IPL April 16, 2011

What do you do with the baby and the bath water?

Throw out the baby, of course like the West Indies board did

Wednesday, 13th April I’ll be honest. I’m fast falling out of love with Kochi. First there was that business with the shirts. I mean, orange? Really? They said nothing about orange when they bought the franchise. Perhaps that was what all the squabbling was about. But there was no clue on the logo. I was expecting a regal purple outfit, with cool embroidered silver tusks. What did we get? Bilious tangerine. They look like fast-food servers on their lunch break, or street marketers promoting a new brand of orange juice.

And then there’s the not-being-very-good problem. This is a real hindrance to the committed supporter, particularly those of us who got carried away pre-IPL and had a little wager on the orangey ones to win the thing. We are in a for a rollercoaster ride, of the kind you get at illegal fun fairs, where the track isn’t quite finished and it all ends in disaster. Today, for example, when Yuvraj fell, I was leaping up and down like Javed Miandad on a trampoline doing his Kiran More impersonation. But a few balls later, I found myself committing an act of violence upon an innocent cushion as Jadeja completed his spell with one of those innovative “hit me” full-tosses.

Perhaps it’s the shirts, perhaps it’s the name, perhaps it’s presence of Sreesanth, but I am afraid there is no other word for it: Kochi are flaky. In fact, they are the new Kings XI Punjab. Yes, it’s as bad as that.

Thursday, 14th April We’ve all been there. You’ve finished washing your baby. But there’s a problem. The bath is full of both baby and water. What to do? Do you carefully extract your baby then tip away the water? Or do you throw the whole lot out of the window? Well, kudos to the WICB. In dropping Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul, they have shown us that there is a third way: lose the baby and keep the bath water. And if anyone carps, you answer them by saying that the door is not closed to the baby, he can always make a comeback, but it’s time we had a look at what the bath water can do.

Friday, 15th April Exciting news for the nation of New Zealand with the arrival of Australian philosopher and motivational spreadsheet guru, John Buchanan. Professor B enjoyed great success across the Tasman Sea with his innovative five-point strategy:

1. Pick Warne 2. Pick Gilchrist 3. Break for tea and scones 4. Pick McGrath 5. Leave inspirational Post-it notes at the bottom of players’ cereal bowls

“I’ve learnt a lot from my time in Australia,” said the man himself, “Specifically, that Post-its can go a bit soggy if you pour milk onto them. So my first step as Emperor of New Zealand Cricket will be to scour Ebay for a decent Post-it note laminator.”

And the man they call John enthralled a snoozing press corps by outlining his belief in the transformative power of talking at length without really saying anything.

“Philosophy has a lot to offer our sport. I think it was Socrates who said that a small kiwi can down a kangaroo if it knows how to use a gun. Or it may have been Aristotle. Now I come to think of it, it could have been Groucho Marx. Anyway, my aim is to intellectualise the New Zealand cricket collective with a series of lectures on the Impossibility of Existence, a visit to Michel Foucault’s favourite hardware store and compulsory Esperanto lessons for anyone with a central contract.

“After that, it will be a simple matter of identifying three players exactly like Warne, Gilchrist and McGrath and the renaissance of New Zealand cricket can begin.”

Saturday, 15th April Yesterday Kochi beat Mumbai. This might suggest that they are quite good. But I'm not fooled. I've been here before with Kings XI. One day they're thrashing Tendulkar, the next they're all out for 57. It's the essence of flakiness. Don't get sucked in, people, they'll let you down when it matters.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England