April 23, 2010

Indian Premier League

Here, men with the ball get all the flak!

Jamie Alter

Having seen Kieron Pollard and Saurabh Tiwary play Dale Steyn in the IPL, Soumya Bhattacharya would really like to see them face him in a game of cricket. He writes in the Hindustan Times:

It's all very well for some of us to say that bowling in T20 deserves a different set of skills and a yorker at 145kmph is a yorker at 145kmph and that's that, but, come, come, we shouldn't delude our- selves. We are all adults, aren't we? Or so we like to believe.

In Sportstar, Kunal Diwan looks at the role of the finisher in the IPL. Seeing an innings through to a flourishing conclusion is a skill as specialised as bowling at the death. Finishers, thus, have their own sweet place in Twenty20 cricket, where three good overs — or three bad ones — can heavily influence the outcome of a match, he writes.

With the condensation of the game blurring lines between roles and elevating shorter spans of play to the status of an increased, more determinant proportion of the match, the importance of a player who provides the critical thrust in a few, potentially game-changing overs cannot be overstated. Then again, the art of finishing an innings — whether batting first or in pursuit — is exemplified by those who are perpetually aware of the bearing of their chunk of runs in the grand scheme of team interest. Awareness, however, is one thing. Its translation into reality is quite another, since the best interests of the finisher are perforce in conflict with those of the bowlers, the fieldsmen and the opposing captain.

In the same magazine, Raakesh Natraj looks at the rise of R Ashwin during IPL 2010.

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Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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