Gideon Haigh
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Cricket historian and writer in Melbourne

Really, Warnie?

The IPL has become an occasion for tub-thumping, mutual back-slapping and all-consuming PR

Gideon Haigh

March 16, 2010

Comments: 165 | Text size: A | A

Shane Warne gets a hug from Yusuf Pathan after removing Sanath Jayasuriya, Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals, 45th match, IPL, Durban, May 14, 2009
Love is all around the IPL © Associated Press
Enlarge

Shane Warne has given his view on the best innings he has ever seen. Having bowled to Tendulkar and Lara in their pomp, Laxman and Dravid in Kolkata, having watched Steve Waugh in Antigua and Adam Gilchrist in Johannesburg, he has nonetheless opted for… Yusuf Pathan's hundred for Rajasthan Royals against the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League at Brabourne Stadium last week.

From the greatest bowler of his generation, such pronouncements are bound to be noticed, especially as Warne is already on record - or, at least, on Twitter - as confirming that the zenith of his career was the Royals' victory in the inaugural IPL. This was during an exchange of mutual endearments with the IPL's equally Tweet-happy impresario, Lalit Modi.

Actually, it's one of Warne's most admirable characteristics that he is so liberal with his praise. With age can come the attitude that all was better in one's own day. Warne might be the far side of 40 and only play six weeks a year, but the day, he feels, is still his. One with ample reason to dwell in the past is uncompromisingly a man of the present.

These days, however, Warne is a veritable praise machine, spreading the gospel of the IPL to parts far and near. In the recent snafu over security concerns in India, it was Warne, alongside Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist, who argued against his former captain Ricky Ponting, his erstwhile spin twin Tim May, and their old joint interest, the Australian Cricketers' Association. When the Royals unveiled their Royals 2020 venture with Hampshire, Cape Cobras and Trinidad & Tobago in London in February, Warne was the senior spruiker: "I am delighted to be part of this new innovation, and I am excited by what we can achieve, given what we have already achieved. Yet again, the Royals are leading the way."

 
 
Warne's views mesh perfectly with the general IPL communications strategy, conveyed alike in its advertising and its commentary: that this is it, and the rest of cricket simply does not exist
 

So what to make of Warne's encomium for Pathan? Firstly, it makes little sense. Pathan batted for 37 balls. The bowlers on whom he took greatest toll, on a storied but small ground seating only 20,000, were Ryan McLaren, Rajagopal Satish, Ali Murtaza and Sanath Jayasuriya. His team lost. When Warne said of taking on Tendulkar that "it was a pleasure to bowl to him", it was a meaningful and heartfelt tribute. Exalting Pathan was simply succumbing to the tumescence of the moment - an action, of course, to which Warne is not exactly a stranger.

Yet there is more to it than that, for Warne's views mesh perfectly with the general IPL communications strategy, conveyed alike in its advertising and its commentary, sometimes indistinguishable in their hucksterism: that this is it, and the rest of cricket simply does not exist; or that cricket began two years ago, when Modi whipped it into shape from the drawn-out and economically inefficient activity it had been for a century and more.

That is certainly Modi's self-perception. "Either we innovate and bring in new fans," he told the Times last week, "or we don't innovate and we let the sport die". There is something more than a little messianic about this, with its inference that cricket was devoid of innovation and in danger of dying before the IPL - one half expects Modi to start paraphrasing Lt William Calley and urging that it will be necessary to destroy cricket in order to save it.

It's arguable that for all the entrepreneurship unleashed in India, cricket globally was actually in better shape two years ago; there were certainly some boards of control, like Pakistan and West Indies, in ruder financial health than they are now. And for all its reputation for conservatism, cricket in its history has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for innovation. What game has survived subjection to such extraordinary manipulations, having been prolonged to 10 days (in Durban 70 years ago), truncated to as few as 60 balls (in Hong Kong every year), and remained recognisable in each instance?


20 Mar 2001: Australia in India, India v Australia 3rd Test, MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai, 18-22 Mar 2001 (Day 3)
Is the Warne-Tendulkar rivalry belittled by the spinner's recent pronouncements about the IPL? © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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One keeps looking out for innovation in IPL, but of late it hasn't been all that obvious. Lionel Richie as an opening act? Johnny Mathis must have been busy. Matthew Hayden's Mongoose? Looks a bit like Bob Willis' bat with the "flow-through holes"; Saint Peter batting mitts are surely overdue a revival. The only genuinely intriguing step this year, bringing the IPL to YouTube, was forced on Modi by the collapse of Setanta; otherwise what Modi presents as "innovation" is merely expansion by another name, in the number of franchises and the number of games.

There's certainly fun to be had in the IPL. The players are doing their best, and with so many high-class cricketers there is always the chance of seeing a sublime stroke, a Dravid cover drive or a Gilchrist pick-up, and you could hardly not enjoy watching Yusuf Pathan hit the ball to infinity. But calling it "great" or the "best ever" made as much sense as saying the same of a pop video. The risk is, as ever, that the hyperbole of IPL will simply smother the cricket; perhaps the members of the IPL's cheer squad should stop listening to each other and start listening to themselves.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

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Posted by acrazycricketfan on (March 19, 2010, 2:36 GMT)

Yes the other day against the RCB , Yusuf was very much uncomfortable with the short pitched deliveries.How can he survive at the international level with this serious issue to sort out?Shane Warne should not have mentioned this as the best innings ever as Yusuf cant play all the shots in the book.Hope Warne realises atleast now before he gives another statement like this.

Posted by aiyalur on (March 18, 2010, 13:14 GMT)

SwamiG, you are right. he is a businessman. probably doesn't even like cricket. why would you let a guy like him have so much control over cricket. He's probably going to realize in a few years that people find it boring to sit through a 20 over game and what the people need a 10 over game. Young crickets in India are seduced by 20/20 as a easy path to success, if this goes on India aren't going to produce any test match crickets. India is already struggling to find test replacements for Dravid and Laxman. They didn't play in the first test again SA and we lost by an innings because our middle order collapsed.

Posted by Rajesh. on (March 18, 2010, 7:47 GMT)

While most talk about how good a captain Shane Warne would have been I feel he would be the best PR man for Cricket Australia :-) Folks, rope him in right away.............

Posted by lucyferr on (March 18, 2010, 7:01 GMT)

Test cricket is all very well, but the average professional cricketer needs to make a living. Footballers make their living from their clubs, not their country. What matters in a professional sport is whether a good player - not a great player lucky enough to consistently make the national squad - can make a living. Having a prosperous domestic league makes that possible - if the form of cricket is one people will pay to watch at club level. That means T20. By all means keep Test cricket alive at nternational level - but don't get in the way of honest men making a living at club level. Critics should focus their attention instead on eliminating the 50-over game - it has served its purpose well but now needs to be pensioned off. Mind you, I do agree that hearing 'DLF Maximum' and 'Citi moment of wotsit' during a game makes me cringe - and makes the advertisers look bad. Such crass overcommercialism is normal with the nouveau riche - it'll work itself out in time.

Posted by Bollo on (March 18, 2010, 6:56 GMT)

Furthermore cricfan78, I certainly wasn`t gloating about test crowds in Aus or England, merely correcting an error, which claimed that the 2 countries with the best test match attendances were in fact the countries in which tests were struggling. South Africa and India (apart from a sensational crowd at the Eden Gardens) have far deeper, long-running problems with attracting crowds to test cricket.

Posted by Bollo on (March 18, 2010, 6:43 GMT)

cricfan78. I was replying to a post which specifically referred to crowds, not TV audiences, so don`t see what`s so funny about it. Sure, some fairly poor crowds for tests in Aus this summer, mainly because of the lopsided contests and lowly-ranked opposition. The MCG still managed to get more than 150,000 over 5 days. What did Nagpur pull? 1500 non-paying schoolkids and a few scoreboard attendants

Posted by CricFan78 on (March 18, 2010, 5:56 GMT)

Bollo its funny to see how you comprehend "watching cricket" to only being in stadium, there is something called TV as well if you have forgotten. And yes we saw the crowds for Eng-WI and Aus-Pak/WI so stop gloating.

Posted by prachu on (March 18, 2010, 5:20 GMT)

Warn has his opinion and we need to respect that. I think the entire 100 by pathan has been put in shadows by the writer. Till this guy came out fighting with that century in no time. there was no chance for the royals to even think of a win with the number of wickets they lost. it was actually a one man show in the game by pathan. if he was not out in an unfortunate way they might have won the match itself. If the author did not like the selection they he could say that he liked some other innings the best. the way it was return was quite uncalled for. Regarding cricket innovation and better condition of cricket. Please tell me out of the previous so called better and more innovation how many had as much fan following as this one. the previous ones where either at the wrong place or at the wrong time or where not good innovation atall. It seems like the author is not happy with either the money flowing in or with the increase of fans that IPL is getting cricket.

Posted by AravindZ on (March 18, 2010, 3:01 GMT)

@aiyalur, it is obvious why the youtube version isn't broadcast in the states. While there's the tata's and the bharthi's providing ISP for a cricket frenzy crowd in india, comcast or timewarner wouldn't care less about the IPL given the number of ppl interested in it in the states. Modi is not stupid, he is a smart businessman working hard to see test cricket's demise. Hail the king!

Posted by S.N.Singh on (March 18, 2010, 2:17 GMT)

I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY WARNE COULD RATE A BATSMAN PLAYING 20/20 CRICKET. HE SAID YUSUF PATHAN 100 IS THE BEST INNINGS HE HAS SEEN. WHAT WARNE WAS TRYING TO JUSTFY IS BEYOND MY UNDERSTANDING. HOW WILL WARN RATE YUSSUF AS A" TEST" PLAYER ? YUSSUF IS HAVING PROBLEMS TO FIND HIMSELF IN THE ODI SIDE. I AM SORRY TO SAY THIS BUT NO CRICKETER SHOULD HAVE A SPECIAL RATING IN 20/20 BECAUSE IN MY OPINION 20/20 THERE ARE A LOT OF PLAYERS SCORING ( LASHING BALLS) RUNS IN FASHIONABLE STYLE AND BOWLERS GETTING WICKETS CHEAPLY. HOW MUST WE APPRAISE THEM ? THIS IS LASHING BALL . S.N.SINGH

Posted by Looch on (March 18, 2010, 2:16 GMT)

Great article Gideon, IPL needs to be put in perspective, it is a domestic tournament after all. BearAllen that was great comment, you have described exactly how I feel the comments area of late!!

Posted by Bollo on (March 18, 2010, 2:14 GMT)

@Pramod75 No, people in India do not watch `any cricket` as some of the appalling test crowds (Tendulkar`s all-time runs record for example, 1st test vs South Africa) in recent times have shown. England and Australia are really the only two countries where test match crowds remain consistently strong. Please don`t just make things up to support your arguments.

Posted by _NEUTRAL_Fan_ on (March 18, 2010, 1:13 GMT)

I like the IPL. I always liked the idea of having many star players on the same team (Kallis, Dravid, Steyn, Morgan, Ross Taylor on the same team is just plain....fun). Furthermore I like any format of cricket AND I DO NOT SEE ANY BLATANT ENVY OR ILL WISHES IN THIS ARTICLE. The writer, as I am, is concerned about how loose compliments and comments are being made by high profile players. If every1 was to jump up and say this was the best inning or spell I've ever seen all willy-nilly, there will be no credibility in much of anything. He is entitled to express his theories of financially driven motives and all that. He is a writer, thats his job. It is really a shame to see so many paranoid fanatics accusing the guy of envy and racism and all that. That is just nonsensical whining and it is very rude. It spoils the whole blog section.

Posted by popcorn on (March 17, 2010, 19:29 GMT)

Shane Warne is known to shoot his mouth, so I usually take what he says with a pinch of salt. Except when he does commentary.Yes,he is the best leg spinner EVER, but that's about it. No point talking about "what-if-had-been-made- captain -of -Australia",because he never was.I wish he would take personal responsibility for Australia losing The Oval Test match 2005,when he dropped a sitter in slips off his mate,Kevin Pietersen, who went on to make a century.Punter has been gracious not to point a finger at Shane Warne.

Posted by popcorn on (March 17, 2010, 19:14 GMT)

Thank God for the PGA and LPGA and European Tour,the Ryder Cup,the President's Cup that Lalit Modi is barred from poking his nose unlike the beggarly ICC. You only have to look at the 4 day game of Golf to see that the game attracts crowds, far less than cricket,but spectators and TV viewers passionately watch every Golf Tournament - for 4 days.Left to himself,the moron Lalit Modi will say Golf should only be played as 3 par Hole-in-One Tournaments! Get your wits about you,ICC - your incompetence is showing!

Posted by mrmonty on (March 17, 2010, 18:58 GMT)

Just because Gideon is an Aussie, does not make him hate/despise the IPL. I am an Indian and I despise IPL to the core. It is not a cricketing tournament, it is a show. More like a sham. Makes me compare it to WWE wrestling, with little substance and more fakery. All dancing fans in the crowd, all the clapping by Preity Zinta/Shilpa Shetty with each boundary, all gushing by the commentators... Makes me wanna puke. It may eventually kill the idea of national teams, but it will never capture the essence of cricket between national teams.

Posted by aiyalur on (March 17, 2010, 18:48 GMT)

When IPL signs a deal with YouTube, why wouldn't they let be broadcast in the US on YouTube? What sense does that make? May be it makes sense to Modi. All that matters is money. All the statements about preserving and reviving the game of cricket is just humbug. Cricket doesn't need guys like Modi. It's the other way round.

Posted by jaininshah9 on (March 17, 2010, 18:02 GMT)

Mr. Gideon Haigh, why are you so jealous when the IPL is doing so well. Because of the IPL players from your country are also earning money. So stop being a baby and accept the fact that IPL has changed the way cricket was managed.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (March 17, 2010, 16:25 GMT)

@ BearAllen Exactly !! , hahaa GH is just tickling, and everyone starts to tickle each other. @ fbd11 haha exactly again. Lol. Btw. I just saw B.C.Lara sitting in with MI Dugout area ... what an honor to see him finally on ground. Aaahh He must be having Goose bumps. At least, I Do. Legendary ppl. all around.

Posted by BearAllen on (March 17, 2010, 15:11 GMT)

Good article, GH. Articulating what a lot of people have thought. I just find it very sad and disappointing that any article on Cricinfo which in any way references Indian cricket or Indian players is turned into the Israel/Palestine conflict by the ridiculous posturing of racism and envy by fans here who seem to only tolerate unqualified praise and sycophancy. You are making the comments section utterly pointless. You know who you are.

Posted by royalflesh on (March 17, 2010, 14:53 GMT)

the youtube deal has nothing to do with setanta. Setanta had only the rights for Uk which was successfully taken over by ITV. ITV 4 will reach almost every tv in the uk whereas setanta was not even close. I don't see why he cant accept the fact that the icc or the ecb would have never managed to pull off something like the youtube deal.

Posted by Pramod75 on (March 17, 2010, 14:18 GMT)

Be it Warne or Symonds, both felt almost the same about winning IPL. Greatest brains of his time was never made captain and devastating player was allowed to devastate himself. There is something wrong with CA too. Test cricket is test cricket and IPL definitely has more entertainment value. Actually, in India, people watch any cricket and you could have seen crowds in recent test matches. It is in places like England and AU that are struggling to get crowds to watch tests. Accept the fact that times have changed and players and audience priorities have changed. Tets will stay, but IPL like setups' will flourish. Go with the flow or dont bother. It does not pay to continuously crib.

Posted by Bytheway on (March 17, 2010, 14:09 GMT)

Get a life, people. Warnie has done more than all of you put together.

Posted by reader123 on (March 17, 2010, 13:52 GMT)

@ Nashdwaj : Very well commented.

" Yes Shane Warne may have *motives* so does Ponting and so does Gideon."

@Shaantanu …dude I think the superiority is down the drain now and ….its desperate insecurity that is clearly coming out from GH.

Posted by Manoj1234 on (March 17, 2010, 13:22 GMT)

This is a very amusing article. It is an interesting case study for students of psychiatry. The author really does not want to like IPL. But he is slowly getting charmed by it nevertheless. His instinctive hate for this foreign tournament which has pretty much blown off the competition comes through. IPL is fast on its way to becoming the weary Indians NFL. It is a good package and good presentation and competetive cricket and fun to watch. And about 7-10 times the population of Australia watches it daily. If managed right, viewership will grow further and the writer will continue watching from the sidelines like the grinch. fortunately he cannot do much about it but wallow in jealousy.

Posted by krr_chennai on (March 17, 2010, 12:50 GMT)

Why is Gideon Haigh causing a storm in a teacup ? IPL is merely a domestic Indian cricketainment tournament - played for seven weeks in a year. And, this will kill the game of cricket ? Get real. Do you see any Indians feeling insecure about domestic cricket in the UK or Australia and ranting about it blogs such as these ? If you dont like IPL, dont watch it - just ignore it. That is what BBC Sport does - IPL is a non-event and non-newsworthy entity for them. "Just bury your head in the sand for 45 days and bingo!! IPL will be gone" - is their way of dealing with the situation. You could try that. In the meanwhile, please do not grudge millions of Indians around the world their right to enjoy **our** IPL.

Posted by danmcb on (March 17, 2010, 12:32 GMT)

" ... succumbing to the tumescence of the moment ..."

great quote!

Posted by shaantanu on (March 17, 2010, 12:22 GMT)

Thank you GH for giving so much importance to IPL.love it or hate it you cant stop writing about it.I know where its hurting you.Your writings will always have that "we are always right and they are always almost wrong" hangover.What to do its ingrained in your psyche that you are always a superior (with a big R)

Posted by Cybertox on (March 17, 2010, 12:14 GMT)

whoa Metal Militia!!! take it easy man. Im not against the IPL, being a SL i quite enjoy it. It just annoys me when ppl come here to defend the IPL when its doing absolutely fine out there, which is why i posted an (admittedly ill-conceived)joke about you guys. No offence Intended!

Posted by Vindaliew on (March 17, 2010, 11:39 GMT)

I think we're being rather unfair to Warne and Yusuf Pathan. My impression was that if someone of a higher pedigree like Tendulkar had scored that century in vain Haigh would have accepted it. There have been many other greater centuries (I personally rate Richards' 189no) but Warne is only referring to those he had seen. It's a teammate who almost single-handedly turned a foregone loss into a victory, so near yet so far. Can you imagine the emotions Warne felt as he watched his teammate bring the team so close to the doors of victory in such a lost cause, playing such a thrillingly paced innings? When Tendulkar scored his 175 in vain nobody would begrudge him the "greatest innings I'd seen" compliment.

I agree we may think we've seen better, but this is Warne's personal opinion, and perhaps we should respect that. It's none of our business which innings he rates anyway, and not for us to say if he meant it, or used it as propaganda for the IPL.

Posted by 26overt on (March 17, 2010, 11:34 GMT)

I am glad im not the only one who finds the IPL incredibly boring. I have no affliation to the teams. The commentary is dire. I guess its the fact that these players are being paid huge sums of money for a game of cricket - there is no passion, pride etc... that is found when a player plays for their country. I have tried over the last few years to watch some games, but i am still yet to watch an entire match. (this coming from someone that can sit through 5 days of a test match (be it NZ V BAN or SA V IND) or an ODI)

Posted by nashdwaj on (March 17, 2010, 11:24 GMT)

@ those who have commented that IPL is boring, I just say you are lame. First of all you watch it and then you are so engrossed that you coming on cricinfo to comment on this article. People who *really* have better things to do are whom we will not hear about. I like IPL, yes it is entertaining and I also love test cricket. Everything has it place and people who like it will watch it. Nobody need to get all knotty about it. Yes Shane Warne may have *motives* so does Ponting and so does Gideon.

Posted by Sanjeevakki on (March 17, 2010, 10:59 GMT)

@@@akhileshhari.. Well Said..... Every English/Australian Journalist are jealous of IPL and BCCI.... Here instead of bashing Warney they are trying to bash IPL, BCCI and Lalith... Be specific guys.....I agree what warne said of YP knock was not correct..... Hiegh why didnt you post the comment made by YP in the post match press conference?? He just said with flat pitch and small ground anyone can clear the boundaries easily at this pace..... So try to be neutral Journalist....... Dont write some stupid stuffs okay....!!

Posted by crocker on (March 17, 2010, 9:49 GMT)

Really Haigh!? Do you really understand cricket? For last 50 years, cricket was systematically killed by the administrators and associated sycophants. They admitted it by the introduction of ODI. Whatever innovations you mentioned were introduced to promote incompetent batsmen e.g. no ball rule, bouncer rule, LBW rule, field restriction rule, body armour etc to name a few. These innovations brought in strokeless wonders as batsmen and drove out quality bowlers. Real entertainers like Botham, Lara, Gilchrist, Sehwag etc were very few and far in between. However the sycophants rarely gave them credit for their spirit and crowd entertainment. Test cricket is called a batsman's game whereas he need not face 90% of the deliveries to keep his wicket intact. He is not obliged to score runs. This is as good as swindling the paying public. T20 has forced the batsmen to be proactive and search for runs from every delivery. Greatness of batsman is decided on the field and not in a commentary box.

Posted by gingersonny on (March 17, 2010, 9:38 GMT)

I thought this was an excellent and well-thought out article (as ever for Haigh). I don't always agree with Gideon's views, but in this case I do. First, however, I must say I am severely disappointed by the accusations from some quarters in the comments (mainly Aussies and Indians it seems) of racism. I think this is merely a despicable accusation used to mask the fact they have very few counter-arguments of any merit. I quite enjoy the IPL and I don't think for one moment it's 'the end of cricket'. However, I also have issues with it (in the same way I have issues about the state of English cricket also). It is not perfect. Yes, it is cricket buffed up and commercialised until it gleams. Yes, it is an excuse for very rich people to get even richer/well known. Yes, it is all quite fun. But by turning cricket into a media circus, where players and commentators become merely PR men for the competition, I think cricket is losing one of the many simple things that make it so enthralling

Posted by zxaar on (March 17, 2010, 9:13 GMT)

very good read, agree on everything said..

Posted by KiwiRocker- on (March 17, 2010, 8:34 GMT)

I can not agree anymore. IPL is a circus that is actually destroying cricket. Biggest insult for Lalit Modi was when Pakistanis won last T20. IPL is also destroying Indian cricket as India has won nothing of note in recent past. Australia thrashed India in India few months back and India barely drew a series with South Africa. All this hype about ICC ranking is not worthy. Shane Warne is just one of retired cricketers who are trying to secure his financial future. Its just not IPL but sad story of Humans that fine traditions have been put away and instead greed and individual benefits have taken over. This is simply not cricket and sooner or later IPL will come down. Every passing year of IPL is worse than the one before and its simply not sustainable. Indian fans keep talking about Magic IPS has created but what has India won recently? Any world cups? Any champions trophies or even any T20's? Let's get real folks!! Yousaf Pathan is not even good enough to make into Indian team!!

Posted by Bollo on (March 17, 2010, 8:22 GMT)

I quite like Twenty20, don`t mind the IPL and even watch it occasionally. Some people think it`s the best thing since sliced bread.Others find it about as meaningful as elevator music. Get over it!

Posted by sportingtragic on (March 17, 2010, 7:24 GMT)

Just what is it with this claim that those who are not particular fans of t20 or ipl must somehow be racist against India? Give it a rest.

As for Warne's declaration Pathan's efforts qualify as the best innings he has witnessed, well, perhaps he was simply caught up in the moment. At the local park last week, a bloke hit 47 sixes in amassing 335 (in a 40 over match!). Had I been his team mate, I may well have felt it was the best I had seen. Its all about the loss of perspective in the moment and that is simply human.

Regardless, its a well written article Gideon.

Posted by Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on (March 17, 2010, 7:23 GMT)

@ All those who're claiming mumbai's bowling also had Zaheer and Malinga, especially @ Pratish Thakkar: Check your facts mate, look what Pathan did against them. If only Tendulkar had been bold enough to call them earlier, we would have been spared the hyperbole. Joke of the century: modi claims IPL will be bigger than NFL, NBA and EPL. lol!

Posted by reader123 on (March 17, 2010, 6:58 GMT)

It is immense pleasure to read to you Haigh. Precisely explaining the Aussie mindset and "We are only right" attitude.

"It's arguable that for all the entrepreneurship unleashed in India, cricket globally was actually in better shape two years ago…" with over a century of 'glorious' history how many cricket playing nations you have…..?

" And for all its reputation for conservatism, cricket in its history has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for innovation" …but has some one seen such a transformation ever done with this kind of success?

Come on guys………..! What is wrong in something being successful …No actually its wrong because Indians cannot innovate, they cannot be the richest board and they cannot be the hub of cricket and the most lucrative destination for playing the game. We all know where its hurting Haigh.

Posted by reader123 on (March 17, 2010, 6:53 GMT)

It is immense pleasure to read to you Haigh. Precisely explaining the Aussie mindset and "We are only right" attitude.

From now its only and only your and your favored one's prerogative to praise or otherwise a good inning. For years these were 'mind games' and only tectics because you played them at Aussie tournaments and now they are publicity stunts.

"From the greatest bowler of his generation……" I beg to differ now does that make Warne any less bowler. I can site one hundred mela fide reasons for you to call Warne the greatest of his generation leaving others.

"It's arguable that for all the entrepreneurship unleashed in India, cricket globally was actually in better shape two years ago…" with over a century of 'glorious' history how many cricket playing nations you have…..?

" And for all its reputation for conservatism, cricket in its history has demonstrated a remarkable capacity for innovation" …but has some seen such transformation ever done with this kind of succ

Posted by akhileshhari on (March 17, 2010, 6:48 GMT)

This article might look like your chiding Shane Warne for appreciating an someone whose pretty well known in international circles as a player on par with match winners like Yuvraj Singhs and Symonds, its amusing how you have so cleverly turned that into an almost spiteful attack on the Indian cricket establishment. Yes we are proud of our yusuf pathan(IF YOU TAKE SOME TIME OFF FROM WRITING YOUR PROSE AND PLAYED THE GAME OF CRICKET IT WOULD PROBABLY OCCUR TO YOU THAT IT ISNT EASY TO HIT THE BALL THE WAY A YUSUF PATHAN DOES AND WITH THE SAME CONSISTENCY)- and yes we are proud of lalit modi. In India cricket was dieing-it was dieing until Dhoni's boys created magic in South Africa it was like our second coming and BCCI was going to make it count. BCCI was and is financially the largest contributer to the ICC-and the moment they decide to open its coffers to players all over the world with the advent of the IPL- its people like you who seem to criticize it with venomous intent(??????!!!).

Posted by PottedLambShanks on (March 17, 2010, 6:41 GMT)

I think it's pretty harsh to have a go at Warnie, he knows his audience and he says what they want to hear. If the Indians are happy to pay top dollar for snake oil, then perhaps we should all be out there selling it to them. I don't believe Warne expects anyone outside of India to take his comments seriously!

Posted by redneck on (March 17, 2010, 6:31 GMT)

for those who asked the pinnicle of test cricket i refer to is not only being able to watch one of the best assembled test XI's through out the last 15 years every year. its the efforts of those who have defied that team aswell! seeing lara break borders then record, tendulker making centuries in 03 and in 08, laxman & dravid playing at their best, the magic of shane warne on a 5th day wicket in 06 after pieterson and collingwood put us on the ropes, australia scoring 400 in the 1st day in 03 and still loosing and even gayles defient knock of 150 odd in the summer just been all come to mind! and thats just what ive been lucky enough to witness! twenty20 cant produce those type of momments! you blink and you miss it, and in a months time nobody remembers it anyway! hence why i believe its micky mouse stuff weather it be ipl or big bash or even the half ass world cup they seem to play every year now!

Posted by Amu7 on (March 17, 2010, 6:23 GMT)

Way to go Gideon, the circus is boring, T20 can never match tests and Warnie sure knows where his next buck is coming from. Its sad but yeah money bends lots of things in cricket and we can have strange bedfellows in crickets most notably Symonds whose career effectively ended up in that appeal in Adelaide after the Sydney game playing in IPL.Warnie has witnessed gr8 innings Lara 277 SCG, Laxman 281, Sachin 130 at Chennai(01), or Waugh 200 at Kingston, Waugh two hundreds at Manchester in 97, Martyn 144 at Galle, 114 at Madras,Sehwag 150 odd at Madras,120 by Waugh at leeds in WC, does this Pathan innings even come closer to these innings no ways Warno you are wrong on this one.

Posted by CricFan78 on (March 17, 2010, 6:23 GMT)

>> The IPL has become an occasion for tub-thumping, mutual back-slapping and all-consuming PR

Or it has become way for Aussies and English to relieve their ages old prejudices and biases towards any good thing which come out of IPL. You writers are nothing short of being labelled as racists (thanks Cricinfo for blocking this)

Posted by BoyaniA on (March 17, 2010, 6:22 GMT)

Lets be realtistic about it. IPL is destroying the game but IPL is fun for normal people this being the reason why people would think IPL wouldnt destroy the test cricket . Modi and the BCCI are and will make lots of money and it surely wont help to improve the state of cricket in this country.

Posted by dkbhanu on (March 17, 2010, 4:49 GMT)

I must appreciate your childlike persistence in trying to find anything and everything wrong related to IPL, no matter how trivial the issue and how laughable your reasons are. You really take adamancy to a new level. I hope someday you grow up and write about IPL like you write about other issues. You are wasting your gift as a writer. It may even be better to not write about IPL and earn back some respect you have lost as a result.

Posted by trackwhack on (March 17, 2010, 4:13 GMT)

Every article this dude writes just shows how green the average aussie is at being pushed to the brink of irrelevancy in cricketing affairs ... Feels like shite when snobbish aussie cricketers of the past have to put in a pretentious show (read as kiss up), does it not GH? Love your articles man ... How bitter can you get? How are Symonds and Hayden gonna live with their low self esteem? Performing clowns all, no?

Posted by dpkhbk on (March 17, 2010, 3:57 GMT)

i have to disagree on one thing about what gideon has said :watching steve waugh was one of the ugliest sights in world cricket and can never be the best innings.laxman and dravid are so classy and beautiful dravids cover drive and laxmans on drive are the most elegant classy and beautiful shots you will ever see

Posted by BruceReidsBack on (March 17, 2010, 3:32 GMT)

Just wondering why Australians (apparently all of us) are so desperately jealous of the IPL? Unlike a lot of posters here, I can't speak on behalf of an entire counrty, but I'm interested to see how the Aussies go and happy that they are making some quick and easy cash. But in the end, I'll go back to watching Test cricket played for trophies named after great players and figures in the game (Worrell, Gavaskar, Border, Warne, Murali) rather than whoever is this year's sponsor.

Posted by maddy20 on (March 17, 2010, 1:42 GMT)

Coming up next. Spewing Venom on Kallis for he said "As good a innings as you will see". I think Mr.Haigh is trying to convince people to watch the big bash or Punter's thugs lose to NewZealand in the test series. I request the Cricinfo staff to refrain this writer from writing monotonous articles. He is probably the most hated writer on this site.

Posted by vj3478 on (March 17, 2010, 1:25 GMT)

Warney saying Pathan's innings as the best he ever watched.. Its his personal view, not yours. May be its the best Warney was involved in or his way of motivating his men. Winning first IPL as zenith of his career.. its true coz he was leading a team and again its personal. Regarding security for IPL, so far Warney is true, ponting wrong.. accept that Yes, modi was true in saying cricket is economically benefitting from the past two years, ask any board/player except the pakis and ponting. They themselves opted out. PCB and WICB in ruins.. respective countries are the reason for that and its not IPL. If you feel there is something wrong with mongoose bat, complain to MCC for making it legal, not IPL/Modi you accept bringing briging cricket live on youtube as innovation, but still cry abt it. Something seriously wrong with you dude. I used to read every article on cricinfo. But not these days, as they are more focussed on criticizing or making rubbish about someone's statements.

Posted by knowledge_eater on (March 17, 2010, 0:46 GMT)

P.S. - Thanks for promoting Warne and IPL for US .. hahaha

Posted by Tomek on (March 17, 2010, 0:38 GMT)

AlokJoshi, your 'sit back and pen...' finale to your little piece there sounded a bit like a warning to conform or else. A little hardline perhaps? I believe what Gideon is trying to do is legitimately question the dangers of the IPL & 20/20 doing real damage to other forms of cricket. Warne hyperbole is obviously easy to dismiss when considering it's source, then also somewhat to be concerned about...again, considering it's source. He may not be given to much thought before his comments, at least not without due consideration to how his comments will filter through his bank account, but he is a man that millions listen to. The best of his era, and seen as a 'straight talker'. Fingers crossed that at some point after he ends his commercial interests with the IPL (or if? King Shane of the Royals Empire?) that he comes out with some clear statements about test cricket. Otherwise, and here's a thought, lets all go play park cricket and forget the commercial rubbish? Go the Reds!

Posted by jay1110 on (March 17, 2010, 0:03 GMT)

Gideon even you know it that Warne would retract his statement if asked now once the excitement has faded or be a little more diplomatic by putting it in the "One of the" category. Modi is doing what any parent would after seeing his talented child on the verge of accomplishing something. I admit the hyperbole sometimes can be too much but its easy to ignore it and enjoy the fun

Posted by Woody111 on (March 16, 2010, 23:18 GMT)

Warne has firmly entrenched himself with Modi's desire to influence cricket; for personal gain. Warne will learn soon enough that he is merely a pawn in a derisive and selfish exercise in self-promotion and greed. Once people have had enough of sixes, mobile phone advertisements and unnecessary 'strategic time-outs' the IPL will bring 20/20 down with it to its deserved grave. As long as it doesn't take cricket with it I can't wait for the day.

Posted by Metal_Militia on (March 16, 2010, 23:11 GMT)

Cybertox: You have lost your brains. I am an Indian reader and I will argue with Gideon about him being negative about IPL and also will dispute the fact that Warne says, Pathan's was the best innings. Did the world end? Hah, you are silly, and silly are all those guys who think IPL is here to take over test. PLEASE REMEMBER, ALL THE GUYS PLAYING IN IPL ARE IN THEIR OFF SEASON. They are not skipping their international duties to play here. So how can this be killing test cricket. Outside IPL, test, ODI and T20 is still going on. Does anyone question why EPL or Bundesliga or Serie-A or Spanish leagues in football go on, while people like you should only be interested in Euro, America, Asian and World Cups? Guys IPL is a revolution in cricket, and you are NOT invited to view if you dont like it. But commenting negatively without knowing how to back your point is also pathetic. So please, DONT LIKE IT? LEAVE. Go and watch test cricket, when these guys are done with IPL, I WILL WATCH TOO.

Posted by Ulio on (March 16, 2010, 23:04 GMT)

Gideon, so you were watching that match and the only thing you could take note of was "Warnie's comment"? All this rant to make you feel good, I feel is waste of your precious time. There are far better things to do than ranting. At the end of the day, IPL is being loved by majority of people. What is wrong to make good earning and have some enjoyment. Leave your 1800s ideas behind please. Everything evolves and so will cricket.

Posted by TD_160 on (March 16, 2010, 22:59 GMT)

In my view, this is a bit of an over reaction. I note that Warne made this comment in the spur of the moment in a short interview after the game. It was probably just a reflection of the emotion he was feeling at the time. If Warne had repeated the comment in the post-match press conference, a setting where players are usually more reflective, that would have been different. I think Warne was just expressing his gratitude towards Pathan for his contribution in that game and did not intend for his comment to be taken literally.

Posted by Boonys_army on (March 16, 2010, 22:43 GMT)

The IPL is on? *yawns* It's overhyped poor quality cricket full of International has beens and and greedy "I'm retiring from real cricket because i'm injured too much" money grabbers. I honestly didnt even know it had started, IPL is wearing thin already. I mean IPL1 was a bit of fun but now its just... meh. Oh yeah, talking of domestic cricket, a real game in the best league in the world is on this week. Thats right the shield final is on, Vics v the Bulls at the MCG, tune in to watch the future stars of the Aussie team battle it out over 5 days of purist loving real cricket.

Posted by Cam_PT on (March 16, 2010, 22:30 GMT)

People can be naive. I could go down the local park and see a guy smash a hundred and say its the best innings I've seen if you asked me straight away. It's all about being in the moment.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 22:26 GMT)

As a sceptic about the IPL I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of skill and competition on display. Warne is the greatest spinner of all time and his opinions must always be respected. But he is also prone to hyperbole and exaggeration. Gideon Haigh is a truly great thinker and writer about the game. He is right to question the motivation of the money men and their hired prizefighters.

Posted by hgkhgk on (March 16, 2010, 22:23 GMT)

Its become a ritual for Gideon Haigh to come up with one sub-standard article a week aimed at spewing venom against anything remotely 'BCCI-ish'. I see a lot of comments already questioning the logic of such articles and I've written some previously too. So I just want to request Mr. Haigh to get a life or find another pet peeve to rant on every 8 days. I, for one, am sick of this nonsense. I'll go watch the IPL now to take my mind off it!

Posted by AlokJoshi on (March 16, 2010, 21:26 GMT)

You are right, "There's certainly fun to be had in IPL"; then Gideon, what is your problem if Warne ranks Yusuf's 100 off 37 balls as the best he's seen! You are right, IPL is not without its shortcomings but what is the co-relation between IPL and financial health of cricket boards of Pak and WI? You are right, cricket has evolved wonderfully with numerous variations but why is IPL such a sore point? Why are you spewing endless venom at IPL? Do you think gimmicks under garb of innovation will stand test of time or fill up stands, or for that matter incessant and untimely ads will not attract wrath of TV remote control? Flaws in IPL need to be ironed out. Evolution is a natural process and IPL must evolve, to stay fresh and exist. For now, IPL is here to stay: players are earning big bucks; and there's exciting cricketing during off season! IPL should co-exist with test and one-day cricket, and it will. Either sit back and pen negativity, or enjoy the fun - choice is entirely yours.

Posted by MartinAmber on (March 16, 2010, 21:03 GMT)

Keep going Gideon! Warne sounds more and more like an IPL shill every day. This absurd, utterly indefensible comment about the greatest innings EVER is just more depressing evidence. Was SK Warne not bowling at Bridgetown in March 1999? Can he be so blinded by the glittering lucre as to argue that Tendulkar's very recent 200 should bow down before Yusuf Pathan? Here is just the person we need to celebrate Test cricket, talking about nothing but the junk that pays his wages. God this is a stupid world.

Posted by rhino533 on (March 16, 2010, 20:17 GMT)

I've watched all 3 IPLs and last year's Champion's Thingy, just as I watch Test cricket when it's broadcast here in Australia on free-to-air TV. I've heard a lot of rubbish commentary and have read enough lousy articles to value an incisive and thoughtful writer like Gideon Haigh. Ironically, some of the comments on his articles support his criticsm of Modi being proclaimed as cricket's Messiah - anything vaguely critical of him and his Creation is seen as sacreligious. What about their dirty little war with the ICL ? While I enjoy watching the IPL, especially knocks like the one by Yusuf Pathan, I agree with Haigh when he baulks at the hyperbole heaped on each spectacle. Even once measured commentators like Harsha Boghle have cheapened their brand in this ( glad to see the end of the fireworks tho). Yet perhaps they've won me over,after all - I still dream that in his never-ending search to outdo himself in unblinking hyper- enthusiasm, one night Danny Morrison's head will explode.

Posted by bonaku on (March 16, 2010, 20:06 GMT)

Warnei is wrong about IPLs positivity view... Gideon Haigh is wrong about IPLs negitive view. Reality lies some where in the middle.

Posted by sumanksingh on (March 16, 2010, 20:05 GMT)

A cry baby! Gideon, please note that IPL is going to stay, so either you can accept it or go on cribbing at every opportunity you get.

Posted by Nikki_Tooley on (March 16, 2010, 19:58 GMT)

Gideon

You are like a man in the early 20th century looking for a faster horse after the invention of the car.

You can see the enjoyment on the faces of player, fans and sponsors. What is wrong?

I would correct you on one thing. Before the IPL cricket was dying in India. In ten years it would be second to football. The IPL has stopped and reversed this decay and for that if nothing else it has by whole hearted support.

Posted by 10dulkar100 on (March 16, 2010, 19:05 GMT)

These are the tours that should be scheduled

I would like test matches between these sides

New Zealand Tour India Pak NZ Ind Tri Series India Tour South Africa India Tour England - 4 Tests West Indies Tour South Africa South Africa Tour West Indies Sri Lanka Tour England Australia Tour England Australia Tour Sri Lanka South Africa Tour Sri Lanka West Indies Tour India India in Australia Pakistan Tour India - 4 Tests India Tour West Indies New Zealand Tour West Indies New Zealand Tour South Africa South Africa Tour New Zealand

PLEASE TELL BCCI ABOUT THIS. SERIOUSLY!

Please no more SL vs India.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 19:01 GMT)

Shane Warne is great awesome cricketer, and an even better man than he is a cricketer. Padma Shri for Warne!! It takes extraordinary talent and leadership to take a group a young charges and mould them into a fighting fit combination and win the inaugural championship. Warne ran the team with minimum fuss, with the cheapest players, and humbled every other team including the mighty MI and CSK!

Posted by AngelEyes on (March 16, 2010, 18:44 GMT)

Seriously Warnie! Who will remember Pathan's "slam bam thank ya ma'am" innings a year from now? No one - well maybe you and Modi. Even Pathan would have probably forgotten about it by then. Why? It didn't mean anything. It was made against ordinary bowling in conditions and a format taylor made for batsmen in a meaningless match (in grand scheme of things). I laugh every time I hear Modi and Co. hyping up the IPL. It's a nice league with some good cricket now and again. But, at its core it's just slam bam T20 cricket.

Twenty, thirty, forty years from now we will still be talking about Lara's epic 153 and 213, Laxman and Dravid at Calcutta 2001, Steve Waugh at Kingston 1995. We remember these innings because they meant something and in certain instances transcended the game itself. I've yet to see a T20 innings come even remotely close to Lara's, Laxman and Dravid's, or Waugh's innings - and I probably never will. That's the beauty of Test cricket.

Posted by Cybertox on (March 16, 2010, 18:31 GMT)

Haha!!! Now the Indian readers can't argue with him and say he's being anti-IPL cuz that way they'll be agreeing with warne that pathan's knock was better than sachin-warne rivalry

Posted by Yamadhootha on (March 16, 2010, 18:24 GMT)

As much as I disagree with Warne, Gideon's invective parading under the guise of rebuking Warne is counterproductive. The condescending diction laced with barbs is unbecoming of a responsible journalist. His views could have been expressed more earnestly and less offensively. Then again, this has been a pattern, and I wouldn't expect any change.

Posted by jayray999 on (March 16, 2010, 18:20 GMT)

People. Gideon Haigh does not read the comments you make. He said something to that effect in a recent interview. So save your energy and let him bash the IPL in peace. This is certainly my last comment.

Posted by dhchdh on (March 16, 2010, 18:07 GMT)

What's your problem with IPL mate? You & the British media just keep behaving like jealous cousins!!!!

Posted by waspsting on (March 16, 2010, 18:02 GMT)

Disagree with the article. Warne's the kind of guy who loves the competition - regardless of what kind of competition it is. he appreciates a great ODI performance like he appreciates a great test performance like he appreciates a T20 performance, WITHOUT PASSING JUDGEMENT ON WHICH TYPE IS MORE VALUABLE. theres nothing wrong with that. I'd say a 37 ball 100 in T20 is up there with a great test knock, if you don't on principal rank test performances higher.

I should add - Warne isn't the only one who feels this way. Tendulkar ranked a first class innings of 200+ as one of his greatest knocks ever.

IMO, the writer is using his own value system - that test cricket is supreme and hence should always be ranked highest - to judge Warne's stance. If you want to judge the guy, at least understand where he's coming from first (BTW, I agree with the writers value system, but i don't judge Warne for not ageeing with us!)

Posted by diptanshu on (March 16, 2010, 17:53 GMT)

Gideon, were you born in the 19th century by any chance? Your articles, with so much negative feeling towards IPL/BCCI makes me feel as if you were born in the 1800s.

You need the realise the time has changed and it is not a whites only sport. It is a sport played by more than 2 teams (Eng and Aus). In order to make it more attractive to the non-affiliated countries, it needs to sold to them in colourful packaging. T20 in general and IPL in particular is that wrapping paper. Otherwise, I don't see other countries getting attracted to the Test format. Unless you would like Test cricket to be played by less than a dozen teams, I don't see the reason why we shouldn't attract to other countries to Test cricket through T20 route.

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 16, 2010, 17:49 GMT)

Gideon I was never a fan of your writing skills (which I find to be dripping in pessimism always) but in this article you are in ultimate elements. You have chosen, of all cricketing issues, yet again something about IPL/Lalit Modi/BCCI and ranted about it. What was perhaps a casual statement and definitely a personal opinion of Warne is a matterof great interest to you and you have tried to dissect it hoping to find some definite under-the-table cartel of admins & ex players. You started with Warne , moved to Pathan and then quickly jumped to Modi to sing some more eulogies for him. And then try to link all this to the doom IPL (not T20 but only IPL, interesting!!) means for the game.

Gideon, why is it that all your articles of late have been focussed on rather minor issues? BCCI tax matters for eg. It is surprising that you have written absolutely nothing on the Pakistani players bans issue (Which is a BIIIIG issue definitely). You wrote nothing about the Johnson-Styris incident

Posted by Harmony111 on (March 16, 2010, 17:48 GMT)

Somehow it just escapes your mind that there is always a tussle between an Aussie and the other tema's player when the other team is seemingly winning the game. The correlation is striking but you would not dwell upon it. Why? You wrote nothing upon the loss WI had against Zim in the T20 or in the 1st ODI. Why? Nothing on the John Howard election. You question Modi a lot for several things. Is John Howard, an ex PM with Zero exp of cricket admin a fit person for ICC presidency? At least that is debatable, No? If you find a casual personal and more than justified statement of Warne worth an entire article, if you can question BCCI's morality when it tries to save some tax (the CA doing the same notwithstanding to you) surely all of these untouched issues too deserve the same of at least a little energy of yours !!

Somehow, you find interesting topics to write upon only when the key words are Indian Cricket, IPL, Modi, BCCI.

You using Made-In-India specks?

Posted by Croc_on_mara on (March 16, 2010, 17:14 GMT)

Really Giddy? Pathetic article man. I love the fact you aussies are writhing in inferiority complex 'coz you cannot conjure something of the scale and grandeur as IPL. Its quite plausible that Warne said whatever he said about Yusuf's innings in the heat of the moment and its not everyday does one gets to see a hundred smacked off 37 balls, especially in such trying circumstances. @ rightarmover: Well,perhaps the thought of he bowling to Tendulkar made him feign injuries.. as simple as that.. @redneck: If IPL is mickey-mouse show I cant fathom what one would call your rather pretentious over hyped Ashes series...and I watched a bit of your sad little 'KFC Twenty20 Big Bash'. Akin to Jumbo shrimps, it was oxymoronic and downright boring...Legend has it that its still on somehwere .. is it true??

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 17:11 GMT)

143 needed off 57 balls, think of the situation. No team would hope to win from there, but it was the magic of yusuf's innings that brought them so close. 11 consecutive boundaries, I doubt has anyone ever done that. Will this record be ever broken. Can even the little master himself do it. I know it was not the best of the attacks, but you cannot take anything away from yusuf for playing the innings of his life. I know i am exaggerating a but too much. But I have to say that playing an innings of such sort requires the courage and power of Yusuf Pathan.

Posted by ChairmanValvod on (March 16, 2010, 16:42 GMT)

Gideon seems to have a mentality of a dinosaur, akin to that of the Australian and English cricket boards. He has taken every opportunity in the last few years, actually as far back as I can remember, to bash the BCCI and now the IPL. Every single opportunity he gets, he's at it. I, personally think T20 cricket is of the fast food variety, but I'm not one to deride the game at all. You've got to be progressive and adaptable, because if you're not, the laws of nature and social darwinism say that you will perish. The Indians, saw and realized at the turn of the century that there was a lot of left on the table in cricket. They further realized that they had the resources and more importantly the intelligence and gusto to take charge and move the game forward. Now, of course it is also the way of the world, with success comes envy from people and entities that have been left behind to bite the dust.

Posted by Yorker_ToeCrusher on (March 16, 2010, 15:09 GMT)

I thing Warne has over rated Pathan's innings.Its not comparable to some of Sachin's classic innings against Australia..

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 14:45 GMT)

Modi is a narcissist and such people make others believe that they are messiah of change

Posted by maddy20 on (March 16, 2010, 14:44 GMT)

I thought M.Gideon Haigh does not follow IPL :P or does he to have a dig at it whenever he can?

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 14:43 GMT)

IPL is not serious cricket.. it is like entertainment wrestling.. only the talent is for real... any tom dick and harry can be the hero here.. so if cricket was only IPL from day one.. Bradman would not be the icon we know him to be..Tendulkar will not be the greatest modern contemporary player along side Lara!!! And Pointing will not be as good as he is .. Warney is just adding to the entertainment quotient.He is making so much in the after years of his cricketing career.. probably cricket Australia didn't pay him as much as IPL did.. so what's the hitch in him going gaga over some innings which is as much a product of chance as it was talent!!!! It is not the best innings BTW.. @redneck.. it ain't no mickey mouse show.. it is entertainment.. take it or leave it like Modi said.. I agree with the article though..

Posted by Subra on (March 16, 2010, 14:36 GMT)

Yiu can't blame Warne.

He knows that he has a few more years and the only source of a decent income is from the IPL. Therefore, he has to praisethe IPL.

I have always admired Warne's intelligence - otherwise he couldn't have been one of thegreatest spin bowlers. He is using it now to make as money out of the IPL as possible.

Well done Warne!

Siva from Singapore

Posted by ChairmanValvod on (March 16, 2010, 14:25 GMT)

Something the other Boards could never achieve in its one hundred year plus of dominance of the sport. Pathetic. Gideon, you my dear friend, are afraid of change, are envious by nature, and seeth at the success of others like Mr. Modi and the countless other cricketers who earn astronomical sums of money playing a format that YOU disagree with. As mentioned before, not a big fan of T20 myself, but I absolutely admire the cricket played, enjoy it from time to time, and appreciate the fact that it gives unknown young cricketers to play on the global stage and earn a living wage for it. You, Gideon,and your ilk, are dinosaurs from a bygone colonial era, who have been brushed aside cruelly, but justly, by former subjects, and you can't bare that fact. Wake up mate, the IPL and the likes of Mr. Modi are here to stay. The naysayers and dinosaurs with prohibitive mentality are a dying breed Gideon.

Posted by ChairmanValvod on (March 16, 2010, 14:16 GMT)

Furthermore, Gideon's venomous hatred for the BCCI, IPL, and Mr. Modi in particular is cleverly hidden under guise of the oft repeated notion these days, "Test cricket is dying and the T20 is killing it off". This is absolutely absurd. If anything, it brings the game to a wider audience, it gives an opportunity to a wider group of players to play professional grade cricket, and more, so, gives cricketers an opportunity to earn a real income, which they deserve. The real problem Gideon and his ilk have is, that the push forward in cricket, specifically via the IPL, is being undertaken by the BCCI, and not the CA or the ECB or the CSA. Furthermore his ilk also have a problem with the sums of money cricketers make these days. Can you give me one logical reason why someone would be against this? Envy. He'd rather cricket languish as a "Gentleman's Sport", devoid of any commercialization. If anything, the BCCI has revived cricket on a global scale, something all the other Boards

Posted by amaltn on (March 16, 2010, 13:21 GMT)

A well out article which highlights the fact that Mr. Lalit Modi has no knowledge about the sport called cricket. He is so keen on watching all the IPL matches. someone should tell him that the highest and the best form of the game is obviviously TEST CRICKET. If you ask any player from the past or present he or she would say that its their dream to score a test hundred or to take a five wicket hall and not to do it in IPL. So to say that IPL has revolutionised the game is a joke. 20-20 cricket is not something new. It was there in the English domestic circuit for a long time.And also ask Mr. Modi if he has heard of the KFC 20-20 bash down under. I don't even want to start on the Warnie issue. I guess age takes its toll on different people differently or in this case in a rather bizzare fashion. Kudos to the author.

Posted by rajmore on (March 16, 2010, 13:17 GMT)

He was simply saying that it was a "DLF Best Innings".

Posted by LukeTheDuke on (March 16, 2010, 13:03 GMT)

Cricket will die if we start taking advices from Mr. Lalit Modi. He is a business man and he wants to make money thats the bottom line. What in god's name he knows about cricket history. And I am a big fan of Shane warne but have to agree that he has gone beyond line saying that yusuf's inning was the best ever. I mean its not even international cricket. If some one scores like this in county cricket or sheffield shield, no body talk about it, so how this can be such a big talking point. It was a inning played by a batsman who will never get a chance to play a test match against a mediocre bowling attack. and Lalit Modi you r the one who is killing the cricket. Cricket does not need cheerleaders and all sort of noise to survive. Mind your business and leave cricket alone. It knows how to survive.

Posted by atul_wasan on (March 16, 2010, 11:49 GMT)

Gideon who ? get a life dude , go and enjoy bangladesh vs England series , we enjoy IPL anywayss

Posted by Anshuman_D on (March 16, 2010, 10:59 GMT)

Warnie exaggerating isn't anything new, but really what is so wrong with Warnie, and Modi indulging in a PR activity. Yes, and I repeat, its exaggeration but do we all not know this already, but 100 in 37 regardless of the bowling opposition is no mean feat. I did not see it but it sounds exciting stuff, certainly you can do better than just swatting it off offhand referring to substandard bowling.

I guess, as much as Warnie and co are prone to exaggerating, so is the media prone to criticising anything related with IPL. Both the sides come across looking pretty petty,

Posted by ruchinn on (March 16, 2010, 10:49 GMT)

mate grapes are sour for you !!!! IPL has arrived, love it or hate it but one cannot ignore it. As of today players around the world want to play & be a part of it & spectators are watching IPL because they get entertained. Getting so many players together & creating intrest around the world is one big acheivement. Do not forget only a few thousand watched ODIs in australia. Ponting wanted to make the bucks & had gone in the hope that he will also awarded, when he didn`t get the money for his disappointing performance he decided to save his face by raising stupid doubts about security. Australia has just won hockey world cup in India

As for Warne he was reacting on the spur of the moment, he has written a book & i hope he must have put in some thought before deciding his list.

learn to praise when it`s due & be graceful in acknowledging good efforts.

Posted by AlwaysTestCricket on (March 16, 2010, 10:19 GMT)

I did a piece on it titled 'On Brilliant Hitting and Great Batting' at http://deepanjoshi.wordpress.com/. Calling it the best knock ever is like calling Michael Clarke--who took 6 for 9 in 6.2 overs in Mumbai--who bowled Australia to victory in Sydney in 2008, a feat that eluded Warne in his illustrious career, as the best Australian spinner. I wouldn't even rate it in the best 100 knocks that I've personally seen in tough Test match situations.

Posted by MrMutt on (March 16, 2010, 9:51 GMT)

Shane Warne is a sportsman - he lives in the moment and keeps his eyes on the future, on the next great achievement. Gideon Haigh is a writer - he looks at the moment and sees it in terms of the past. His eyes are on history. Warne will never be a writer and Haigh will never be a sportsman (I've read his diary of a club cricketer!). But who can honestly say they would want them to swap roles?

Posted by adviat on (March 16, 2010, 9:38 GMT)

Belligerent Gideon, I agree to most of your views except that the tone is all too patronising and unnecessarily quarrelsome.

Cricket is a complete waste as a sport.The worst legacy of the 'Raj' . It's high time Indians played 'real' sports. Wrestling, soccer, field hockey, athletics, they are so many more economical ways to keep onself busy and win laurels for country.

Please move on with IPL and get on with cricket or whatever else makes you happy.

Best wishes!

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 9:36 GMT)

Mumbai also had Zaheer Khan and Malinga...Harbajan got injured. I think these bowlers are world class

Posted by Prateek6590 on (March 16, 2010, 8:49 GMT)

I don't understand the apprehension showed towards IPL and T20 cricket in general. If IPL is trying to take the game global and spread it across the world, everyone has a problem. If only those limited nations play the same old series again and again everyone is happy. I just think these so called purists just wait for these kind of statements in order to just write anything about them. They just don't understand how much popularity this is generating globally for the game and how much beneficial it has been for not just Lalit Modi but the players and the support staff as well. I am sure if this was not an Indian league and some English or Australian league these same purists would have gone ga ga over it.

Posted by sabina2009 on (March 16, 2010, 8:33 GMT)

I have seen Pathan's innings where he scored a century. It was simply superb the way he massacred the opponent bowlers. But to be honest it was not one of those greatest Cricketing Moments because I have seen many better innings from several players. What about Inzamam's innings in 1992 World Cup Semi Final against the Kiwis? It was surely an innings to remember. Then what about Sachin Tendulkar's innings agains NZ in 1994 when Tendulkar, for the first time, was told to open the innings?

So may be Yusu'f inings looked better to Warne only this does not mean that all of us liked that innings. And we also have to see against what type of bowlers, Yusuf scored his century.

Posted by chaithan on (March 16, 2010, 8:26 GMT)

totally agreed with the 'this is it' para. modi and ipl fans seems to think there is nothing to cricket besides the ipl. i doubt if they know much about cricket. and speaking of innovation its all off the field and absolutely none in the field. if possible its even more brainless cricket than ipl-1. only in ipl-2 teams were forced to use sensible tactics since there were on hard south african pitches. and about pathan's century it was on a small ground with a flat pitch and against 2 weak bowlers and a part timer (i dont know about mclaren). not even a great innings leave alone greatest ever.

Posted by Itchy on (March 16, 2010, 8:23 GMT)

Can't believe anybody takes too much notice of what Warney says - the man speaks more crap (and always has) than anyone else alive. He is only revving up the competition as it is his main meal ticket at the moment - gotta keep those sponsors and owners happy!

Posted by apyboutit on (March 16, 2010, 8:09 GMT)

Say, Haigh, What do you think of Packer? You cry " ... it is as if Cricket started only two years ago" .... well, I guess ... in a way, yes! For most part of the earlier century, it was just about a quarter dozen of the teams around the world that really made the sport (WI, ENG, Oz, SA?). Not a bit of globalization was observed even after several decades, post-war. I didn't see the interest either from the then Governers! It is refreshing to see a platform where talent from all corners of the world is pooled in an unprecedendted way, in a refreshing format, by ONE guy in a country that (unofficially) took over cricket just less than a decade ago!! As for the "spruiker ... liberal with praise.." comment from you, I guess it gave you a feel of what others think when Ozs go overboard when they compliment their teammate's performances. Like Ian's often uncontrollable excitements about Massie being the best! The Ashes legend. etc. To end, I sense a "we shoud'a dun it" in your tone.

Posted by Dhon_Boro on (March 16, 2010, 8:07 GMT)

You must not forget that Mr. Haigh is getting paid for this article in one way or the other. However much he hates the IPL, he is still watching and writing on it. I see nothing wrong in a statement where a captain may exaggerate his praise for a player of his. If the IPL was such a garbage to be watched, then Mr. Haigh, please refrain from watching. Let the rest of us enjoy the fireworks on display. After all I believe there is way more pressure for the players to perform in the IPL than ODI cricket. Think what pressure Kevin Pieterson has when he goes out to bat against Bangladesh in an ODI game, and think what pressure he is under when he goes out to bat against ANY team in the IPL. You'll know what I mean and where he is more focused. I truly believe all the players in the IPL give their heart out for their respective teams. Hence it is high intensity, demanding, and imposes tremendous pressure to perform. It's hardcore cricket under the fancy package of the label named IPL.

Posted by Venn on (March 16, 2010, 7:56 GMT)

I'm not surprised how critical this guy is on IPL and i'm not surprised one bit as it is coming from an australian. Actually I don't see any difference between the author and Ricky ponting. Those who don't get the riches and the benefits of IPL obviously are gonna cry foul about it and you are no different Mr.Gideon Haigh or whoever you are. I wonder what you would be saying if you are offered the commentary job at the IPL with a few hundred thousand dollars. I can guarantee you that IPL on its dullest day would be 1000 times more entertaining than your KFC big bash. Do you expect Modi to throw his magic hat and do something extra ordinary every day for u? The fact of the matter is IPL is getting more attention right now and nobody gives a damn about the Australia series with NZL (with all due respect to newzealanders). Sour Australians needs to stop being jealous about the richness of the Indian cricket. India's gonna dominate the cricket financially and u shud live with that.

Posted by TM_G on (March 16, 2010, 7:54 GMT)

Gidean, you caution against hyperbole.. Yet, aren't your pronouncements on what Modi said/meant/could have meant a bit over the top?? Let IPL be. It may survive, it may not. Those who like it will like it. Others can watch England play Bangladesh. That proved a better game than expected. Worry not - IPL will not kill test cricket. Quit coming out with variations of the same question. IPL has all consuming PR. So??

Posted by popcorn on (March 16, 2010, 7:23 GMT)

I am concerned with this obsession that Cricket MUST be played for Spectators, not for Cricket's sake.IPL is ruining Cricket.Let's go back into history. 1) Test Matches were played over 5 days with a day of rest in between - that's 6 days.Spectators came to watch the Cricket..2) Australia played 8 ball overs.Spectators came to watch the Cricket. 3) The ODI Prudential World Cups1975 and 1979 were played over60 overs.Spectators came to watch the Cricket. 4) The Sheffied Shield STILL is the most fiercely competed tournament in domestic cricket, yet the number of spectators are only 5000.5) Australia has only 20 million people so the number of people going to watch cricket in the stadiums are much fewer than in India - yet, Australians, true cricket lovers, watch Cricket. Australia is the Role Model to emulate as the Centre of Orthodoxy, plus the KFC Big Bash thrown in, - a good healthy balance exists. Cricket is a game of competition between two good sides,not for crowds ALONE.

Posted by Zigor on (March 16, 2010, 7:22 GMT)

Wow ! I don't think I have ever read an article with more sarcasm in it.Come on Gideon. Cheer up my friend. IPL has brought nothing but joy to most. It is a 3 hour fun train that touches your senses.Do we have to criticise everything that Modi and Warne say ? Also I don't get that how come no one praises Modi for what he has done.Give him 10 years and see where IPL is then. I know he is not the best speaker in the world but the man knows what he is doing. He is definitely not the idiot he is made out to be.Infact he is way more smart than most of the sport adninistrators around the world.Sorry Gideon not a great article.

Posted by Noman_Yousuf_Dandore on (March 16, 2010, 7:17 GMT)

Absolutely spot on. Few Indians might see it as IPL bashing, but I believe if you go through the article with an open heart, you'll agree with at least most of the points raised, if not all. And I'm sick of Shane Warne asking for a window for IPL; now he plays only six weeks a year but he should learn to respect the International game (which btw got him to play in the IPL). We do need a 3-month window for all T20 leagues(not just IPL) and champions league worldwide to limit them to that time frame; but I'll post my suggestions on that separately. Cheers!

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (March 16, 2010, 7:13 GMT)

@redneck How thankless of you "mate"? Watson struggled all throughout his first few years before IPL-1 gave him the confidence to showcase his real talent! Ah, and about collecting a green cap and coming of age, its a juvenile statement to make if you know your cricket.

Posted by shaantanu on (March 16, 2010, 7:08 GMT)

ah!!gideon....if u r so upset with the IPL just ignore it.dont watch it or read or write anything about it.its just fun cricket not to be taken all tht seriously mate.take it easy .@cricfan78:i cant agree with you more:).......@redneck:what pinnacle of test cricket are you talking about.the one btwn WI/Aus or Pak/Aus..oh i forgot u r talking about the ASHES.it has ceased to be competitive years ago.one or two competitive series in two decades does not make it the pinnacle of test cricket anymore,does it?well if it makes you happy you can have it.

Posted by satanicoutput on (March 16, 2010, 7:07 GMT)

One of the most inane article, I have read on this site. Only Sameer comes close. You are accusing Shane Warne to be a part of a great PR conspiracy, which you have identified as "that this is it, and the rest of cricket simply does not exist;". Talk of hyperbole. I would like to direct the readers to another piece by Gideon.http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/444427.html The IPL bashing continues. The author thinks that there has been no innovation in the IPL. To him the Mongoose looks like Bob's bat. Well to me it looks rather similar to a normal bat. Does that make it any less, new ? The slow bouncer, flicks over keeper's head, etc etc. And yes having cricket on youtube is not an innovation, its 'intriguing' at best. He ends by saying, yes the quality of cricket is good, and Warne is a man who speaks in the moment and with his heart. I don't agree with what Warne said. But if the author agrees that, that is how he(Warne) is, then why is he(Gideon) so pissed off about it

Posted by popcorn on (March 16, 2010, 7:07 GMT)

Oh, God! Do I have to endure this crap on TV and the newspapers - March 12 to April 25 - just slogging -what a pain! I am bored already! - As Gideon Haigh rightly said," Twenty20 is a TV Property masquerading as Cricket".And to think that just two years ago,spectators were complaining that the ODI World Cup played in the Caribbean was too long and just recently, the Champions Trophy was well managed in a short time! The ODI World Cup and Champions Trophy were played beween the best playets from the Countries. This IPL has a motley lot of nondescript players, some retired - well past their "sell -by " date! I hope to God this overload of crap ends soon,and Twenty20 is dead and buried. We want to watch GOOD Cricket - not mongooses.

Posted by BenjaminP on (March 16, 2010, 6:55 GMT)

"...we don't innovate and we let the sport die."

Mr Modi - Cricket is a sport, T20 is a game. When T20 dies out, cricket will remain. Don't let your ego get in the way of reality."

Posted by afs_talyarkhan on (March 16, 2010, 6:48 GMT)

As a sceptic about the IPL I have been pleasantly surprised by the level of skill and competition on display. Warne is the greatest spinner of all time and his opinions must always be respected. But he is also prone to hyperbole and exaggeration. Gideon Haigh is a truly great thinker and writer about the game. He is right to question the motivation of the money men and their hired prizefighters.

Posted by HK_Sachin on (March 16, 2010, 6:46 GMT)

Giddon... Warnie's trying to "give confidence" to the Son of a perfume maker, brother of broken star, Yusuf Pathan. Thats all there is to it. I believe that it was a bit over the top. Caught up in the moment, that his work, his team and his players played a almost a world record breaking fearsome knock.

If you've had any experience working with south asian cricketers, mentoring & coaching them, superlatives, waxing eloquence to them does boost up their confidence and self-beleif most of these are humble backgrounds.

And you must be really kidding to say the "state of cricket" 2 years ago was in better shape ..... tell me one form of the game played universally that wasnt, leave a few rivalries, under threat.

how about listening to your own self and begin to give in that you have a new master. His name is most likely going to be an Indian one, it might start with it being Modi, but, then, it might become someone more suave or even less sophisticated.

Posted by redneck on (March 16, 2010, 6:37 GMT)

i dont read to much into warnes statement, hes just a captain proud of one of his charges! @AB99 no jealousy over here, we are blessed with seeing the pinnicle of test cricket year in year out in every major city! you can keep your mickey mouse cricket show!!! the only thing annoying me in regards to the ipl is playing 2 tests in nz instead of 3! and as for your claim about watson he made his odi debut in 02 and his test debut in 05! if someone collects a baggygreen cap they have already come of age! the only difference now with watson is that hes fit not batling an injury like he has been through out his career! nothing to do with the royals at all!

Posted by iratewarlock on (March 16, 2010, 6:29 GMT)

By the way , rememberl the little commonwealth games days of cricket and how it was snubbed again and again. Today the ioc is pursuing cricket on its own. American prime time news covers cricket, Things have changed you like it or not. Times crushes all doubts people like you have. Am sure 10 years later you will be speaking of the IPL in the same esteemed breath in which you refer to the " GROUND BREAKING" packer world series in your other articles

Posted by iratewarlock on (March 16, 2010, 6:23 GMT)

By the way , rememberl the little commonwealth games days of cricket and how it was snubbed again and again. Today the ioc is pursuing cricket on its own. American prime time news covers cricket, Things have changed you like it or not. Times crushes all doubts people like you have. Am sure 10 years later you will be speaking of the IPL in the same esteemed breath in which you refer to the " GROUND BREAKING" packer world series in your other articles

Posted by iratewarlock on (March 16, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

cricket evolves with the times, we the Indians are creating the mega bucks never seen before in cricket. Rather than being all green eyed about it, you can also come join in the fun. Agree warne was over the top. but to belittle IPL in each of your articles is not in good taste .

Posted by jackpard on (March 16, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

Why do test cricket lovers have to feel so insecure after t20 cricket was introduce. So what warne has said that Pathans innings was the best innings he has seen. I know Pathan is no sachin tendulkar. But we should remember that its difficult to find a batsmen like Pathan/Afridi/Symonds/Gayle who are so damn strong hitters of the ball and delight to watch. I agree that Pathan can never play like Dravid, but Dravid can also never play like Pathan. People like Pathan are more valuable than Dravid in this format of the game. And comparing test cricket to t20 is totally unfair. Everybody has their strengths. What's more important is how effectively one uses their strengths. Dravid does is beautifully in test cricket which is why he is a great asset in Test cricket. Pathan does the same in T20. So test cricket lover please stop belittling T20 format. T20 was never meant to replace test cricket. All it did is get more audience especially female audience :).

Posted by jamrith on (March 16, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

Most right-thinking Indians ( read older, less affluent) have given up on the IPL. It is rightly considered a 'tamasha'-- the equivalent of a hit-and-giggle. But the relentless IPL publicity machine oiled by gadzillions of dollars, again widely assumed to be money from the so-called parallel economy ( interpret as you will), and shilled by hordes of commentators has swept along the younger sections of society. None of them care about the game, just the glamour and the glitz but I guess that's their call. As long as the IPL does produce some genuine Indian talent, more power to it. But can the Yusuf Pathans, Rayudus and Tiwaris reprise their IPL efforts when they play for India. I, for one, am skeptical because these young men are so club-oriented that they really could not care less about performing well for their country. On the other hand, the Aussies, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis ( not so sure about the Saffers or the Kiwis)appear much more motivated when donning national colours.

Posted by shanemukesh on (March 16, 2010, 6:16 GMT)

Everybody have their views, Warney has his. Nothing wrong in it.. I too think Pathan's innings was one of the best, if not 'THE' best. Can't seen anybody hitting 11 successful balls to boundaries.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (March 16, 2010, 6:14 GMT)

I agree on most part with Gideon. I have been following Warne and Damian martyn for quite some time on twitter and cant help but notice that these fellows are using IPL as brilliant platform to launch there own business interests. Be it warne advertising for his Spinner undergaments or passing sly remarks abt sachin vs tait battle to stir up followers response or martyn promoting his own personel website and blv me distributing 2 RR match tickets per game to people visiting his website. This hyping up of pathan, IPL, lalit modi seems to be a shrewd business plan to tap into massive indian fan base for further business apportunity. Even shahrukh khan has twitted his millions of followers on twitter to follow shane warne, modi has done the same. Is shane such a small entity that he needs promotion from indian big wigs. And there is massive question mark of martin being in RR squad. Dont knw what is he doing there,,

Posted by caarl_2000 on (March 16, 2010, 6:07 GMT)

Of course winning the IPL was one of warne's greatest moments. He single handedly took the team to victory. With only one star graeme smith who doesn't have a great record in T20. He bowled coached and batted magnificently and beat the best hand picked teams in the worlds with the most perfect squads. As an australian cricketer he has always been surrounded by legends like ponting gilchrist Mcgrath hayden .... and it was never a one man team, like in the IPL, that to uniting a team which was bound to have low confidence and self esteem being the worst team on paper by far! It is one of the biggest sporting miracles ever. Like Bangladesh winning a world cup. The ammount of effort and patience he put in as well as managing to raise the team's self esteem and force the players to perform against superstars. How can you criticize such an acheivement ? You are extremely ignorant or just envious how the IPL is giving India finally a chance to have a say in the world of cricket

Posted by wicked_soul on (March 16, 2010, 6:01 GMT)

Of course winning the IPL was one of warne's greatest moments. He single handedly took the team to victory. With only one star graeme smith who doesn't have a great record in T20. He bowled coached and batted magnificently and beat the best hand picked teams in the worlds with the most perfect squads. As an australian cricketer he has always been surrounded by legends like ponting gilchrist Mcgrath hayden .... and it was never a one man team, like in the IPL, that to uniting a team which was bound to have low confidence and self esteem being the worst team on paper by far! It is one of the biggest sporting miracles ever. Like Bangladesh winning a world cup. The ammount of effort and patience he put in as well as managing to raise the team's self esteem and force the players to perform against superstars. How can you criticize such an acheivement ? You are extremely ignorant or just envious how the IPL is giving India finally a chance to have a say in the world of cricket

Posted by acidfaced on (March 16, 2010, 6:00 GMT)

Gideon, I realise that you have never been the most ardent admirer of the IPL, and for good reason, however, I think you might me reading too much into Warney's praise of Yusuf. Maybe its just a captain trying to keep the chips up and making the Indian players feel like they belong. His captaincy has always been about deflecting the attention automatically showered on him by the news-hungry media onto his team, more so the lesser the known players in the team. Just a thought.

Posted by Woody111 on (March 16, 2010, 5:58 GMT)

What amazing innovation! Turning a stupid break in such a short game into 2 stuipd breaks. Wow! What will they think of next? I wonder whether the incessant self-promotion inherent in the IPL is due to a recognition that the tournament has a limited lifespan and will die a fitting death in the next 10 years. I can only hope that people wake up from their substanceless fascination with sixes, pop music and dancers to realise this isn't really cricket at all - rather just a marketing exercise to sell product. Who cares what an brainless idiot like Warne says. He has moved into Modi's business bed and will remain there til he is no more use to this canniving executor of cricket. Perhaps there is hope for test nations like Bangladesh while they are ignored by IPL franchises as they will be able to develop cricketers who actually know how to play cricket properly. Watch how many tests Pollard plays for West Indies. I reckon 15 before he is either dropped permanently or 'retires' from test

Posted by Paulk on (March 16, 2010, 5:57 GMT)

I dont know if its necessary to dissect every statement Warne or anyone else makes. People (and captains especially) sometimes say these things to boost players self-belief and confidence. I remember Steve Waugh once saying Justin Langer was the best batsman in the world when he was in the middle of a very good run. And this sort of thing happens outside of sport too by group leaders, bosses etc etc. My advice to Mr Haigh and other constant complainers about IPL is please just enjoy it or offer constructive criticism. And please let the rest of us enjoy it. As the modern bard said if you can't bring good news then don't bring any....

Posted by May4sBeWithThem on (March 16, 2010, 5:46 GMT)

Do we need to react to every statement made by Modi/Warne, and every piece of hype originating from the IPL? Most of the followers know the worth of these statements - which is none - so just ignore them and get on with enjoying the cricket. There are far more important things going on - like we might never see the likes of Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden, etc ever again on a cricket field as players. I don't see them returning for the next season.

Posted by krrish001 on (March 16, 2010, 5:46 GMT)

Warne has published his list of 100 best players that he has either played with or against. And in that there were some notable exclusions like Sidhu and Laxman. Also Steve Waugh and Gilchrist were not high enough in the eyes of many. So if he says that Pathan's innings was the best he has seen it should be taken in a similar context, that it is JUST HIS OPINION and not UNIVERSAL TRUTH. It was an exciting contest and Warne in all probability was just being lavish in his praise. Maybe he wanted to pep his team mates for the rest of the tournament, whatever!

Now has cricinfo specifically asked Gideon Haigh to write only about Lalit Modi, BCCI and the IPL? We would be pretty pleased to know his opinion about Cricket Australia, ECB, and many other matters also. After all cricket is not all about BCCI and IPL. Well not yet!

Posted by CricFan78 on (March 16, 2010, 5:38 GMT)

Talking of hyperbole I cant think of anything better than Ashes. Just one good series in last 20 yrs and its always been praised as "pinnacle" of cricket.

Posted by crikbuff on (March 16, 2010, 5:36 GMT)

Well written. IPL, Lalit Modi and his cronies have surely gone overboard with praises and hyperboles. The most obnoxious being Ravi Shastri calling Modi- "the messiah of cricket". IPL is vastly overhyped and is endangering test cricket - irrespective of what Modi claims. 70-75% stand occupancy for the opening matches is evidence that the public is getting tired of this farce. Crowds will only get thinner. The franchises are in the red, leaking funds with debt burdens, and desperate for sponsors. Their extraordinary valuations seem fraudulent to say the least. Someone has to take the lid off this con-act, before irreparable damage is done to our national passion.

Posted by Bharat_number_1 on (March 16, 2010, 5:28 GMT)

I dont think anyone takes the IPL as seriously as Gideon Haigh does. Constant ramblings about a league that has done no current damage and constantly states its need to be a part of and not all of worldwide cricket is just sad for such a smart man.

Get a life and quit crying Giddy!

Posted by CricFan24 on (March 16, 2010, 5:24 GMT)

And about Pathan's innings- of course that is nonsense from warney. He is simply trying to pump up his team. Exactly what he did in the first edition of the IPL ,when the Rajasthan Royals won. He had a dossier for the team which included things to the effect of "CHest out stomach in"!!....waddya expect then?

Posted by CricFan24 on (March 16, 2010, 5:24 GMT)

@rightarmover: Tendulkar pasted Warne right from Warneys debut. All the way till Warney retired. Some 15 and more years of endless pasting. You forget Tendulkar was mostly injured from 2003-07 too- and that was the ONLY period any bowler could be said to have got the better of him.Warney's a great ,great bowler- but in this current observation of yours ,im afraid you are dead wrong.

Posted by TruthPrevails on (March 16, 2010, 5:14 GMT)

Warne is best bowler of this era?! Oh please, ask him what is his average against best players of spin i.e. Indians in India - it is pathetic. Ask Ponting what is his average in India - that too is lowly and shameful.

Posted by Sehwagology on (March 16, 2010, 5:13 GMT)

I keep tiring of saying this but yet another fine piece of writing by the best writer on Cricinfo. I almost fell off my chair when I heard Warne describing Pathan's innings as the best ever. How can any innings be declared as the best ever when it's played in conditions and in a format where the contest is so laughably loaded in favour of the batsman! Warne should know better especially as he was witness to the two greatest innings of the modern game - Brian Lara's epic unbeaten 153 and Laxman's masterful 281. To put Pathan's innings in even the same ball park is simply risible. And yes you are right about the innovation - the only innovative thing I have seen in this edition of the IPL so far are the Karbonn mobile ads in the middle of overs!!! Yes in the middle of overs! Simply incredulous! Of course you do know Gideon that you are likely to be ambushed by most other Indian fans!

Posted by spece212 on (March 16, 2010, 5:09 GMT)

I took Warnie's comment about Yusuf with a pinch of salt. I believe other people did the same, Warnie as someone said is more a man of the moment rather than a scholar of cricket. However does it deserve to be extrapolated into a "hyperbole" on how the evil IPL is destroying the purity and greatness of sport of cricket? I don't think so. IPL openly touts is credentials as a entertaining commercial venture and everyone back in India perceives it that way. This article smacked more of snide and prejudice against IPL rather than an objective assessment. Did I expect anything better from a Aussie scribe about IPL? Definitely not!!

Posted by Siga666 on (March 16, 2010, 5:09 GMT)

By following Rajasthan Royals for the past three seasons, I can say, he is just trying to talk his people up to get the maximum from them.Remember Jadeja, he talked of him as superstar and a next big thing in indian cricket... So I am not really bothered about his comments. Its just his way of motivating his troops

Posted by Karthik_S on (March 16, 2010, 5:05 GMT)

Yawn! Come on Gideon take it with a pinch of salt and move on.

Yes IPL and Indian Cricket runs on hyperbole. Most of us in India cringe at the endless stream of advertisements and commentators without objectivity. But we live with it, we like cricket.

Yes Modi and gang call inanities innovation,but it seems to help bring in the moolah.Who cares - for now.

If Shane Warne and company espouse the greatness of IPL and innings played there, so be it. The IPL pays them and pays them handsomely. Their sycophancy is no different when they played for Australia and looked at the world in Aussie colored glasses.

Give us insight - I'd love to come to cricinfo every week and read articles written by you and others, but not if all you do is flog a dead horse.

Karthik

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 5:01 GMT)

I smell something burning..

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (March 16, 2010, 4:58 GMT)

@rightarmmover You must be kidding us all! You've issued the most inane excuse ever for Warne's non-performance against Tendulkar. I really can't believe what you've written.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 4:54 GMT)

Warnie thinks that was the greatest knock he had ever seen. He also gave explanation why that was the greatest knock. Why do you have a problem Giedon ?

My conclusion from your article is : You don't have a problem with Warnie saying something, You have a problem with IPL.

Posted by sudzz71 on (March 16, 2010, 4:53 GMT)

Dear Mr Haigh, I have always admired your writing and your insight into the game. But on this occasion you have spewed venom against the IPL for reasons best known to you and in the process you have heaped scorn on most people that have engaged in it, again the reasons are unclear to me.

To say that Cricket was in robust health and yet in the same breath 2 to 3 out of its 7-8 to constituents were floundering means 30% of its constituents were not doing well, additionally for all the robustness you ascribe to the sport, there was not much happening by the way of investment or innovation even in countries like Sri Lanka and the much be-knighted England, it was only Australia and South Africa that were leading the way and that too mainly because of their overall sporting culture and not specifically due to cricket.

Therefore to say that IPL has not served its purpose is to basically adopt a ostrich like attitude.

That being said cricket does not need an IPL to survive ....

Posted by shankargg on (March 16, 2010, 4:48 GMT)

Are we all supposed to accept that test cricket is the v best and enjoying 20-20 is faking it! Isn't that supposed to be subjective - like my own opinion! Why is calling a 37 ball hundred (one of the fastest ever) as the greatest seem so ridiculous? Is it sour grapes or too many chips on your shoulder? I think your attitude is anti-growth and cliched. Enjoy the cricket in the IPL, amuse yourself with the hype n glitz, and when test cricket comes along, enjoy tht too. allow yourself to go with the flow. Too many of u cricinfo 'purists' seem to be a bit too stuck up. Like its a pain to cover the IPL. Don't like it? Call me. I'll do it. And Lalit Modi is one smart guy.. India badly needed. If the indian hockey association was this smart, we wud never have been conned into playing on astroturf and losing the edge of natural ability required on grass to a more physical game on astroturf. without smart administrators, players suffer.. indian hockey is a prime example.

Posted by Wanderer.Forever on (March 16, 2010, 4:45 GMT)

Oh come'on Gideon, your reaction to Warne's "heat of the moment" comment is as exaggerated as Modi's PR exercise for IPL! Agree with some of your comments but somehow I detect pure envy over the success of IPL. As sam33 correctly albeit sarcastically pointed out, if Ashes has a place in cricket considering the lopsidedness in the last 2 decades (barring a couple of instances in 2005 and 2009), then IPL is the future of the game even after discounting the hype. Lets get real.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 4:42 GMT)

I mean what is these IPL bashers problem in life ???? Tired of these whingers.......come on you don't like it you don't watch it. There are millions who are interested in sub-standard product according to you guys. And if Test cricket, even it if is one-sided affair, is more enthralling and entertaining...happy dude ???

Posted by DinakarAppaji on (March 16, 2010, 4:27 GMT)

The author is right in describing the hyperbole especially with regards to Pathan's innings in IPL as against some of the greatest knocks in test and international arena. However the author makes a point relating this to Warne taking in Ricky and other australins on security issues and this is just rediculous. Even the author can't be spared of hyperbole that was related to terror threat when it comes to cricket in Asian countries.

Posted by TheOnlyEmperor on (March 16, 2010, 4:24 GMT)

Hitting a century off 37 balls is no minor feat, even in minor league cricket. Yusuf did that while chasing a score from a seemingly impossible position when nobody would have given RR a chance. Warne being a poker player must appreciate the knock a lot more than many on how the match fortunes swung as a result. Maybe he is a lot more astute than half a dozen cricket columnists combined. Why does constantly get the feeling that there are a great many who want to knock down the IPL? IPL has turned cricket from dull dreary "boringly British" sport to one which gets the adrenalin pumping, bringing in tons of crowds and revenues to the game. Spectator sports in colloseums are losing audiences every year elsewhere for various reasons. IPL is a breath of fresh air. Give credit where it is due and give bias a back seat for once.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 4:22 GMT)

I just love it how every day Gideon's false sense of the world gets destroyed piece by piece....

Posted by Vkarthik on (March 16, 2010, 4:21 GMT)

Why are you analyzing his opinion Gideon. Do you really think IPL needs assistance from Warnie? Whose words are true then? Experts like you?

Posted by Notout_Naveen on (March 16, 2010, 4:21 GMT)

I agree .Warne's reaction about Yousuf was over the top. @rightarmover wht u mean by Warne not 100% fit??..He was cent percent fit , but Sachin won the contest not b'se of Warne's poor fitness (even if he was) it was b'se Sachin preparation to take on Warne was top notch.That is a history and an example for youngsters to emulate.Practice and be prepared to take on bolwers even if u are talented.

Posted by Aubmic on (March 16, 2010, 4:20 GMT)

You are massively over reacting to a throwaway line at a post match interview. Warnie is just using a touch of hyperbole to instill a bit of confidence in his team.

For someone who seems to despise almost everything about the IPL, I have to wonder why every single article you write of late is about it.

Posted by AB99 on (March 16, 2010, 4:16 GMT)

The Aussies are jealous of IPL and that they could not design this kind of a tournament. The icing on the cake is that the IPL goes on without the Pontings, Clarkes, Johnsons, .... and remember it was in IPL-One at Rajasthan Royals under Share Warne that Shane Watson started to come of age ...

Posted by korupt on (March 16, 2010, 4:06 GMT)

Yes, ofcourse Ashes is the only real cricket. Even if one half of the competition wins only once in 5 years and can lose 5-0 at times and at other times make it 4-1...it must be held yearly and lot of PR space taken...Ofcourse.

Posted by   on (March 16, 2010, 3:56 GMT)

Thanks Gideon for writing this. Warne's claim was shocking. He didn't even have dignity to say it was best T20 innings he had seen (if that was true). And you are right in pointing out Mr. Modi's proclamation of being savior of Cricket. The best shot other night was still Dravid's cover drive and not one of those countless towering sixes you get to see in any T20 contest.

Posted by raghavaussiecombine on (March 16, 2010, 3:45 GMT)

Hyperbole, like you say, has become the order of the day. There is no more a standard of comparison. Even the mediocre gets praised as 'out-of the world'. By no means am I belittling Pathan's batting. It was really good. IPL has been filled with innovative ways of making money! How about the 7min tactical break from 2nd edition of IPL being broken into 2 breaks in 3rd IPL? Innovative!

Posted by BillyCC on (March 16, 2010, 3:44 GMT)

I'm certain that the author is only writing this article to stir up some discussion/controversy on the IPL. Gideon Haigh must understand that Warne's personality was a key factor in his becoming a great in the modern era. Such personalities like to live in the moment and as a result, what he says during a press conference must be taken in the context of this. When he has time to think and reflect on the past, Warne may well recall this innings as the most devastating he has seen and the most entertaining. He may well recall the Royals win as one of the major highlights. But I doubt these will be at the forefront.

Posted by AnilMaskey on (March 16, 2010, 3:35 GMT)

This article couldn't be more true. I agree with each letter and every word printed in this one.

Posted by rightarmover on (March 16, 2010, 3:31 GMT)

i just want to point out that when warne faced Tendulkar, he was never fully fit, Warne 100% fit would have been a far greater contest

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Gideon HaighClose
Gideon Haigh Born in London of a Yorkshire father, raised in Australia by a Tasmanian mother, Gideon Haigh lives in Melbourne with a cat, Trumper. He has written 19 books and edited a further seven. He is also a life member and perennial vice-president of the South Yarra CC.

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