March 13, 2010

IPL

Dr Owais and Mr Shah

Andrew Hughes


The manic version of Owais Shah took over halfway into his innings © Getty Images (file photo)
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Wing Commander Strauss is not the only English chap to be AWOL for the Bangladeshi campaign. Some of the SKY stalwarts have stayed at home, recharging their batteries after an arduous tour of South African vineyards. So it is something of a B Team of microphone botherers who have travelled to Chittagong. When I turned on today, Bob Willis was grumbling that England had not selected Tredwell and I’ve no doubt, in a parallel universe, another Bob was grumbling that they had selected Tredwell.

I left him to it, because, much as I love a good old English moan today was not the day for negative vibes of any kind. Our clocks have now been reset to IPL Time and as we all know, Emperor Modi permits no frowns in his kingdom. The IPL hype, emitted by hundreds of media outlets, has been building into a kind of barely suppressed scream of anticipation, only audible to bats and accountants, that today reached a crescendo amid fireworks, sequins and the distant sound of Lionel Ritchie.

Now as you may remember, last time round we Britishers were forced to sit through Mr Modi’s circus in the company of Ronnie Irani. That was bad enough. But for a while this year it looked like we would have to spend seven weeks hunched over our computer screens peering at Youtube. Then at the last minute, ITV4 secured the rights and we all breathed a sigh of relief. At last, a proper television channel who could do justice to the biggest cricket tournament on the planet.

Hmmmm. ITV4’s IPL effort is fronted by one of those multi-purpose presenters who appears to have been parachuted into the studio with a copy of “The Dummies Guide To Cricket”. He has Mandira Bedi to help him but she was trying a little too hard. For instance, at one point, with the Knight Riders in trouble, she suggested that Shah Rukh Khan’s decision to change the team colours to purple and gold wasn’t working. I’ll admit that purple doesn’t really bring out the colour of Ganguly’s eyes, but it’s surely too early to write off the new uniforms just yet.

Meanwhile, out on the pitch, Owais Shah appeared determined to bring a touch of the County Championship to the IPL with a sleepy 17 in 27 balls. But rather like the mighty Shiv, the former Delhi Daredevils bench-warmer has a split personality. After marking time for a while, the mild-mannered Dr Owais transformed into wild Mr Shah and promptly went berserk in an un-Middlesex fashion to smash a match-winning half-century that should secure his place in the team for a few more days.

The game itself was a thoroughly entertaining thrash, complete with regulation tight finish and a number of early entries for “Silliest Shot Of The Tournament” as the Deccan Chargers took it turns to see who could get out in the limpest fashion. Watching VVS Laxman play Twenty20 is like asking a Michelin Star chef to prepare cheeseburger and fries. But at least he had a go. The IPL is like a karaoke night. Yes you can look a bit silly, but you have to get into the spirit of the thing.

Finally, I should mention the sterling work done by horticultural expert Mike Haysman. He was very concerned about the possibility of dew and so spent a great deal of time on his knees fondling the turf. Would there be dew? Would there not be dew? Might it already be dewy but we just don’t know it? The viewer was on tenterhooks. He had, on our behalf, been speaking to Murali Kartik, so was able to tell us what happens to a cricket ball when the dew gets involved. Apparently, it gets wet. You see, the IPL doesn’t only entertain; it informs as well.

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Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Anonymous on (March 24, 2010, 4:36 GMT)

truely hilarious.....

Posted by Peter Tranter on (March 20, 2010, 22:13 GMT)

The IPL is a golden (!) opportunity for UK to climb out of economic depression via export led growth of readily produced green top drop in wickets. Everyone else in the cricket coins the cash so why not the English groundsmen? That'll liven everyone up! I have a magic remote which mutes my big screen TV and demutes the little monitor. With one press of its button I remove the inane cricket commentators and turn on the golf chat. Priceless, and my cure for a blunder. I emigrated to OZ to escape only to find the excessive verbiage is world wide. I'm thinking of promoting the WCCICC-the World Cricket Commentators Instant Crap Cup. First prize solitary confinement with an hour of the winners comments, repeated endlessly throughout the period of confinement whilst forced to read the notice "We Have Pictures, Mate!". Anyone interested? Only the commentators and host teams I suspect.

Posted by naved on (March 15, 2010, 18:16 GMT)

haha... andrew i just hope that this article is for fun and humor.. and not written by an "oh-give-me-back-my-old-english-summers" chap...

though i enjoyed the 'split personality' of owais shah and comments on haysman....

Posted by Anonymous on (March 15, 2010, 13:21 GMT)

Andrew – As a fellow Brit – thought I’d add my two pence and have a customary moan. I think you’ve been too kind to the ITV 4 team. Vikram can put together coherent sentences and Roni makes the odd interesting comment – albeit I think his preparation for each game shouldn’t be spending two hours in the local.... Now the host should stick to non-league football or whatever else he does. And Ms Bedi – again ‘trying to hard’ doesn’t quite cover it. ‘Absolutely useless’, is still putting it mildly. Think Bedi and the host (whoever he is) should spend time at ITV 5. And if Bedi does need to stay – she should stay quiet and just smile!! Andrew – why don’t you fire off your CV to ITV – we still have about 3,546 games in IPL 3 left and you could sort ‘em out. Otherwise – I think I can stomach Vikram and Roni having a casual chat in between overs, wickets balls, etc etc... End of rant! I suppose we should be grateful that we have some form of cricket which is free-to-air.

Posted by Imtiaz on (March 15, 2010, 4:38 GMT)

Andrew, I must agree with you on VVS & Mike Haysman part. I still don't understand what was wrong with Mike, he was behaving like a loony. Flipping the bat up and down!!

May be we might be up for a bombshell, Mile might be planning to join IPL 4 as a captain and is practicing toss!!

Posted by SomersetCiderBoy on (March 14, 2010, 8:59 GMT)

to be fair VVS Laxman played a few blinding innings for lancashire last season, thoroughly enjoyable knocks.

Posted by sathish on (March 14, 2010, 5:58 GMT)

Andrew, inorder to become fansy, you are making fun of others.. inorder to become famous, Mike Haysman and Modi doing like that.. so if they are wrong, you are also wrong..

Posted by Anonymous on (March 14, 2010, 4:36 GMT)

LOL.. first time i ever laughed reading an article on cricinfo

Posted by Mia Amani on (March 14, 2010, 2:56 GMT)

LmAo!!!! Love your articles as always.. The IPL seems to have all the money in the world but the most clueless and dim-witted commentators ever. keep the articles coming!

Posted by desiforlife on (March 13, 2010, 20:10 GMT)

Well written,Andrew. The quality of the IPL could really be great if megalomaniac Modi will let it be just cricket and not a display for his and his coetrie.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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