September 22, 2012

ICC World Twenty20

The no-extravagance T20

Andrew Hughes
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag added 176 runs, India v West Indies, 4th ODI, Indore, December 8, 2011
"Gauti, the key to unpredictability is absolute predictability. The bowler will never figure that out"  © Associated Press


Welcome to the Austerity Twenty20 (sponsored by Lehman Brothers). First, there was no opening ceremony and now we learn that India are wearing the same shirts they wore in the World Cup. The official line from the BCCI is that they hope the lingering aroma of victory sweat on last year's vests might, by some olfactory magic, inspire their chaps to similar efforts. In reality, they've got no money left after settling Ishant's hair-dressing bill.

This hasn't gone down well in the Indian dressing room. The days are long gone when a cricketer's only concessions to fashion were a dash of brylcream and a finely buffed pipe. You can just imagine the stifled giggles from their opponents when the Indian players are seen in public wearing last year's fashion. And perhaps being forced to model an outfit that was so 2011 explains India's shoulder-shrugging, "if we must" performance against Afghanistan.

Slashy and Grumpy, opening for the 3395th time, set the tone. The nearly run-out count was lower than usual at just two, but Slashy once again seemed slightly bored by proceedings and wandered off after a half-hearted tickle whilst Grumpy's subtle little dabs outside the off stump are in danger of giving subtle little dabs outside the off stump a bad name.

But lest he be tempted to rein in his inclinations, Gautam should take a leaf out of his opening partner's rather short book. When Virender slaps a short one in the air straight to point, does he change his gameplan? No, he does not. If the next 100 deliveries land in that spot, he will play the same shot. Some will smash into the boundary board. Some will scream over the slips. One or two might go straight up in the air. But he doesn't change his ways.

Dabbling elegantly outside the off stump is Gautam's thing, his gimmick, his shtick. Did Jimi Hendrix stop setting fire to his guitar just because he singed his eyebrows occasionally? Does Danny Morrison stop shouting just because people tell him to? Does the Pope chuck his mitre away every time Richard Dawkins publishes a book? The answer for Gautam is not less dabbling outside the off stump, but more. He could also move his feet a bit, too.

Inevitably, Afghanistan weren't good enough, but they had a go. They did drop two catches but as a frequent fumbler and spiller myself, I have to say that the importance of catches has been greatly exaggerated. The next time a coach parrots this dusty old proverb at you, look him in the eye and tell him that you respectfully disagree with him. Catches do not win matches. When was the last time a catch was given the man of the match award? Precisely.

Like lots of people, I was kind of rooting for India's opponents. If ever a nation deserves a bit of luck, it's the Afghans. Same goes for Zimbabwe. Sadly, neither of them have made it to Saturday and the tournament is waiting for its first shock. It hasn't been boring so far, but then you couldn't in all honesty say it has been exciting either. It's like getting a book voucher for your birthday. You like books, so a book voucher is useful. And you certainly appreciate the gift. It's just that you were hoping for a Ferrari.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Keywords: Technique

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Posted by Misam Ali Mehmood Jaffer on (October 2, 2012, 2:14 GMT)

"Slashy and Grumpy". Loool, nailed it Mr. Hughes! I'd urge you to have-a-go at Indian cricket more frequently :)

Posted by Francis Tuohy on (September 26, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

As always...Brilliant. Love you posts. Do you have your own daily blog hidden somewhere on the interweb that we could read to get a more regular fix?

Posted by Kathy on (September 23, 2012, 7:26 GMT)

"When was the last time a catch was given the man of the match award? Precisely." You said it Andrew ... too true. Actually, it's an inneresting point as they say in the US of A. Has anyone ever won MoM on the basis of his fielding? Anyone know the answer? And if not, then why not?

Posted by Akshay on (September 23, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

From now on, I will always refer to them as slashy and grumpy. Brilliant.

Posted by Andrew Lee on (September 22, 2012, 23:16 GMT)

What a boring article written by the writer where there was no correlation between what he was trying to say and what he has penned.

Posted by Aditya on (September 22, 2012, 20:37 GMT)

Haha. Slashy and Grumpy. Perfect nicks.

Posted by CP on (September 22, 2012, 20:26 GMT)

You are paid money to put out this crap in Cricinfo? Good grief.

Posted by Shyam Kalita on (September 22, 2012, 15:55 GMT)

Epic article, mr andrew... Best part was Slashy n Grumpy, the names itself...

Posted by sajal choudhury on (September 22, 2012, 12:03 GMT)

Very funny article. I always enjoy your writing.I always get a Ferrari out of your humorous writing.

Posted by Sagir Parkar on (September 22, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

thank you for a good start to my weekend Andrew !!

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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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