March 20, 2010

IPL

What happens in a strategic time-out?

Andrew Hughes


The Royal Challengers Bangalore practise their mateyness skills during the time-out © Associated Press
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I have a question. What happens during the strategic time-out? I ask, because those of us watching in the UK are apparently not allowed to see. This secrecy is maddening and has led me to invent all kinds of fantasies about what might go down in those magical two minutes. Do the cheerleaders re-enact scenes from the Mahabharata? Do physicists wheel on a portable Hadron Collider and run through a few collisions? Is there dancing? Fireworks? Or is just a bunch of cricketers milling about aimlessly? I’d really like to know.

Sadly, for us Brits, this mystery interval is just another excuse to whisk the viewer away from the stadium where all the exciting things happen and drag them back to the place where conversations go to die. Yes, the ITV studio is the Bermuda Triangle for banter, a black hole for badinage. There they sit, Vikram and Alec and Graeme and the other Graham, like defendants in a courtroom, cagily reading extracts from the Sportman’s Manual of the Bleeding Obvious, whilst their hosts attempt to trick them into saying something, anything that might pass for interesting.

There was a marginal improvement on Thursday, because Mandira Bedi was trusted to run the show on her own and the second when that decision was made can be officially designated a Moment Of Success. Like a flower that has finally struggled into full sunlight, her personality spread out and she was able to do her thing. She takes the radical view that Twenty20 cricket is supposed to be showbiz. So does Danny Morrison, which is presumably why his every utterance is delivered in the style of a 1970s American chat show host going to a commercial break.

And speaking of commercials, I hope, like me, you’ve been playing Advertising Bingo. If you have, then you’ll have been delighted with the efforts of Russel Arnold on Thursday. In the space of a few overs, the eager Sri Lankan announced the IPL’s first Nearly DLF Maximum, when the ball fell just short of the rope; declared that a dropped catch by Dravid would have been a Karbonn Kamal catch; seized upon a Citi Moment of Success when Rajasthan finally managed to hit a six and then suggested that now might be a good moment to take a Max Mobile Time Out. A full set! Nice work, Russel, you’ve certainly stepped up to the corporate plate.

Although the game itself was, to be frank, a little one-sided, I was very impressed with the Bangalore Challengers (Royal). Despite the presence of a number of what are politely called veterans, they flung themselves about in the field like lambs frolicking in spring pastures. Well, not quite, but you get the idea. And Steyn and friends even found time to stage a recreation of cricket’s finest hour, with their tribute to the Bodyline series of 1932-33. It made an English heart glad to once more see the ball whistling around ears, smashing into helmets, bouncing off shoulders and so on.

Rajasthan’s interpretation, on the other hand, was rather less convincing. Indeed had Douglas Jardine had to rely on Munaf and Morkel to implement his plan, I’d suggest that Bradman, McCabe and chums might not have had anything to worry about. If all the fielders were clustered on the leg side, you can be sure that M&M would be offering up full bungers outside off stump. "Rajasthan thali for dinner", read one banner. Quite.

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Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Dishit on (April 1, 2010, 6:37 GMT)

Hillarious post! Enjoyed reading it.

Posted by Ravi on (March 26, 2010, 8:53 GMT)

Obviously you meant Kamasutra (not Mahabharata)!

Posted by crickfan on (March 21, 2010, 9:03 GMT)

Was it just me or did anyone hear Danny Morrison telling 'that one's for you Mr.Andrew Hughes' during the match between Mumbai Indians and Bangalore?Seems like Mr.Danny read this blog and isn't too happy with it.

Posted by Sanjay on (March 21, 2010, 6:01 GMT)

//Really I hope they tone it down a bit with the commercials, I feel violated with the amount of commercials that was being shoved down your throat.

One has to be really shallow to be fine with all these commercials. The commentators could also do well by not acting like corporate lapdogs.//

Well said!!!!!!!

Posted by Rahul on (March 21, 2010, 5:32 GMT)

Very funny....U shld do a solo (Article ofcourse :) ) for our mandira. She truley deserves it man....

Posted by Sithum.S on (March 21, 2010, 4:04 GMT)

Hi I am replying to the comment made by Meh regarding the dislike towards IPL. I really don't agree with you on your comments at all. I think IPL is just what you need to get the cricketers motivated. for eg: the 2009 IPL benefited the SRI LANKAN team chases of making to the finals in ENGLAND. IPL gives me thrill when I see Sachin Tendulkar & Sanath Jayasuriya opening, Yuvraj, Bret Lee & sangakkara in the same side. i know its surrounded by lot of glamor and propaganda but you need that in order to attract crowds. well this is 21st century & every thing is revolving on a palm of a dollar bill. it doesn't necessarily have to IPL only even international cricket these days are based around advertisements. so i think its good for you to get use to it or stop making useless comments.

Posted by TD_160 on (March 21, 2010, 3:57 GMT)

Completely agree. Why would they need "strategic time-outs" in cricket. It isn't like basketball or ice hockey where it's a free flowing game. Cricket is stop-start, there is plenty of time for strategy in between balls and overs and during drinks breaks.

Posted by Abhilash Veettil on (March 21, 2010, 3:48 GMT)

What happens during strategic time out??? Well i change the channel, eaaasy

Posted by Manju on (March 21, 2010, 3:15 GMT)

Wow, looks like you were glued to the IPL on the telly, mate. Being an ardent fan of RCB, I atleast took a break in between to not notice a couple of things you've pointed to.

Don't waste what little is left of your gray matter in trying to figure out the obvious.

Posted by jay on (March 21, 2010, 2:56 GMT)

Hillarious...

P.S. I am glad someone else finds these Indian commentators a touch ridiculous. And please, can someone put an end to Morrison's verbal diarrhea . I have exclusively started watching IPL matches on mute. Try it. Its much more enjoyable and might I say a little productive too.

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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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