Champions League 2012 October 20, 2012

What dish does the Champions League resemble?

Something that doesn't satiate you
16

Before we start, I feel I should offer a warning, particularly to those of you who haven't had your lunch yet. When I sat down to write this I hadn't had my lunch yet either, which is why, as I tried to sum up where the Champions League fits amongst the many tempting dishes on the crowded table at the cricket lover's banquet, things took a gastronomic turn. So if you skipped breakfast or you're trying not to think of that piece of cheesecake in the fridge, please feel free to go straight to the third paragraph where there are no food metaphors whatsoever, although there is a bit of IPL satire. If you haven't had your lunch yet and you're sensitive to IPL satire, perhaps you should start at the fourth paragraph. Or maybe the fifth.

Anyway, on with the overly-contrived analogy. I think we'd all agree that Test cricket is a steaming bowl of goulash. It's stodgy, it looks unappetising and it takes forever to prepare, but it's a proper plateful and it fills you up. The IPL is a double Big Whopper with fries. And the Champions League is a stir-fry. You take a mess of ingredients from different continents, throw them all together and see what happens. It looks interesting, but it doesn't really taste of anything and half an hour after it's finished, you're still hungry.*

Although champions feature prominently in the title, there are a suspicious number of non-champions hanging about and a few champions who weren't even allowed to take their coats off before they had to leave. This is because the structure of the Champions (and Friends) League is designed to keep the number of non-IPL teams who make the semi-finals down to a manageable number for the sake of Indian television (zero, for example).

But as any Bond villain will tell you, carefully laid plans for global domination do not always work out. At the time of writing, thanks to a combination of rain and incompetence, only one IPL team, Delhi, has managed to win a game and that was against another IPL team, Kolkata, who had forgotten to pack their enthusiasm. By the time you reach the sixth paragraph, we could be three IPL teams short of a quartet.

How has this happened? Well, having watched Chennai against the Lions, I think the answer is that some Indian batsmen are getting over-excited. It's like that moment when a child sees his first trampoline. Having spent most of his life up until that point jumping up and down on sofas, beds, siblings and the feet of elderly relatives, he rushes to embrace this new means of elevation with such giddy enthusiasm that invariably his breakfast ends up all down his t-shirt.

So it is with some Indian batsmen. After years of batting on subcontinental pitches, the sight of a spherical object bouncing above knee height causes them to go a little crazy. Against the Lions, Jadeja holed out trying to be the first cricketer to launch a ball into space and Raina tried to flat-bat a short one for a straight six, a shot which, to execute successfully, would require a blade of Bollinger proportions and arms like a sumo wrestler on steroids.

"How well has he hit that?" purred Harsha, as the ball flew straight to mid-off. I'm not sure whether viewers were supposed to send in their responses to this particular quiz question, but I can reveal that the correct answer was "not very".

* For those who may be interested, the County Championship is a soggy cheese and pickle sandwich

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sai Charan on October 28, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    Well and truthfully written.I see some of the fools have quickly jumped to the defence of the IPL.They are not to be taken seriously.The "Champion's" League is,as probably everyone must have realised,just an extended version of the IPL with a few more foreigners.After all,it is conducted by the BCCI and that is enough proof.

  • Rhythm on October 21, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Yorkshire on the other hand are playing very well, oh wait .....

  • Real on October 21, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Nicely written and funny as usual... :)

  • Pakman on October 21, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    India don't realize it but they are sabotaging their own batsmen's growth by overplaying them in subcontinent conditions. Perhaps the BCCI will 'convince' the ICC to hold all major events in India so that the likes of Kohli, Raina & Sharma can smash all bowlers to all corners and win comfortably.

  • ruchit on October 21, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Okay for a change try writing about incompetence of ur batsmen when the ball doesn't rise abt knee height.. that involves a different kind of a skill.. As much I don't like IPL( infact I hate it)I don't need a non-Indian to tell me or Indians in general what to watch and what not.. Indian audience determine revenue flow in world cricket and if we want all IPL teams to take part in Champions league ad other teams to be just present a cheerleaders so actually would happen.We will decide what we want to see.

  • Timmuh on October 21, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    Which dish? "Oiginal recipe" chicken from KFC. Every now and then you might get a hankering for it, but as soon as you sample it you remember how awful it really is and end up with a nasty taste in your mouth.

  • Junaid on October 20, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    I am so fond of your witty humor. The cachinnations heard from my room while reading your material always proves me queerish. And some how recapulating the punch line to others is not that effectively humorous.

    But your work is always happening for me. Thanks a lot.

  • Smarak Das on October 20, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Champions League truly shows the "Standard" of IPL Teams.

  • Daya on October 20, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    Superb analogies esp. the trampoline one. One of the cleverest critiques in cricket!

  • Tushar on October 20, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Why isn't anyone talking about English teams, they'v been playing on such wickets since ages... And even perth scorchers. I guess perth is the most difficult wicket to bat on, due to its nature. The team who's home ground is such, shouldn't be sitting on the bottom of the table. So its easy to single out IPL teams and their inability to counter bounce and movement, but too hard to admit other teams have been ordinary as well...!!!!

  • Sai Charan on October 28, 2012, 6:59 GMT

    Well and truthfully written.I see some of the fools have quickly jumped to the defence of the IPL.They are not to be taken seriously.The "Champion's" League is,as probably everyone must have realised,just an extended version of the IPL with a few more foreigners.After all,it is conducted by the BCCI and that is enough proof.

  • Rhythm on October 21, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Yorkshire on the other hand are playing very well, oh wait .....

  • Real on October 21, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    Nicely written and funny as usual... :)

  • Pakman on October 21, 2012, 5:57 GMT

    India don't realize it but they are sabotaging their own batsmen's growth by overplaying them in subcontinent conditions. Perhaps the BCCI will 'convince' the ICC to hold all major events in India so that the likes of Kohli, Raina & Sharma can smash all bowlers to all corners and win comfortably.

  • ruchit on October 21, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Okay for a change try writing about incompetence of ur batsmen when the ball doesn't rise abt knee height.. that involves a different kind of a skill.. As much I don't like IPL( infact I hate it)I don't need a non-Indian to tell me or Indians in general what to watch and what not.. Indian audience determine revenue flow in world cricket and if we want all IPL teams to take part in Champions league ad other teams to be just present a cheerleaders so actually would happen.We will decide what we want to see.

  • Timmuh on October 21, 2012, 3:02 GMT

    Which dish? "Oiginal recipe" chicken from KFC. Every now and then you might get a hankering for it, but as soon as you sample it you remember how awful it really is and end up with a nasty taste in your mouth.

  • Junaid on October 20, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    I am so fond of your witty humor. The cachinnations heard from my room while reading your material always proves me queerish. And some how recapulating the punch line to others is not that effectively humorous.

    But your work is always happening for me. Thanks a lot.

  • Smarak Das on October 20, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Champions League truly shows the "Standard" of IPL Teams.

  • Daya on October 20, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    Superb analogies esp. the trampoline one. One of the cleverest critiques in cricket!

  • Tushar on October 20, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Why isn't anyone talking about English teams, they'v been playing on such wickets since ages... And even perth scorchers. I guess perth is the most difficult wicket to bat on, due to its nature. The team who's home ground is such, shouldn't be sitting on the bottom of the table. So its easy to single out IPL teams and their inability to counter bounce and movement, but too hard to admit other teams have been ordinary as well...!!!!

  • Mosoatsi(RSA) on October 20, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    Great piece Mr Hughes,funny and true.India are really bossing world cricket and Aus and SA are taggin along,ICC needs to do sumthing,This is the most unfair tournament i know besides the soccer world cup.

  • RASIKA on October 20, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    This tournament takes place to earn some money for it's shareholding countries. (India, Australia $ South Africa). CLT20 is not a tournament which gives a playing chance to all domestic championship winners. Teams from other countries are allowed to play this tournament because the organizers want to show it as a global tournament. Therefore we cannot expect fair team selections. All other teams have this problem but they play accepting the rules as they are getting some money. It's been a very good idea to use money to shut their mouths to shout against this tournament.

  • ali khan on October 20, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    well written

  • GawainF on October 20, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Agree with you, waste of time league that. Just another version of the ipl with a few invited guests. Let them keep their league till they show some kind of fairness. Anything that will give an ipl team reason to be there and feature in the final is what they're up to.

  • Vinod on October 20, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Andrew, funny as usual and thought-provoking too. Most of the current Indian batsmen are overpaid, over-rated flat-pitch bullies who have no clue once the ball bounces above knee level. (Kohli being an honourable exception) The Comedy Show called the IPL has made mediocre batsmen look great. Imagine what would have happened if truly great players of the past like Sir Viv Richards had played in that circus with flat pitches and tiny boundaries- Mayhem!!!

  • Yasir on October 20, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Very well written as usual.

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  • Yasir on October 20, 2012, 7:33 GMT

    Very well written as usual.

  • Vinod on October 20, 2012, 7:51 GMT

    Andrew, funny as usual and thought-provoking too. Most of the current Indian batsmen are overpaid, over-rated flat-pitch bullies who have no clue once the ball bounces above knee level. (Kohli being an honourable exception) The Comedy Show called the IPL has made mediocre batsmen look great. Imagine what would have happened if truly great players of the past like Sir Viv Richards had played in that circus with flat pitches and tiny boundaries- Mayhem!!!

  • GawainF on October 20, 2012, 10:29 GMT

    Agree with you, waste of time league that. Just another version of the ipl with a few invited guests. Let them keep their league till they show some kind of fairness. Anything that will give an ipl team reason to be there and feature in the final is what they're up to.

  • ali khan on October 20, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    well written

  • RASIKA on October 20, 2012, 11:20 GMT

    This tournament takes place to earn some money for it's shareholding countries. (India, Australia $ South Africa). CLT20 is not a tournament which gives a playing chance to all domestic championship winners. Teams from other countries are allowed to play this tournament because the organizers want to show it as a global tournament. Therefore we cannot expect fair team selections. All other teams have this problem but they play accepting the rules as they are getting some money. It's been a very good idea to use money to shut their mouths to shout against this tournament.

  • Mosoatsi(RSA) on October 20, 2012, 12:20 GMT

    Great piece Mr Hughes,funny and true.India are really bossing world cricket and Aus and SA are taggin along,ICC needs to do sumthing,This is the most unfair tournament i know besides the soccer world cup.

  • Tushar on October 20, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Why isn't anyone talking about English teams, they'v been playing on such wickets since ages... And even perth scorchers. I guess perth is the most difficult wicket to bat on, due to its nature. The team who's home ground is such, shouldn't be sitting on the bottom of the table. So its easy to single out IPL teams and their inability to counter bounce and movement, but too hard to admit other teams have been ordinary as well...!!!!

  • Daya on October 20, 2012, 15:12 GMT

    Superb analogies esp. the trampoline one. One of the cleverest critiques in cricket!

  • Smarak Das on October 20, 2012, 16:21 GMT

    Champions League truly shows the "Standard" of IPL Teams.

  • Junaid on October 20, 2012, 19:21 GMT

    I am so fond of your witty humor. The cachinnations heard from my room while reading your material always proves me queerish. And some how recapulating the punch line to others is not that effectively humorous.

    But your work is always happening for me. Thanks a lot.