Posts Tagged ‘T20’


In this episode, The CouchExpert discusses the last decade of IPL cricket – specifically with regards to Royal Challengers Bangalore & Chennai Super Kings. The panel discuss key memories, what went right, what went wrong and the road ahead for both these franchises. Specific questions around Kohli’s captaincy invoke raw emotions from the RCB camp, while the CSK camp ponder over who the right man will be to replace MS Dhoni when he calls it time on his career.



Introduction Music: Composer and singer – Rakesh Salian

Panelists: Goutham Chakravarthi, Akshay Balachandra, Suhas Srinidhi, Srikaanth Niranjan Anand

Moderator: Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan



Goutham Chakravarthi

With the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 also taking place in Sri Lanka, the Galle International Cricket Stadium is a hive of activity these days. The man responsible for getting the stadium in shape for the women’s league matches starting later this week is former Sri Lankan Test cricketer Jayananda Warnaweera. Apart from being the curator at the venue and the secretary of the Southern Province Cricket Association, Warnaweera is also on the executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

I am not a great fan of T20 cricket: Warnaweera. He is seen with CouchExperts Chandra and Goutham in this picture.

You played for Galle Cricket Club, and you were among the first to represent Sri Lanka from here. Who are the others?

Like New South Wales in Australia or Mumbai in India, Colombo is the cricket epicentre for Sri Lanka. I played cricket from here for two-and-half decades and was the first to break into the Test team from Galle. It paved the way for others like Champaka Ramanayake and Upul Chandana later. Even Marvan Atapattu is from here. Now, Upul Tharanga from Galle is in the national team as well. So, we have consistently been producing Test players from Galle from the time I broke in. Unfortunately with Galle, like with other outstations being limited in terms of opportunities, a lot of these cricketers move to places like Colombo after school and in search of job opportunities.

Are there steps taken by SLC to ensure talent remains in their regions?

There are various measures being evaluated to ensure we retain people in the local provinces. Chief among them are proposals at the provincial level where eligibility for representing the province will be earned only if you represent a club from the province. There are many such ideas being considered and we hope to provide long-term solutions.

We are about a week from the start of the women’s league games, a lot of work is being done here at the stadium already; how is the interest with ladies cricket here and what kind of numbers do you foresee for these games at Galle?

This is an ICC event and all ticket-related things are handled by the ICC. The good thing is these games are free of charge for the spectators. Sri Lankans have been known to follow the men’s game more and it is the same everywhere. But we still expect to see five to six thousand people to show up at the ground for every match

How do you rate Sri Lankan women’s chances?

In Sri Lanka, not many women play cricket although the interest seems to be on the rise. Understandably, the interest is more in Colombo area than in outstations like Galle. The hope is that with this World Cup being here, and if we do well, it will hopefully generate a lot of interest in the women to take up the game.

You were instrumental in getting the stadium ready first in 1998 and you then played a pivotal role in getting the stadium ready post tsunami. How difficult was it?

The tsunami left the stadium in ruins and we had to do a lot of work to get it up and running. Upwards of 500 million rupees was spent to have the stadium renovated. There were obstructions from the archaeological department that the new building construction would block the view of the historical Galle Fort. I am glad that we were able to get past all that. It was the ground where Shane Warne got to 500 wickets and my good friend Murali retired here a hero after getting the last Indian wicket to get to 800 Test wickets. There are many happy memories at this ground.

Being a former Test player, would you have liked to be part of these T20 tournaments across the world? Do you fancy them?

Personally, I am not a great fan of T20 cricket. Test cricket will always be the pinnacle not T20 cricket. Not even one-day cricket. You need skill and endurance to succeed in Test cricket and that is not the case with T20 cricket. Yes, commercially it is great for cricket. But from a personal stand point, not my choice.

When I run through your stats, I see that you regularly bowled 30-odd overs in an innings. Yet we see today’s bowlers, with all the coaching and scientific approach, spending more time recuperating than playing. Why is that?

In my time, fitness had to do with match routine not gym routine. Unfortunately, most of the youngsters are gym-fit and not match-fit. We didn’t know much else to do other than to bowl for long hours. We built ourselves to bowl and last sessions and days. Perhaps today’s bowlers are not that match fit.

Who are the best young players coming out of Sri Lanka that have caught your eye?

I am impressed a lot by Akila Dananjaya. He will be a very good bowler for Sri Lanka. Dinesh Chandimal has the ability to be a very good player for Sri Lanka. I hope he can go far and achieve a lot.

Who were the best players you played against?

Vivian Richards comes to mind first and then Mohammed Azharuddin. Among bowlers, there were many — Kapil Dev, Michael Holding, Imran Khan and Wasim Akram to name a few.

Who was the most difficult batsman you bowled to and why?

Mohammed Azharuddin. He was wristy and aggressive; and was very difficult to set fields to. He had good hands, and could put spinners off their lines and lengths quickly.

The best captain you have played with or against?

Imran Khan was the best and so was Arjuna Ranatunga. I would rate Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara amongst the best captains in the recent times as well.

As a former off-spinner, who do you pick as the best off-spinner in the world currently?

Both Saeed Ajmal and Graeme Swann have been very good for their teams in the last few years. Both are very fine spinners. I am also very impressed with R Ashwin as he seems to have a lot of variations and seems an intelligent cricketer. With age on his side, and the maturity experience will bring him, he will be a bowler to watch out for in the years to come.

Do you agree with foreign coaches coaching national teams? It seems to be the norm with all international teams these days?

I do not have a problem with local coaches coaching the national team. Sometimes, language can be a barrier for foreign coaches to communicate with the team, especially the young ones. Some teams with good and bright seniors can overcome this. Sometimes, it is seen to be an advantage, as it is seen as not showing favouritism as well. The best man for the job should always coach any team.

Finally, who do you think will win the World T20?

It is a very open tournament. South Africa are a strong team and so are Pakistan. Sri Lanka have the team to win and so do India.

This interview was first published in Island Cricket.

Why reduce overs in cricket?

Posted: September 7, 2011 by Editor in Cricket, Opinion
Tags: , ,

Srikrishnan Chandrasekaran

You never have a football match reduced to 15 minutes a half because of rain or a Grand Slam final reduced to best-of-three sets because of rain or inclement weather. When was the last time you saw a badminton final reduced to a one game affair? Or do you reduce the golf major reduced to a 6-hole final round? So, why only cricket? Who gives them the power to reduce a 20-overs per side game to a 5-over contest and call it a game? Are they afraid of refunds? Or, are they worried that the TV crew will have to work a day extra to set-up their cameras and have less time to move to the next stadium?

Cricket is unique because it has three distinct formats. When overs are the distinguishing factor from one format to the other, how do you call a 20-overs per side game as a T20 game one day and a ODI the other?

The ICC should come up with a new set of rules for the game of Cricket. The teams travel to a cricket country once in 4 years to play a full series. During that time there might be unavoidable circumstances that rules out the entire match irrespective of the purpose of the series. The first ODI between India and England was washed out because of rain. The series will be decided only with the remaining of the 4 matches. The system doesn’t look meaningful. At any cost the series should happen as is either by extending the schedule or reducing the number of days between the next match.

The farce of calling a 20-over per side game as ODI is unique to cricket

There are a lot of other things involved in a series, like preparing the ground, infrastructure to the players and other officials, facilities to the fans and visitors to be handled by the home board. But there should be a backup plan from ICC or respective boards in the case of a match not being held for a reason, and then it should be compensated with in that stipulated period. The 2nd ODI between the teams had been reduced to 23 overs due to heavy rain. The match should be played as per the number of over scheduled. A 50 over game or a 20 over game at any cost should not be reduced. How can a 50 over match be reduced to 23 overs and it is considered as ODI match?

It doesn’t happen in many of the other sports as well as space. Take an example, due to unexpected circumstances a 10th standard public exam can be cancelled and it will be rescheduled. It will never be reduced from 100 marks to 5 marks exam. When a match is measured between 2 teams over 50 overs, how can it suddenly change to 23 overs and measure that performance as an ODI? It doesn’t make any sense.

Even during the last IPL final, the 20 over match was reduced to 17 overs per side. Why should the final of a tournament to be reduced due to rain. To bowl 6 overs it hardly takes about 30 minutes. For 8 PM IST IPL matches, the fans used to arrive at the ground by 6 PM and they will be very happy leaving the ground 30 minutes after the schedule by the playing the quota for a 20 overs match rather than have number of overs reduced.

In case the stipulated overs are not complete on the given day, the ICC/home board should schedule the match to a next day bearing all the cost and other infrastructure. For every space, there is back up plan for execution, why is it there not in cricket? Whether fans, reporters, advertising agencies and etc will be available or not, there should be at least few camera troops from ICC/home board to record the match and telecast it later. ICC can still earn their broadcast charges form their respective vendors / advertising companies by broadcasting the match next day.

The current system looks like ICC/home board want to run the matches because they doesn’t have a backup plan and they want to ensure their profits are met irrespective whether the players / teams / billions of fans across the globe will feel happy or not. Let’s try to play the games as is instead of reducing the overs for any unavoidable circumstances and changing the reality of the game thus reducing the spirit of the game.

 Goutham Chakravarthi

 1 September 2011

Stories about the square being changed from East-West to North-South greeted us as part of the renovation at Old Trafford in the build-up to the game last night. The people had turned-up in numbers and they witnessed a tight finish that England controlled beautifully in its chase. Grey clouds and cold weather not withstanding, there were some sparkling performances by some of the new players on both sides.

Rahane impressed on his debut

Ajinkya Rahane has hardly made a mark in IPL so far but for a game this season where he controlled a chase magnificently from the middle order to win it for Rajastan Royals. Yet, he possessed the confidence of a man coming with two centuries in the Emerging Players’ Tournament in Australia. He looked at ease against this English side on a slow wicket. He cut and pulled with equal ease and handled the spin of Swann and Patel with the confidence of a man who deals with them on a daily basis for his bread and breakfast back home. In short, he hardly looked out of place on his debut and looks a good bet now to partner Tendulkar at the top of the order in the one-dayers.

Rahul Dravid looked like the Rahul Dravid that I saw a lot of at the Chinnaswamy in the first edition of the IPL as captain of Royal Challengers – he looked out of place when having to force the pace. He looked to play a lot of big shots to rotate the strike and was missed by Kieswetter (he can’t keep wickets to slow bowlers from what I saw yesterday) early. When the struggle of Dravid looked familiar, he pulled it back like he did in the second half of the first season – by hitting Samit Patel for three straight sixes. He got out immediately after that, but it will be remembered for him scoring a hat trick of sixes, a feat, I can’t remember him achieving in any other format of the game.

Raina is comfortable with whatever is thrown at him in this format. He again held the innings together on either side of two spectacular collapses and still threatened to push India to a total close to 190 at one stage.

Dernbach was impressive for England even as Bresnan didn’t look very keen for the game. His control over his highly talked about back-of-the-hand slower ones mesmerized the Indian lower order that continues to battle collapses in all formats of the game. It is a worrying trend and it will be interesting to see how Dhoni and Fletcher work a way around this problem and also try and fix their fifth bowler issues. Dernbach, here, took full toll and floored the Indian tail with his slower ones and quick length deliveries. Indian had to settle for a much lesser score at 165 than what they looked good for at one stage.

England controlled the chase beautifully. It was a wicket that suited this Indian attack – slow and low. Pietersen and Kieswetter threatened to take the game away from the Indians when an impressive and unlucky Munaf pulled it back for the Indians. Long left to the sidelines all through the tour, Munaf showed good skills with his range – slower cutters, nip-backers and a good yorker – and troubled all English batsmen. He accounted for Kiestetter and Dhoni accounted for Pietersen with a quick flash leg-side stumping.

Morgan is highly regarded within the IPL circles as well for his ability to adapt to the varying demands of T20 cricket. He crouches so low, you wonder if he picks what the bowler is to bowl by smelling the wicket! In the over immediately after Pietersen got out, he smashed Rohit Sharma for two fours and a six to practically seal the game forEngland.

Morgan’s range of strokes and his general feel for the shorter format might make him one of the prime contenders for the captaincy post for both one-day and T20 cricket sometime in the future. That is a debate that might be inevitable should Cook or Broad look out of depth.

England’s vision for each format is impressive and it shows in the teams they have selected for T20 and one-day cricket. It is a summer where little has gone wrong for England. They have easily been the most prepared of the two teams all through the summer and look good for more given the nature of India’s mental state.

India is still looking for its first win over England this summer. They will have to be more disciplined and better prepared to put one over England on Saturday.