Royals v Knight Riders, IPL 2014, Ahmedabad May 5, 2014

Russell's fast one on Watson

Plays of the day from the IPL match between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders in Ahmedabad
27

Shane Watson the batsman was fooled by Andre Russell, but ball in hand the Rajasthan Royals captain came back brilliantly © BCCI

The pull out, almost
The slower bouncer and the wide yorkers are part of every fast bowler's arsenal. The spinners have the doosra and there were even rumours of a teesra. In Ahmedabad, Andre Russell has pioneered a variation that might well be nominated as the height of trickery. He chugged up to the crease and in the final few steps seemed to pull out. Shane Watson loosened the grip on his bat and was already preparing for the umpire's call of dead ball. Only Russell revved back up and bowled a short and wide delivery. The startled Watson walked down to have an animated chat with umpire Nigel Llong, but the delivery was ruled legal.

The flamingo
The IPL has had spectacular feats involving the boundary rope and the latest entry was provided by Suryakumar Yadav and his nimble footwork. Shane Watson blitzed one down the ground and the fielder backpedalled as far as he could. All the while though, Yadav was spying the progress of the ball and having judged its trajectory, raised his hands over his head and well behind him to pluck a magnificent grab. But that wasn't the end of it. The momentum pushed him off balance, but Yadav shoved his left leg into the turf and extended all his other appendages in the air to hold onto his balance and gift Sunil Narine with the purple cap.

The edge
Karun Nair endured two failures to start the season and then overcame a sluggish beginning to erect a match-winning effort against Delhi Daredevils. That form carried through and he looked assured of himself in Ahmedabad, but that didn't mean the odd bit of luck wasn't welcome. First up, it was a full toss. The added bonus was it being on leg stump. And to cap it off, Nair's shovel over square leg went for six. Off the edge. Or should we start calling it the face now?

The new guy
Ryan ten Doeschate's athletic prowess would have played a significant part in Knight Riders inducting him into the XI ahead of the seasoned Jacques Kallis. He had the opportunity to reiterate that to the public when Stuart Binny smoked a length ball down to deep midwicket. The flat missile threatened to lob ten Doeschate when he propelled himself back, flung his hands over his head and completed a stunner in quite nonchalant fashion.

The comeback
After Knight Riders had established a brilliant platform in the chase, they promoted Russell at No.3. He lasted three balls and Watson got the better of him every time. The first one was a yorker that was just about dug out and almost resulted in the run-out of the well-set Robin Uthappa. The second one was dug in short and rose past Russell's chest as he let it go outside off. The third was a legcutter which pitched around middle and leg and straightened to beat Russell's grope to flatten middle stump. A long, hard stare from Watson at the departing batsman indicated he had not forgotten Russell's trick earlier in the match.

Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Clifford on May 6, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    If spinners can do the stop delivery pacers can do the equivalent too. I don't like it but it's the rules. In fact Russel's trick (and let's face it - he's no good) is less of an issue than Ashwin's stop delivery.

  • Ian on May 6, 2014, 8:01 GMT

    I didn't actually see Russell's delivery, but if it's anything like reported it's low. Changing hands, changing stance, even changing pace of the ball is perfectly acceptable, but the batsman must have the right to know whether to expect a delivery or not. Granted, if you want to be strict about it, there's no reason Watto needed to relax his grip until the dead-ball was called, but in practice there's a build-up to each delivery, and when there's a sign of an abortion, the concentration is broken. It's more akin to taking a penalty in football, pretending to pullout, and then shooting when the goalie has relaxed.

  • Asad on May 6, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    can you imagine how much energy that trickery take from russell credit to him.

  • Afnan on May 6, 2014, 6:07 GMT

    Poor performance from KKR. Feeling bad for Shakib. He tried but running out of ball. He made 21 from 14 balls but Suryakumar made only 9 from 17 delivery, can you imagine, how costly it was? Among the KKR batsman Shakib's strike rate is highest 142.1, out of 5 innings 3 times not out, running out of ball. Other players are too slow. Shakib should bat at number 3. If he clicks then he can destroy the opponents because his strike rate is better than other KKR players. If he fails in batting, no worries, he can recover the gap by his bowling. Sometimes his economy rate is better than Narine. Till now, Shakib is the most valuable player for KKR though he dropped for two matches. If you treat like that a player can feel insecure. KKR lineup should be Uthappa, Gambhir, Shakib, Lynn, Pandey, Yusuf Pathan

  • shivaraj on May 6, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    On the Russel incident, the third umpire or the leg umpire might have been the concerned personnels who could have spotted this tom foolery. Wish the third umpires role be extended to point out bizarre happenings which is against the spirit of the game which is hard for onfield umpires to spot. As to the players they need to have the self respect to realise they shouldn't be doing things which are against the spirit of the game or having done it in the heat of the moment, apologise for the same, but this is a hard ask considering the ethics of certain players, hence the only recourse is cover it in the rule book and impose penalties so that players toe the line and not act cute.

  • Dummy4 on May 6, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    The batsman has a right to know when the ball is being bowled and where from. Apart from the safety concerns, what farce would we end up with if the onus was taken away from bowlers to ensure batsmen were ready? Continuous cricket is a fun game in the schoolyard, but let's not encourage it at the top levels.

  • Siva on May 6, 2014, 1:57 GMT

    what Russell did is not fair. The equivalent of switch hit or reverse hit/ sweep is bowlers using either hand without a prior information. It is time the laws are changed, at least in T20 and ODIs, the bowlers need not declare which hands they will use for bowling.

  • Nilesh on May 6, 2014, 0:17 GMT

    I don't think it is justified and felt it was unfair. I think Russell should be penalized so that this behaviour is not repeated.

    A switch hit while terribly frustrating to a bowler is still different from what he did. If Russell would have bowled with the left hand instead of the right hand, then maybe I would say that it is the bowler's equivalent of a switch hit. However pretending to pull out and then bowling the ball is not the same. What would have happened if Watson would have been bowled?

    The game should be played in the right spirit and this action from Russell was not in the right spirit.

  • Philip on May 5, 2014, 23:42 GMT

    The bowler has the right to stop short and deliver. Nothing has been said about spinners who chug up and the seem to halt and litteraly stop and deliver the ball. In this case Ruseel did not stop but seemed to slow down but never did stop. The batsmen have had it good, why not the bowlers. All part and parcel of T20.

  • Ravi on May 5, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    I cannot believe that some of you guys actually support Russell. It cannot be compared wtih things like swith hit. It made the batsman believe that he is pulling out of the delivery and then just bowled it anyway. This is definitely against the spirit of the game. Pity to see people supporting it on the name of level playing field for bowlers.

  • No featured comments at the moment.