IPL April 3, 2010

The Punjab horror show

Even Hitchcock couldn't have inflicted such psychological torment on his audience as the Kings XI did in their match against Bangalore
47


This can't be scripted, can it? © Indian Premier League
 
The Hugheses have long been cursed with sensitive stomachs but until Friday, I had assumed that only horror films or surgical documentaries could cause me to reach for the remote control or shield my eyes with a copy of Lily Livered Pansies Monthly. But I now must add a third genre of broadcasting to the list. Henceforth I shall be avoiding any game of cricket involving the Kings XI Punjab and have emailed His Modiness suggesting that he classify all such fixtures as 18 certificates.

It was all the more disturbing because most of the horror was packed into the last quarter of the game. Up until then, I had thought I was watching an entirely different production; a sentimental straight to DVD American movie about a bunch of misfit but likeable kids on a sports team that has never won a game, who finally discover that if they just believe in themselves, they can do it.

It all seemed to be going so well. The bookish boy who had reluctantly accepted the captaincy was threading elegant boundaries in all directions. There was the streetwise youngster Ravi, fighting back with a gutsy little innings. Later came clean-cut Brett, quirky but loveable Sreesanth and brave little Yuvi facing up to the big South African bully who had called him such horrible pie-related names. It was heart-warming stuff.

Then without warning, not even any sinister background music, the dropped catches began. To be strictly accurate, Sreesanth didn’t really drop his chance, since he didn’t at any point have hold of it. Dominic Cork, a new, strident recruit to the ranks of pontificators with microphones deemed it a schoolboy error. Those of us who can remember standing out in the long grass, experiencing that familiar feeling of rising terror as the ball soared inexorably towards us, felt instant affinity with Sreesanth.

The dropped catches continued to rain to earth. Bopara went down on both knees to spill his. Sangakkara, pursuing a high one clutched desperately at it, once, twice, bounced it off his left thigh, got another finger on it, then watched helpless as gravity dashed it from his reach and his left foot involuntarily booted it for four. Slips, slides, wides and mistimed dives diminished Bangalore’s target as Punjab spent their advantage with the recklessness of a millionaire frittering away his fortune.

And all the time, nasty Kevin Pietersen, he of the sinister stubble and evil grin, remained at large. He was joined, when Punjab finally contrived to take a catch, by Robin Uthappa and his newly inflated muscles. Robin has apparently been hitting the gym of late and this has given him new superhuman power. When he hit poor Lee’s best yorkers into the middle of next week, the game was up and the plot had taken a cruel and frankly unnecessary twist.

Even horror films and surgery shows have reasonably happy conclusions, with monsters slain and gaping wounds sewn up neatly. But there was no uplifting conclusion at the end of Friday’s carnage. Sangakkara did a passable impression in the last four overs of one of those minor characters in a Shakespeare bloodfest, wandering about the stage in bewildered fashion as the bodies pile up all around. Even Alfred Hitchcock might have baulked at inflicting such a level of psychological torment on his audience.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • suneth on April 14, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    sanga cant do anything without help of other team, they r not playing as a team, specially UV.UV has divided the punjab team into pieces due loose his captaincy..Without help other team mates sanga cant do anything special...

  • Alok on April 8, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    So what if King's XI are on a losing streak, I still support them. Can't change loyalties just because they don't win. I am sure with continued support from diehard fans like me, they will bounce back - next year hopefully,

  • Janu on April 7, 2010, 2:32 GMT

    i think KXIP is still a pretty good......they have so mny players with class...... oh please everyone can't be da first i da class rit..........

  • Gireesh krishnan.H on April 7, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    Its absolutely a horror show by kxip,all the matches losed by them are close.if they bat well fail on bowling and viceversa.a good sign that they are coming strongly into the field but its to late

  • Kumar on April 6, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Just read your piece. Funny along the lines of PGW. Instead of a whimsical book about village cricket, you might try writing about a modern day Bertie Wooster and Jeeves perhaps! As for the cricket and the state of the Punjab Kings X1, you captured my feelings exactly, as I watched the horror show. Regards

  • fat norm on April 5, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    I must agree with the first comment - your articles ARE getting less funny (still good though)

  • Moniruddin on April 5, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    KKR should try Mashrafee.KKR bowling line is not good enough.

  • MO on April 4, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Ipl's been awesome. @Cricketer84 i agree that some of the commentating has been childish but disagree about the cricket standards which have been excellent (catching apart). The sad thing is the inferiority complex many cricket fans suffer from-unlike soccer fans.This self fulfilling prophecy is the biggest threat to the IPL (fickle,complaining cricket fans). For the first time cricket is glamourous-yes test cricket is the ultimate but youngsters dont watch it.Seems like "traditional" cricket fans would rather people not watch the IPL and tune in to soccer,etc. Instead of continuously disparaging cricket (IPL) why not either concentrate on the contest which always has focal points of interest or just switch off altogether.I dont ever hear soccer fans complain about their sport-not when they have a winning bet like the IPL is.

  • ja on April 4, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    notice not only to his highness Modiness but also to His Excellency Moodinesss, latter having spread Moodiness across the team

  • Lachlan on April 4, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Well then, Punjab shut you up tonight.

  • suneth on April 14, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    sanga cant do anything without help of other team, they r not playing as a team, specially UV.UV has divided the punjab team into pieces due loose his captaincy..Without help other team mates sanga cant do anything special...

  • Alok on April 8, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    So what if King's XI are on a losing streak, I still support them. Can't change loyalties just because they don't win. I am sure with continued support from diehard fans like me, they will bounce back - next year hopefully,

  • Janu on April 7, 2010, 2:32 GMT

    i think KXIP is still a pretty good......they have so mny players with class...... oh please everyone can't be da first i da class rit..........

  • Gireesh krishnan.H on April 7, 2010, 2:00 GMT

    Its absolutely a horror show by kxip,all the matches losed by them are close.if they bat well fail on bowling and viceversa.a good sign that they are coming strongly into the field but its to late

  • Kumar on April 6, 2010, 8:56 GMT

    Just read your piece. Funny along the lines of PGW. Instead of a whimsical book about village cricket, you might try writing about a modern day Bertie Wooster and Jeeves perhaps! As for the cricket and the state of the Punjab Kings X1, you captured my feelings exactly, as I watched the horror show. Regards

  • fat norm on April 5, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    I must agree with the first comment - your articles ARE getting less funny (still good though)

  • Moniruddin on April 5, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    KKR should try Mashrafee.KKR bowling line is not good enough.

  • MO on April 4, 2010, 20:57 GMT

    Ipl's been awesome. @Cricketer84 i agree that some of the commentating has been childish but disagree about the cricket standards which have been excellent (catching apart). The sad thing is the inferiority complex many cricket fans suffer from-unlike soccer fans.This self fulfilling prophecy is the biggest threat to the IPL (fickle,complaining cricket fans). For the first time cricket is glamourous-yes test cricket is the ultimate but youngsters dont watch it.Seems like "traditional" cricket fans would rather people not watch the IPL and tune in to soccer,etc. Instead of continuously disparaging cricket (IPL) why not either concentrate on the contest which always has focal points of interest or just switch off altogether.I dont ever hear soccer fans complain about their sport-not when they have a winning bet like the IPL is.

  • ja on April 4, 2010, 14:51 GMT

    notice not only to his highness Modiness but also to His Excellency Moodinesss, latter having spread Moodiness across the team

  • Lachlan on April 4, 2010, 14:09 GMT

    Well then, Punjab shut you up tonight.

  • nish on April 4, 2010, 10:21 GMT

    I don't think kings XI is poor team. It is just that they are not clicking as a unit . If you see their last match against RCB they should have not lost that match at any cost but this time it was the fielding that let them down(how horrendous was that fielding).KXI are discovering new ways of loosing they play each time. It is now impossible( well almost) for them to reach top 4 but they can still play spoilsport to others chances as except MI no team is still certain of semis.

  • the name's - saraswat, ilin saraswat on April 4, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    team management and ex captain yuvraj. but its plainly yuvraj's fault.he is not only dividing the team but also not supporting sangakkara as well. he always rpretends himself as a big hero before his home crowd, and maximum times he failed due to this proudy behaviour. its been sad that player like yuvraj is spoiling himself. team india has a big hope frrom him in coming carribbean T20 wc. also he is failing on his home pitches so what will he do in world cup 2011 ???also the 2nd biggest factor of KXIP's failure is the think tank and the team management. team management uselessly gave chances and chances to players like shreesanth, yuvraj singh, mahela and even sangakkara. They waited upto 8 matches for them to click, but unfortunately they didnt. they need to take harsh steps like delhi devils does with dilshan and devilliers. in waiting n waiting n waiting....they (KXIP) make way towards exit, from the IPL3 for themselves. Poor team with a Poor owner. Priety u got my sympathy!!

  • Nostradamus on April 4, 2010, 9:23 GMT

    mark my words, Kings XI to win tonight.

  • ASDF on April 4, 2010, 5:48 GMT

    This is a hilarious article!However I feel that it takes away credit from RCB who actually did bat very well.

  • donSilva on April 4, 2010, 4:43 GMT

    I don't thing not only Sangakkara but even the greatest ever captain ever in the world could have done miracles when own players are (intentionally) under-performed. Wait till the world T-20 (less than) one months time to evaluate the captaincy qualities properly. The only mistake made by Saga was not taking a strong decision to drop YV. God bless the capitans who have players like Y.V. Y.Vs success in the first edition was partly due to Sang's contribution

  • SriGuru on April 4, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    Buuild team from scratch.

  • Donald on April 4, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    I agree with 'JyNx' (below). Your articles have become less and less amusing the longer the IPL has gone on. This is by far the least funny of your pieces that I have read. It is a sort of informal match bulletin with the author having taken a bit of artistic liecense. Hope your writing goes back to it's usual high standards once the world of cricket gets back to it's regualar programme of international cricket.

  • Anonymous on April 4, 2010, 0:26 GMT

    HEY Andrew, you are making fun of my punjab team, but I really enjoyed it. What a fantastic article! I was there in the stadium during this match and I was so disappointed at how they managed to loose when they were looking comfortable 2 win this match. But dude, your observations are great. I have read your previous articles as well. All of them are pretty cool and funny. And the noticeable thing in all those were your observations.

  • Ameera on April 4, 2010, 0:14 GMT

    I totally agree... i've been a supporter of Punjab since IPL 2008, but this yeah, it's actually negatively impacting on my health... I'm sure Friday's debacle against Bangalore has left me suffering from hypertension! As much as i love watching Brett lee... err, i mean supporting Punjab, i just can't do this any more. my family has threatened to drug me next time they play.. the constant screams of "why???? for christ's sake, why??? my 6 year old niece can catch better than that!"" apparently has them worried for my mental health...

  • Anonymous on April 3, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    bad luck guys(KIXP). don`t worry next year we`ll come very hard on each team. u`ll see.

  • Groupman75 on April 3, 2010, 21:08 GMT

    Wonderful article........

    Sanga cant hold a catch Yuvi cant hit a six

    love to see the expressions on Priety's face.. changes colors faster than any bollywood actress.

  • nero on April 3, 2010, 20:35 GMT

    Nice article, some one mentioned Kaif as captain..Ha ha...come back to sanity man..Kaif is dead as a crickerter. Btw I would like to see Sanga's team plating gully cricket, may be they can win there!!

  • pradz on April 3, 2010, 19:20 GMT

    IPL 3 has been/is undoubtedly the worst for King's XI ... and NO ONE in the team is performing ! I find it funny that Sangakkara's captaincy has been the point being spoken about in most articles. So I assume the thinking is the squad will miraculously start performing if the captaincy is changed ... while they're at it they should find replacements for Lee, Sreeshanth, Marsh, Mahela, Bopara, Yuvraj, Chawla ... well that's half the side to begin with !

  • AJ100 on April 3, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    Great Article Andrew. Have read some of your articles till now and its really funny and keep up the good work you are doing. It really brings a smile and a few laughters on the faces of our friends here when we read your articles!!

    One thing, be careful of sending such letters to "His Modiness", he may slap a 50% fine on you and ban you from writing another article for "one week" as it may amount to ridiculing an "ordinary" IPL side...!! lol...!!!

    All the best mate.

  • paddy on April 3, 2010, 18:37 GMT

    Great article..hilarious...Punjab continue their horrowr show..continuing with Irfan and Bret lee in the final overs when clearly they weren't able to contain. What heppened to Sangakkara?

  • rakesh on April 3, 2010, 18:36 GMT

    "And all the time, nasty Kevin Pietersen, he of the sinister stubble and evil grin, remained at large." Hilarious. I thought you'd make fun of Kevin Pietersen's confession of watching IPL on TV in Bangladesh.

  • Somyaranjan Dass on April 3, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    First of all u require a professional captain in position to lead Mahela Jayawardena is a experienced captain in the side. Yuvi should be kept as Vice Captain since he is the trump card for big innings. Irfan Pathan along with Sreesant should open bowling. Lee should be kept as third option. Mohd .Kaif sould bat at no 3 and yuvraj at 4 or 5th Position as his normal position.

    Come on Punjab u have buck up if not victorious..U should keep some pride of ur team.

  • Cricketer84 on April 3, 2010, 17:33 GMT

    Nicely written. Punjab has been having a horror show of late. Speaking of that, the IPL has been becoming monotonous. Its following a very boring pattern:

    - Turn up the tv each day to find the same old annoying commentary team with the ever booming Ravi Shastri

    - Lots of fours and sixes and cheerleaders

    - Lots of pretty ordinary cricket too including misfields and dropped crickets

    - Commentators praising IPL, Modi, Sponsors, Team so lavishly that it makes one sick!

    - If anyone dare speak their mind against IPL or anything related to IPL, they get reprimanded. Just like Gambhir did and I will be for posting this comment :)

    Even Indians are bored of IPL, and next year we will have more games. I would prefer to watch a country vs country game anytime over an IPL game!!

  • SLfan on April 3, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    As I see, the reason for this kind of disasterous situation is the enormous pressure of not having a good bowling lineup. Batsmen were(are) in a huge pressure, without knowing what kind of target to set (since their bowlers are very capable of taking the opposition in to whatever target ). I believe that the turning point for Punjab in this season was their 2nd match, where they failed to defend 203. That match let-down their entire campaign. Captain alone can do nothing without having a proper bowling line-up. For those who are criticizing the captaincy of Sangakkara, will definitely get the answer in the coming T20 world cup, where Sanga will get the chance of handling a bowling line up which include Malinga, Murali, Mathews & more.

  • Thrishal on April 3, 2010, 16:01 GMT

    I think bowling and feilding let down the Kings..Lee and Sree are not in great shape. I think bowling and feilding is the key. Sangakkara is a good captain but if others are not helping him what can he do?. On the day Mahela is so dangerous player so I think he should bat with at No3.

  • Mav on April 3, 2010, 15:53 GMT

    Why are they not playing Adrian Barath.. a small counterattackling batsman...I think he can give impets to the top of the order

  • akhilesh on April 3, 2010, 15:30 GMT

    Realy, there are no chance to going semifinal for punjab, we also say punjab ka chuha. plz yuvraj loss your weight.

  • Suresh on April 3, 2010, 14:27 GMT

    Great Article Andrew....almost as funny as Punbjab's feilding....and to think that Gambhir called Rajasthan an ordinary side, it would be interesting to know what he has to say about Punjab when he plays them.....

  • Akheel on April 3, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    Dude..Now that is some real shit that you ve written here (u know what meant..) cant discribe the Kings any better.

    loved it! keep it up!!

  • Pryah on April 3, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    ha ha.. damn hilarious..!!

  • NS on April 3, 2010, 12:22 GMT

    "Those of us who can remember standing out in the long grass, experiencing that familiar feeling of rising terror as the ball soared inexorably towards us, felt instant affinity with Sreesanth." - this bit was awesome. So true. This is one of your good pieces.

  • cricReader on April 3, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    IPL providing lots of material for you guys. Keep it coming. Good for one or two chuckles this one.

  • Sunaina on April 3, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    Audacious cricket that... unbelievable how this tournament has seen many instances of extremely poor fielding! Your article though, Mr Hughes, added a lot of humourous undertones, which, sadly were nowhere to be seen in the actual match, else it may have made the entire ordeal slightly more bearable!

  • nazeer M.R. on April 3, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    If KINGS XI punhajb wants to play internationl cricket ( rather than winning ) . following steps to be taken immediately. 1.Sangakara Capatincy to be removed ( Jewardhanaey or Kaif is god choice ) 2. I dont know , still relying on LEE, since he is out of International and match Practice for the past 7 months 3.Change the batting order , bring back kaif and ask to bat No.3 and Pathan should open the batting 4.TOM MOODY ???? there is no point of keep him as a coach

  • Ashwin on April 3, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Nice article. But its send shudders down my spine just trying to imagine what the players are going through.

  • aloka on April 3, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    Sangakkara was trying his best but the fielding and the bowling was awful,mahela should open with Marsh and Bobara must sitout

  • moosa khan on April 3, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    i advise rajasthan royals and deccan chargers to play first ten overs with powerful ground shots by not getting out and the second 10 ovwers lofting shorts for sixes if they want to win ipl t2o

  • moosa khan on April 3, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    i think sangakkara captaincy let down th punjab team he is ubfit captain had it been yuvraj the pcture would have been differnt instead of giving brettlee he should have given bowling to yuvraj or srisanth i think this is the last chance to change the captain

  • Jayakumar K on April 3, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    I think the Kings XI are very down on morale and something miraculous has to happen to take them back to track.

  • Utkarsh Karkare on April 3, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    This was the FUNNIEST article on any Cricket match I have read in a LONG LONG time !! Thank You Andrew, for infusing me with such a heavy dose of laughter and entertainment.

    I'm a Mumbai supporter, by the way, so the laughs had an impish/evil angle to it.

    Cheers !!!

  • Agent.Logic_ on April 3, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    The one Sanga dropped is as painful as they come in the game. And I wonder, why did Yuvraj go for the difficult-but-catchable skier one-handed, when he could (might?) have taken it cleanly if he had gone for it with both hands?

  • JyNx on April 3, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    Not as funny as your previous ones. Your standards are dropping article by article. Who can blame you? It's hard getting inspiration from the IPL, let alone something to write about. If you don't want to write about, then don't it is wasting your time.

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  • JyNx on April 3, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    Not as funny as your previous ones. Your standards are dropping article by article. Who can blame you? It's hard getting inspiration from the IPL, let alone something to write about. If you don't want to write about, then don't it is wasting your time.

  • Agent.Logic_ on April 3, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    The one Sanga dropped is as painful as they come in the game. And I wonder, why did Yuvraj go for the difficult-but-catchable skier one-handed, when he could (might?) have taken it cleanly if he had gone for it with both hands?

  • Utkarsh Karkare on April 3, 2010, 7:45 GMT

    This was the FUNNIEST article on any Cricket match I have read in a LONG LONG time !! Thank You Andrew, for infusing me with such a heavy dose of laughter and entertainment.

    I'm a Mumbai supporter, by the way, so the laughs had an impish/evil angle to it.

    Cheers !!!

  • Jayakumar K on April 3, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    I think the Kings XI are very down on morale and something miraculous has to happen to take them back to track.

  • moosa khan on April 3, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    i think sangakkara captaincy let down th punjab team he is ubfit captain had it been yuvraj the pcture would have been differnt instead of giving brettlee he should have given bowling to yuvraj or srisanth i think this is the last chance to change the captain

  • moosa khan on April 3, 2010, 8:22 GMT

    i advise rajasthan royals and deccan chargers to play first ten overs with powerful ground shots by not getting out and the second 10 ovwers lofting shorts for sixes if they want to win ipl t2o

  • aloka on April 3, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    Sangakkara was trying his best but the fielding and the bowling was awful,mahela should open with Marsh and Bobara must sitout

  • Ashwin on April 3, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    Nice article. But its send shudders down my spine just trying to imagine what the players are going through.

  • nazeer M.R. on April 3, 2010, 9:21 GMT

    If KINGS XI punhajb wants to play internationl cricket ( rather than winning ) . following steps to be taken immediately. 1.Sangakara Capatincy to be removed ( Jewardhanaey or Kaif is god choice ) 2. I dont know , still relying on LEE, since he is out of International and match Practice for the past 7 months 3.Change the batting order , bring back kaif and ask to bat No.3 and Pathan should open the batting 4.TOM MOODY ???? there is no point of keep him as a coach

  • Sunaina on April 3, 2010, 10:16 GMT

    Audacious cricket that... unbelievable how this tournament has seen many instances of extremely poor fielding! Your article though, Mr Hughes, added a lot of humourous undertones, which, sadly were nowhere to be seen in the actual match, else it may have made the entire ordeal slightly more bearable!