March 27, 2010

IPL

Chennai, have you forgotten something?

Andrew Hughes


The lottery-winning Samurai warrior with new-found mates © Indian Premier League
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Given that the IPL is months in the planning and the franchises have at their disposal enormous piles of cash, it really is surprising that Chennai forgot to buy any bowlers. Perhaps it just got lost amid all the build-up. You know how it is, no matter how many lists you make there’s always something you forget. Gaudy shirts? Check. Cheerleaders? Check. Grinning man with a drum? Check. Batsmen? Got ‘em. Anything else? No, I don’t think so.

I exaggerate (but only slightly). There is Muttiah Muralitharan of course. But IPL Murali isn’t quite as compelling as normal everyday Murali. He whizzes through his overs smartly enough and there is plenty of smiling, but using the greatest offspinner of all time in this fashion is rather like asking Mozart to play an Abba song on a kazoo. Very nice and all that, but you can’t help feeling that you haven’t quite got your money’s worth.

Still they do have lots and lots of batsmen. Some say that Matthew ‘Matty’ Hayden is over the hill. Tell that to the poor little cricket ball he assaulted on Thursday. He remains, along with Yuvraj Singh, the most brutal leather abuser in the world. He hits the ball so hard you wince at the moment of impact. He was in awesome form against Zaheer Khan, chopping four boundaries with the anger of a mad axe man who had not received his invitation to the annual convention of psychotic wood choppers.

But at a crucial juncture, he called for The Mongoose (sadly not in the way that Tarzan used to summon up the beasts of the jungle) and departed soon after. Bhajji was the Hayden-slayer and celebrated in the traditional manner; that is haring off towards third man roaring like a Samurai warrior who’d just discovered he had the winning lottery ticket. The yellow-shirted Hayden meanwhile retired to a white plastic chair on the boundary, where he demurely sipped a cup of tea looking for all the world like a children’s entertainer taking a break at a village fete.

Cue Suresh Raina who started with a nonchalant cuff to score his first maximum (it was sponsored, but I forget the name of the company). But the most significant boundary of his charming innings came when Dwayne Bravo, around the wicket, aimed a stinging bouncer in the general direction of his nose. Raina leant back like a boxer evading a flailing upper cut and without flinching, merely touched the ball, sending it looping to third man. It was a vast improvement on the eyes-closed swishing technique he employed against the short ball last summer.

Not all the Chennai willow-wielders acquitted themselves quite so well. English viewers retain a soft spot for Parthiv Patel who came on the 2002 tour as a plucky teenager. Indian supporters haven’t always held him such high esteem, but he was doing nicely on Thursday, until he tried to emulate his more illustrious team-mates. Hopping outside the leg stump, he was horrified to find the ball following him. Ryan McClaren’s yorker demolished first Parthiv and then the stumps. In ten pin bowling terms, it was an excellent spare.

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Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Anand on (April 14, 2010, 21:08 GMT)

I have a solution to CSK's bowling woes. Rope in Wasim Akram who is currently wasting himself as the KKR's bowling coach. Wasim with some training can still be a handful; after all he never relied on his run-up but the swish of his golden arm created all the magic. Krish Srikanth who is a good friend (rather his bunny!) of Waz should woe him into CSK. If this is done, then see their bowling magically transformed.

Posted by Harish on (April 13, 2010, 7:43 GMT)

LOL at "but using the greatest offspinner of all time in this fashion is rather like asking Mozart to play an Abba song on a kazoo."

Posted by jeg1939 on (April 3, 2010, 23:09 GMT)

You need 5 good bowlers for any teams backed by brilliant fielders. Vijay made a 46 ball century but Bollinger did the damage he was responsible to dismiss both Watson and yusuf. It is hard to get a better example 20-20 is not a Batsman's game alone!

Posted by Anonymous on (April 1, 2010, 10:36 GMT)

chennai will bounce back in a rocking manner...

Posted by xoxo on (March 30, 2010, 18:29 GMT)

Ironic that the highest wicket taker so far in IPL3 is from CSK

Posted by bino on (March 30, 2010, 13:36 GMT)

please take badrinath out of the team or atleast let him bat down the order.... he is the damn weak link in batting as he considerably reduces scoring rate... pl.. one more thing.. hayden can concentrate more on batting than on bat selection.... if csk needs to win he certainly has to fire...

Posted by RODSWA on (March 30, 2010, 6:47 GMT)

RCB gonna thrash CSK once again in tomorrows match............ hahahahah........ kumble will open bowling and the man with mongoose will be the prey.................

Posted by Anonymous on (March 30, 2010, 3:59 GMT)

i would like to give tips to chennai team. Until bollinger and hussey comes 1.ask hayden to hang around first 10-12 overs and post 120 runs along with vijay who can rotate the strike. 2.let dhoni comes and albie next.since they can hit the ball hard try to put and another 120+ runs to ensure 250 RUNS ON THE BOARD

ALL THE BEST CHENNAI

Posted by jason on (March 30, 2010, 3:32 GMT)

csk teaam>>>>>>>>>> 1.vijay 2.hayden 3.raina 4.hemang badani 5.albie 6.dhoni 7.ashwin 8.murali 9.nitini 10.ganapathy 11.tyagi pl dont change the batting order becoz if dhoni came earlier then others wont get chance 2 play

Posted by Haja on (March 29, 2010, 22:14 GMT)

Why dhoni not intrested to inculading hameng badhani in playing XI (he can bowl also)

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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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