May 7, 2014

Why the IPL needs Kolkata

Andrew Hughes
"Someone please wake that stump up"  © BCCI
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Delhi Defeat and the Mumbai Inexplicables have had their moments, and much amusement was derived from the now-defunct Pune Pouters and the equally defunct Kochi Katastrophes Kerala, but of all the franchises that have been entertaining us since 2008, it is the Kolkata Komedy who have been the most consistent providers of chuckles.

On Monday, Gautam led his side to Ahmedabad, but before he got to grapple with Rajasthan, Kolkata's captain had to survive the Danny Morrison experience.

It wasn't just Gautam. The innocent, sleepy viewer, who had just been listening to the mellow tones of Mr Bhogle was, without warning, thrust directly into Danny's eye-boggling face as he screamed something about Ahmedabad into the camera.

Having terrorised a global television audience, he turned the full force of his personality onto the intrepid party that had ventured out into the middle with him, all four of whom were discreetly edging away from the short, bald, shouty New Zealander in the distressingly tight pink shirt. But Gautam is a pro. He remembered that the secret is to not look Danny in the eye, and he even remembered not to cringe at being called "GG".

After that, the cricket was a piece of cake. Kolkata found themselves chasing 171, which is rather a lot, given that their usual approach is to set off at the speed of a dawning ice age, but this time they had dropped Grandpa Jacques, who used to slow everyone down with his anecdotes and his little naps, and opened up with Double G and Robin.

After six overs, things were going swimmingly. After 12 overs, things were going even more swimmingly. After 14 overs, things were going so swimmingly that Gautam and Robin had ordered cocktails and were lounging on their backs in the pool.

What the occasion badly needed was an inexplicable comedy batting collapse. But just as you can't start a fire without a spark, you can't start an inexplicable comedy batting collapse without a confident piece of fate-tempting from the booth. Cue Kepler Wessels:

"It's been the perfect run chase so far. Just got to keep their composure."

Seconds later, Gautam stepped back and attempted the dramatic swing of a hero attempting to remove the head of an evil giant. Unfortunately the giant moved out of the way, and Gautam had to return to his castle to explain that although he hadn't actually killed the giant, his "almost killing the giant" strike rate had improved significantly.

With 50 runs needed off 35 balls and nine wickets in hand, there was still no reason to panic, but panicking without reason is what Kolkata do best.

Next ball, Andre Russell got in a muddle with a yorker and while he was trying to untangle himself from the situation in the manner of a man with an angry Dachshund under his feet, Robin arrived for that quick single they had spoken about earlier.

Fortunately, Shane Watson threw the ball like a fumbling caveman having his first rock-flinging lesson and the hapless duo survived for another 30 seconds, until Robin holed out to midwicket. Soon after, Andre played an elaborate forward-defensive shot five inches to the left of where the ball was, then Manish Pandey performed the Kolkata shuffle to get himself stumped off Pravin Tambe's first ball.

At this point, Tambe was still two wickets short of a hat-trick, but if ever there was a player who was born to help someone out with the middle portion of their hat-trick, then that player is Y Pathan. Without a trace of irony, Harsha asked us what Yusuf was going to do.

"Get out first ball," chorused a global audience.

We knew our man. True to form, Y Pathan lasted as long as it took for the bowler to turn his arm over, then a minute later, Ryan ten Doeschate was out, Tambe had his hat-trick and, magnificently, Kolkata had conjured up a score of 123 for 6.

Shakib hit a six soon after, but Kolkata were playing sheepish cricket. They knew they had been naughty and to win the match from there would have been like acing your History exam after serving a detention for stealing the test paper.

So what did we learn from this debacle? Firstly, that the batting collapse remains the most entertaining thing in cricket, and secondly, that the Kolkata Kalamities have retained their glorious knack of being able to lose almost any match from almost any position.

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Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets here

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Posted by   on (May 8, 2014, 1:04 GMT)

I don't watch the IPl so I'd never had to endure Danny M but during the last Ashes he was for some reason given commentary duties. You tried to warn me... I just didn't think anything could be THAT bad.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2014, 21:43 GMT)

Kolkata has single handedly kept the bloopers reel full. Even the FakeIPL Player has asked to be sold now. Wish I could see SRKs face after these showings

Posted by steve48 on (May 7, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

Really funny, esp re Danny Morrison! Would be nice if someone praised some quality bowling by Tambe for his hat trick; drift, turn, and a smart wide having seen the batsman coming. Great story, great article.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2014, 15:08 GMT)

Haha - I enjoy GG's post match interviews after these matches ;)

Posted by cricketsimpleton on (May 7, 2014, 12:26 GMT)

"The innocent, sleepy viewer, who had just been listening to the mellow tones of Mr Bhogle was, without warning, thrust directly into Danny's eye-boggling face as he screamed something about Ahmedabad into the camera..

Fortunately, Shane Watson threw the ball like a fumbling caveman having his first rock-flinging lesson and the hapless duo survived for another 30 seconds "

Picture Perfect description!!! this is one of your bestest best!! Still cant stop laughing about DM's Double GG and Double RRs.. and his big eyes protruding thru the camera..

Posted by d_ban on (May 7, 2014, 11:59 GMT)

Just one word...AWESOME.We want pieces just like this.

Posted by   on (May 7, 2014, 10:20 GMT)

Gotta say, you aced it man.. keep writing... Kudos..

Posted by   on (May 7, 2014, 8:47 GMT)

That is some good comic artical , kudos to writer

Posted by Rawal on (May 7, 2014, 7:08 GMT)

Hahahaha, hilarious review!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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