Five for keeps
There's no denying that IPL 2010 has indeed left a bad taste in one's mouth. Still, the old school romantic in me prefers to turn its back on the cesspool of 'alleged' dirty dealings the tournament has got mixed up with. For me, the game is still intact because it is bigger than any given individual, situation or a particular tournament. And so, at the end of this season, I choose to draw my attention to those bits that spelled cricket all the way. While there were a lot more moments but I'd stick to my top five.
David Hussey's catch: There were quite a few inimitable catches taken in this tournament, but Hussey's catch to dismiss Paul Collingwood was my favourite for a couple of reasons. First of all, it was a flat shot that didn't give him too much time to balance himself or react. Second, at one point of time both his feet were in air while pushing the ball back into the playing field. Since both feet were outside the line, had he touched one foot, it would have been a six.
Robin Uthappa's switch-hit six: What an absolute visual marvel it was to see to Uthappa hit that six off Ajantha Mendis. It's one thing hitting a reverse-sweep with power behind the shot, but a switch-hit goes one step ahead. You need to change your guard and grip completely and then play like a southpaw. It needed balance, strength and good connection. And it had all three.
Hayden's Mongoose: The most awaited innovation in modern cricket. The Mongoose has an extremely short blade and a very long handle. The weight taken from the top is distributed in the remainder of the bat which makes it a lot thicker than the normal bat. The toe is three times thicker too. This design increases the bat speed, gives more control and allows the batsman to hit yorkers and low full-tosses with brute force. Hayden unleashed it against Delhi Daredevils at the Kotla and wrecked havoc. But unfortunately the Mongoose made only special appearances in the tournament. Perhaps the old fashioned bat is a better bet especially when you're not in form.
Praveen Kumar's hat-trick: Since the batsmen go after the bowling regardless of what happened on the previous ball, taking a hat-trick is a lot easier in this format as compared to the rest. But still it takes some good bowling to take three in three. Praveen did it beautifully against Rajasthan Royals. The highlight of the hat-trick was the juggling act of Manish Pandey to dismiss Sumit Narwal.
Vintage Sachin: This was not an event or a moment, it was an ongoing experience. Sachin reinforced the importance of technique once again. He showed that you don't need to slog your way to big runs and that it's possible to perform consistently in this format too. He seemed to have reached the state of Nirvana where he's reading the bowlers mind or even better; he's making them bowl where he wants them to. It took him a couple of years to crack the Twenty20 code but voila! When he did, it was pure class.