Skip to main content

Virtual Indicator!

The big final tomorrow concludes what has been a long-long tournament. Most of the 76 matches have been intriguing, offering something new if you happen to be a curious follower. ‘Off-field’ news kept the cynics and detractors busy, yet it wouldn’t be great idea to ignore or remain unperturbed with all these avoidable developments. It could be incidental but each and every edition of the IPL has had these aspects associated with it - close games, exceptional individual performances and celeb controversies; IPL-5 wasn’t an exception. There could different ways to look back upon what we have witnessed this season; the performances with context to the T20 WC later this year has been chosen here.

Those in awe of Chris Gayle’s onslaught or Sunil Narine’s foxy spells or Dwayne Bravo’s clinical finishes would for one moment or the other predicted a strong West Indian side for the WC. Addition of Dwayne Smith, Kemar Roach, Kerion Pollard and Marlon Samuels to the above names proposes a potent side on paper; a successful WC campaign could provide the much-needed impetus for West Indian cricket. Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Dilshan and Malinga were hot and cold during the last couple of weeks; probably a fall-out of weariness from international cricket. We got to see a bit of Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara as well, but they too didn’t have much of an impact. The Lankans are a strong unit in their backyard, yet SL’s impact players need to find their form over the next couple of months to entertain thoughts of lifting the trophy for the first time.

England has had an iffy stance on the concept of the IPL, and the lack of interested owners for having English players hasn’t provided any indicator about the T20 form for the defending champions. Kevin Pietersen participated as long as he could and notched up enough runs, including a fine ton, to suggest good adaptability to conditions. Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum and Daniel Vettori wouldn’t want to relish their performances this season, for some reason each of them managed to under-perform. New Zealand has always been the dark horse in every WC, but if IPL-5 is the parameter to evaluate, then NZ appear woefully short on resources for the conditions.

There is one team though which would be pleased with the way its players have performed - South Africa. Jacques Kallis didn’t exactly set the stage on fire, aka IPL-4, but didn’t appear to be searching for runs. Morne Morkel, Dale Steyn, Wayne Parnell were exceptional during the stint. Alfonso Thomas, Albie Morkel and Johan Botha too performed to par. There is one player though who continues to move on his own merry way - AB de Villiers, riding on a wonderful purple patch! Australian players joined the tournament late and only a few made it to the playing XI’s. Warner, David Hussey, White and Watson looked good during their stay; Smith and Mike Hussey were in sublime form indicating a formidable T20 batting line-up. Brad Hodge and Brad Hogg, the two retired men, too had their say in the matches they got to play. Australia hasn’t had its hands on this trophy and these players would be hoping to continue this momentum to Sri Lanka.

Where does India stand in this mix-up? Sehwag, Gambhir looked fine, and so did Rohit Sharma (in patches). Raina and Virat had an inexplicable drop in form, while Jadeja continued to notch up rare, occasional outstanding performances. Rahane, Dhawan have provided the back-up options in case the batting order needs a justifiable replacement. Dhoni like he has been throughout his career has found form out of nowhere, but much more would be expected of him. India’s big worry though is the bowling resources. Praveen, Munaf, RP Singh, Zaheer appeared off-color, Umesh looked good, Ashwin, Rahul Sharma, Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla and Harbhajan performed surprisingly below-par. Varun Aaron had a look-in but doesn’t appear to be India’s death bowling option. Shahbaz Nadeem, Balaji and Awana are names that would have selector’s eyes glued to them. India’s bowling selection for the WC would be a very tough job and contentious with respect to each and every bowler picked.

Pakistan can be mercurial but somehow the T20 format suits their style of play the best. Bangladesh is another side that can spring a surprise; Shakib-al-Hasan’s performances are an indicator to that notion. Netherlands won’t be a part of the WC, but it was good to see Ryan ten Doeschate use his opportunities. On IPL-5 form you could safely assume South Africa and West Indies as strong contenders for the WC. But before we get into the WC mode let us sit back and see whether we have a new captain lifting the IPL trophy or MSD’s boys completing the hat-trick!


Popular posts from this blog

The Captaincy Conundrum!

8 teams, 60 matches and 7 ‘Indian’ skippers (discounting Duminy and Miller) constituted the recently concluded 9th edition of the Indian Premier League. This featured 2 new teams, unfamiliar captains (Raina, Vijay), seasoned IPL leaders (Gambhir, Rohit, Dhoni), a motivational veteran (Zaheer Khan) and Indian cricket’s man of the moment - Virat Kohli captaining a powerful side. Right through pre-tournament previews till the beginning of the finals, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) wasn’t the most fancied team in the competition. The team was led by the only non-Indian skipper - David Warner, who didn’t have any prior experience of leading Australia. The middle order appeared fragile and injuries to experienced Indian international players (Nehra and Yuvraj) added to the perceptual woes.
Quietly and probably facilitated by the lack of attention, SRH managed to string in consistent wins and stay in the hunt for the title. The template of SRH was designed to ensure penetration with the new ball …

Which Kohli Will Turn Up For The 2017-18 Season?

1st ODI, India vs England, Pune, 15 January 2017. Score 63-4. Dhoni has just been dismissed. The original target of 351, now reads 288 off 229. Kohli is batting on 27*. India’s trio of all-rounders, relatively unfancied, to follow. Kohli scores his 17th hundred in a run-chase, but the hero of the day is Kedar Jadhav whose prominence in the 200-run stand with Kohli took the game away from the opposition. Kohli the batsman extends his incredible record of successful hundreds in run-chases to 17, but Kohli the captain (leading in only his 18th ODI) has found a bankable lower-middle order batsman; the latter more critical as there only 2 more games to play to before India defends its Champions Trophy title in England later in the year.
1st Test, India vs Australia, Pune, 23-25 February 2017. An extraordinarily dry surface greets the opening contest of the big ticket series. India dismiss Australia for 260 after losing the toss. Kohli walks in to bat at 44-2. Two balls later Kohli is back in …

Satisfactory Grades In A Tough Examination!

The googly from Amit Mishra on the last delivery of the 85th over of Sri Lanka’s second innings overwhelmed the number 11 batsman Nuwan Pradeep and sealed a famous, rare series win for India in the island nation. Celebrations, accolades followed and a sense of satisfaction settled on the contemplation of India’s away tours’ log-book for the last two seasons (Oct 2013-Sep 2015). India travelled to 6 test-playing nations within ~21 months, played 17 matches, won only 3 but ticked a lot of boxes affirmatively.
Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Rahane, Dhoni were India’s top 7 in the first test against South Africa in Johannesburg in December 2013; Rahul, Pujara, Rahane, Kohli, Rohit, Binny, Naman Ojha formed the top 7 in the latest test at Colombo versus Sri Lanka. Ashwin, Zaheer, Ishant, Shami were the frontline bowlers then and Ashwin, Mishra, Ishant, Umesh in the recently concluded test. Dhoni retired (from tests) in that phase, likes of Gambhir & more recently Harbhajan were g…