This, that and the other. Mostly the other
The Nokia Champions League T20 2011 started with a glittering opening ceremony at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. The ceremony involved performances by renowned international artists Jay Sean, Jay Z, Sean Z, Z Sean, Z Jay, Flo Rida, Rho Deisland and Wa Shington.
The highlight of the event was when the captains of the 10 teams were asked to sign a Spirit Of Cricket Wall. The captains left various message of sportsmanship and fair play on the wall. Daniel Vettori wrote: "May the best non-Australian team win." In a stunning exhibition of selfless sportsmanship, Mumbai Indians stand-in captain Harbhajan Singh signed on behalf of his team-mate Andrew Symonds. Next to the signature he left a delightful picture of a small animal.
Unfortunately Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni was unable to attend the event. The team later clarified that they had not received invitations from the tournament organisers. The evening ended with a glittering award ceremony where Dhoni was given the "Spirit of Enthusiastic Participation In Cricketing Awards Events Without Creating Unnecessary Scenes Award 2011".
Sachin Tendulkar later wrote a letter to the BCCI suggesting that one way to avoid such problems with invitations in the future would be to split the inauguration ceremony for major tournaments into two or three parts, which could be then conducted at various points during a tournament, therefore giving more time for more invitations.
In the pulsating inaugural match of the South Indian Bank Champions League T20 2011, the Koollallongoogong Klicketyclicks upset the Chennai Super Kings with just two balls to spare. "We tried our best but we lost," said Dhoni after the match, "but I refuse to blame the recent Test series in England for the loss."
Controversy was unleashed later that evening. It was revealed that Shoaib Akhtar's forthcoming autobiography, Sachin and I, claims that in the early part of his career Tendulkar suffered from severe dandruff.
The entire country sat spellbound as the Bloemfontein Benitomussolinis scraped past a defiant Chennai Super Kings on the third day of the Vijay Sales Champions League T20 2011. The Benitomussolinins won by just a single wicket after scoring 176 in their innings. "It was a great match. And today the Benitos were just too good for us," admitted Dhoni. "However, these media rumours that blame our defeat on Rugby World Cup exhaustion is baseless."
The day started with international debate. The ICC admitted that Tendulkar had written to it with a suggestion to revive interest in the T20 format. Haroon Lorgat revealed: "In his letter Mr Tendulkar has outlined a plan to split each stadium into two sections, with bowling happening in one and batting in the other one. We are seriously considering this plan."
Later, attention swung back to the cricket when the Guyana Guitarsolos clawed their way back from the edge of defeat with a stunning last-ball victory over the Chennai Super Kings. "Some days things just don't go your way. But it was a great joint effort by the Guitarsolos," said Dhoni at the post-match presentation. He vehemently denied media rumours that the players were still suffering from the physical exertions of the Japan Open Badminton Championships.
Crippled by an endless list of injuries the Mumbai Indians approached the CLT20 organisers for special concessions today. After hours of deliberation the executive committee agreed to let the Indians field the English national team for the remainder of the tournament. "This is a great day for my country," said Nelson Mandela.
Cricketing action resumed at the Michael Pinto Funeral Services Champions League T20 with a pulsating match between the Leicestershire Lactoseintolerants and the Chennai Super Kings. The Super Kings took the game to the Lactos by posting 201 on the board, but a splendid opening partnership of 89 for the Lactos meant that the English team coasted through with four overs to spare. "What do you do when you get beaten by the better team? You carry on to the next match," said a visibly disappointed Dhoni afterwards.
The day ended in controversy thanks to Shoaib Akhtar's soon to be launched autobiography, Sachin and Dravid Suck. But Sachin Sucks More. In it, Akhtar said, he talks about how in the early part of his career Tendulkar routinely refused to return library books. "For instance," Akhtar told an Indian TV channel, "Guns of Navarone."
Today two non-Indian teams played. It was not bad.
The first week of the Chandigarh Sector 17 McDonalds Champions League T20 ended with a pulsating match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Chennai Super Kings. "It has been a tough week for us. And they completely outplayed us in every department," Dhoni admitted before the match.
Off the pitch, controversy swirled after the ICC revealed that Tendulkar had written to the official body with suggestions to revitalise the gap between two live matches on television, when you have to listen to Sanjay Manjrekar analyse. Haroon Lorgat informed that the first half of Sachin's letter has been received. And the next half would be received after the ICC replied to the first half.
The day ended in ignominy after a stunning revelation by Shoaib Akhtar. The Pakistani fast bowler's forthcoming autobiography, titled Sachin Is Almost As Bad As Amitabh Bachan and Mahatma Gandhi, is believed to say that at no point in his career was Tendulkar able to quickly say the phrase "Cycle Rally Lorry Rally".
"I remember the Mohali Test in 2005 very clearly," said Akhtar, "where he kept saying Cycle Lally Aila Lally.
"Indian people have a right to know," said an unrepentant Akhtar.
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