it to the playoffs every season. N Srinivasan scripts all of CSK’s wins from his bathroom, politics, blah blah blah. While there is no denying that the IPL is full of controversy, why is that CSK always paraded as the team to hate just because they are so good? Now, I am from the same state but that’s not the reason why I like the CSK.

So for all those who hate CSK, read this if you have any idea how a premier league has to be played. For those who love CSK, here are tem seasons to know why.

CSK: Giants of the IPL

1. CSK is the only team to embrace the concept of a domestic league in the right way. There is a very CHENNAI flavor in every aspect of CSK. The ‘Whistle Podu’ theme belongs to Chennai. Isn’t there one flavor that you can connect to a Mumbai or a Kolkatta or a Jaipur? Do Punjabis really need Priety Zinta to dance for them..?

2. CSK is the only team to have embraced the concept of a club properly. Faf Du Plessis was an unknown when CSK signed him 2 years ago. Now he’s our leading scorer. That’s what successful EPL teams to. That’s what we do.

3. The dressing room of CSK is widely known as the happiest of all if IPL teams. The pranks, the way newcomers are made comfortable is a mark of great teams.

4. When CSK plays and a batsman hits a four, they don’t have to show Shah Rukh Khan clapping, when a six is hit, they don’t have to show the Shetty sisters hugging or when a batsman gets out they don’t have to show Priety Zinta cussing and discussing strategy with the coach. It’s strictly the players and the fans and that’s how it should be. The lesser the distractions, the better the team.

5. After the recent incident involving Shah Rukh Khan at the Wankhede Stadium, Juhi Chawla was quoted as saying “If today Shah Rukh Khan were to get upset and quit the IPL I wonder if there’d be any people watching the matches… in Wankhede or any stadium.” Seriously, if Wankhede comes to watch Shah Rukh Khan rather than Sachin’s batting, then God save cricket.

6. Despite the dash of IPL, Chennai still and will remain the most knowledgeable of all crowds in India. That’s a mark of fans who will remain loyal to CSK all life. If you think about it you will understand what I am saying. Remember, Sachin was booed once in Mumbai. That will never happen to any cricketer in Chennai (Except Virat Kohli when he plays for RCB)

7. As a team, CSK is not dependent on one player like how RCB have in Gayle and Kolkatta in Gambir. Every time we find some player finishing it in tight situations. Morkel, Bravo, Dhoni, it’s a finishing line up to dream.

8. One of the most important factors is how well the local lads and generally the Indian players have played for us. Vijay, Badri, Anirudha, Ashwin and Balaji have all won games for us. Name one team that has so many local lads in their team and doing well. Add to that Raina and Dhoni. So the over dependence on overseas players is negated in CSK.

9. Harsha Bhogle tweeted this after the last season win he said “Eventually the best team, the best organized, the best selected and the best led won the IPL and that is how it should be”. Need anything more to say.

10. Actually, there is one more thing to say… “We are the Bloody Champs”! Distracters talk about N Srinivasan’s role in the team and his influence as the BCCI’s big fish. Let me clarify. His India Cements Company is involved with cricket for 60 years now. They are responsible for bringing up players like Rahul Dravid. So here’s the thing… N Srinivasan is the president of the most powerful cricket board in the world. Would you credit every Indian Win as his script?

The truth is CSK, even for IPL’s short history has to go through these phases like how great teams go through. Barcelona is constantly accused of diving despite the beautiful football they play. The Australian Cricket Team was accused of too much sledging when they dominated world cricket. But didn’t they change the way cricket was played? Like those great teams, we will endure and play the way like only we can and whistle the way like only we can. Go CSK Go..!

IPL Addiction

Posted: May 6, 2012 by binisajan in Cricket, IPL
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Bini Sathyan

Contrary to popular perception of the media that the fifth edition of the IPLT20 will not draw enough eyeballs and the concern of the cricketing authorities about the dwindling numbers of fans at the venues, the 5th season of the IPLT20 is a runaway hit. Though it began with a few low scoring matches, it gained momentum with the century scored by Ajinkya Rahane. The thrills started coming with the chases led by Rohit Sharma and then Morkel. From there it just took off with a lot of big hitting high scoring and nail-biting finishes. Now the stadiums are full and the television ratings are picking up.

For me it was goodbye to boring TV shows. Great entertainment in the evenings. And sleeping past midnight. I am addicted to the IPL and have my own reasons for being so. My love for this two month entertainment carnival started in the first match of the first season when Brendom McCullum went berserk and hit anything hurled at him out of the park. He scored a staggering 158 runs which could be more than the average total of most of the teams. He was nuts and I got stuck.

It is not often that you get to watch Sehwag bat along with Kevin Pietersen. Now that is aggression from both ends. You get to watch this only in the IPL. The forthcoming showdowns are even better. For the Delhi Daredevils, it will be Sehwag opening the innings with his double: Warner! That combination will be a death warrant for the bowlers. Another destructive combination is the Gayle force that will blow away the best and the explosive batting of Dilshan in tandem to open the entertainment. And a de Villiers coming down the order to sow devastation all around for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

For those who are missing the smashing opening style of the retired Gilchrist who ran away with a world cup final in the blink of an eye, the IPL has brought him alive from retirement and he is captaining, keeping and opening for a Punjab side. The Wall is rebuilt by the IPL in a different avatar. He is the captain, the opener and a fast one at that for the Rajasthan Royals an exciting side which showcased India’s hidden gems more often. The world’s boldest and most result oriented captain, Michael Clarke playing under Saurav Ganguly for Pune Warriors owned by the Sahara Pariwar, the sponsors of the Indian Cricket team. The world,s best fast bowler Dayle Steyn bowling his heart out for a South Indian team of Hyderabad. A big hitting Pollard playing alongside Sachin for Mumbai Indians under Harbhajan Singh. Muthiah Muralidharan and Daniel Vettori bowling in tandem for Royal Challengers. Fancy a showdown between two of the greatest captains of Indian cricket – Ganguly and Dhoni, and you have it.

A combination of different nationalities joining forces brought together by the business power houses of India and the Kings and Queens of Bollywood entertaining a cricket crazy nation whose thirst for cricket is unsatiable. These scenes would have simply been in the realms of fantasy had it not been for IPL T20.

An Ajinkya Rahane who could be India’s future opener getting to facing Dale steyn or an Awane who is yet to debut on the international stage would not have got an opportunity like this to test their mettle against the best of the best.

The IPL has thrown in many amazing moments like the immaculate power hitting of Dhoni where he sends the ball floating out of the stadium. The switch hits of Pietersen. The Dilscoops. The Upar cuts of Sehwag. Gayle scoring 31 runs in an over and also launching a few into orbit. Albie Morkel smashing 28 runs in an over for a famous victory when all seemed lost. Rahane’s deft touches bringing him 24 runs off an over. Awana fearlessly sending down bouncer after bouncer when Pollard was in his elements and tying him down to the crease. An amazing fiery spell of fast bowling by Steyn against MI. And then the most amazing of them all – Steve Smith flying like superman and pulling back a ball from the air which was sure to land out of the boundary. The way in which he was flying in the air in a blue dress with one arm outstretched looked like watching superman in action sans the cloak. These are a few of my favourite and amazing moments of IPL-V.

A Ganguly of the yesteryears running across the ground in excitement on getting a wicket was hair raising and took me back to the memories of the Natwest trophy final. A 41 year old Brad Hogg diving around and celebrating like a kid at the fall of each wicket. And most interesting of all was the paradox of Ganguly fans. The same crowd that was rooting for Dada with all those placards and banners across the stadium celebrated at his fall! Well that was because he was felled by the Kolkata team. Welcome to the great cricketainment carnival of India!

This year’s tournament has also seen the rise of new players specially a couple of good spinners and the fall of some mighty ones. Yousuf Pathan has been one of the most explosive batsmen in the first few editions. But has turned out to be the biggest flop till now. The greats like Jacque Kallis  who seemed to have cracked the T20 format look to have forgotten how to bat in the shortest version. But Sachin has shown his class against CSK after a few forgettable outings. Kohli is another star whose firepower is yet to be seen. The match winners like Husseys, Shaun Marsh, Ross Taylor too have not performed. Dada at times showed the glimpses of his old self when he was considered the God of the off side but seems to be too slow for the format.

The tournament is getting more and more exciting with 17 matches that went down to the wire. Lot more tight finishes and big hits are expected with the Australians too coming in full force and a few more big guns yet to boom.

The IPL is a power packed treat condensed into just 3.5 hrs where you need not wait for the explosion till the end of the innings if you have missed the opening treat. It is action packed throughout. In such a short span of time you can see many wicket taking deliveries and a lot of wickets tumble. The boring centuries are no more. If there is one, it will certainly be explosive. The thrills are guaranteed. A last over finish if not a last ball finish has become the norm. Now this is value for money. Keep chewing your finger nails and be glued to the entertainment.

The IPL5 2012 winner?

Posted: April 8, 2012 by muthumra in IPL
Tags: , ,

The battle for the IPL5 trophy has already begun!

With each team competing strongly, who is your favorite this time? Go ahead and vote for your team!!!