Ban IPL (Indian Premier League) and Save the Nation!

India has just crashed out of the second edition of ICC World Cup Twenty 20 event. If you ask me whether the Indian team performed to their potential, the answer is ‘NO’ and the reasons are the following:

  • There was no proper opening pair. Basically they did not have a backup for the injured Sehwag and the team composition was wrong here
  • Dhoni disturbed the #3 slot throughout the tournament by promoting himself (selfish) on flat wickets and sending in Raina and Yuvraj when the wicket was fast and bouncy. This disturbed the #3 specialist slot. Ideally, he should have stuck with Raina
  • Our paper tigers are not well-equipped to play in bouncy tracks. They chased moving and bouncing balls without any clue
  • IPL fatigue and Twenty 20 overkill! This was the biggest reason and the topic for today

Is IPL really in the interest of the nation?

Last year I had written a post about the potential threat that IPL was posing then and most of it has come true already. The players (and even BCCI) is purely after money and once they have it with IPL, there is no interest to play for the country. If you remember, last year our skipper had skipped the tour following the IPL citing the need for rest. If he really wanted to rest, he should have taken rest during IPL and not while playing for the country.

BCCI cheating the country?

I would think that the selectors and the management must have known about Sehwag’s injury but they didn’t want to admit the fact that IPL caused the problem (which was the actual reason). By sending an unfit team, they did not really put country’s interest ahead of their money minded IPL.

BCCI is an autonomous private body. If they want to play more IPL and make money, let them but then representing the country’s cricket should not be in their agenda. The government should probably take over that part. At the moment, IPL is only benefiting the franchisees, the players and BCCI but not the country!

For this edition of IPL, it was actually an irony to see that teams like Rajastan or Chennai is playing abroad with a fake fan setup around. Even more ridiculous was the way in which BCCI and IPL was pouring out money to support schools in South Africa and acting like big bosses there. Can’t they do the same kind of charity here in India?

Ban IPL or make it short!

Ideally, they should make IPL only a within-India affair. Also, they should cut down the duration to something like three weeks to save our cricketers to play for the country. Also a shorter duration would make sure that a billion fans who are country’s future – in terms of valuable human resource – will not waste their time by watching just cricket.

Let’s not overdo Twenty 20 and kill our country’s pride! (Please note that it’s not an emotional outburst from me due to India’s exit from the Twenty 20 World cup. I have written about the Twenty 20 overkill many times in the past)

Twenty 20 World Cup feels better than IPL

It feels like a decade since I last posted on this blog. However, I have a topic now in the form of the Twenty 20 World Cup that is taking plaec in England.

Sandwiched between the IPL and the Ashes, the timing of the World Cup seems right. It is not particularly hot or cold at this point of time though the mood and interest have been a little bit timid as compared to the IPL. This is because, of late – thanks to the IPL – all of us have consumed an overdose of 20-20.

The format is interesting and is at its best when countries play the event rather than cooked up teams as in the case of IPL. Also, the shorter schedule/duration makes it more interesting. For example, in a matter of five or six days a few teams have already been eliminated unlike the IPL where the fans need to wait for a whole month even to figure out which is a good team.

A couple of facts about the Twenty 20 World cup and the twenty 20 game in general:

  • Teams like Australia are yet to figure out what Twenty 20 is all about
  • Teams that are bad at longer plans but can perform in quick bursts are doing great here e.g. West Indies
  • The teams that have maximum number of ‘generalists’ than ‘specialists’ are likely to do better
  • The formats can be made more exciting with more rules like ‘free hit’

I am looking forward to the super eight league. I personally feel that either West Indies, India or Sri Lanka will the second World Cup Twenty 20. England may not be at its best and New Zealand & South Africa are good at goofing it up towards the end of any series. The days ahead are interesting!

Hopefully, Lalit Modi may take a look at the scheduling of this event and make IPL a shorter event next time.

IPL 2009 (IPL 2) is a commercial joke!

The IPL 2 (Indian Premier League), which is being held in South Africa is becoming a big joke this time around. Though Mr. Lalit Modi and co put together some good effort to make it colorful and guaranteed on time delivery of the tournament, the undertone now is MONEY and not cricket!

The South African cricket board has done a wonderful job by hosting the tournament at such a short notice. However, there are some things about this edition of IPL that makes it less attractive for the cricketing world.

First of all, the game rules were changed to make money for the advertisers and Sony Entertainment Television. It is really pathetic that a prolonged and so-called strategic break (10 mins break after 10 overs in an innings) is taking the momentum and steam away. Sometimes I felt that they are using much more than 10 minutes. This break has nothing to do with on the field strategies but to stuff more ads for the Indian spectactors watching it on the TV

Secondly, I am really getting irritated with SET MAX’s ‘technical difficulties’ at key moments during the game. This usually happens during the toss and I get a feeling that they are intentionally doing it.

Thirdly, the weather, which was cited as the prime reason for moving IPL to South Africa (and not England) doesn’t seem to behave as predicted. Half the matches so far have been shortened or wiped out due to bad weather.

As I mentioned in the last post, I was hoping for really fiery pitches so that some of the Indian batting heroes in dead rubber gets to reassess themselves. Definitely the pitches are much better than those in India but somehow not as pacy as expected.

I am also disappointed due to the fact that only 4 foreign players can be used in the 11 member team. Probably this number should have been 5 or 6 as the match is being played abroad. Talking about the game abroad, we are also missing the noise and buzz in the stands that you get to see in India.

The missing real fanbase is another issue. Since there’s no concept of home and away matches for the local teams (Chennai, Delhi etc) some part of the excitement and fan support is missing.

The money aspect is visible in every stage of the tournament. Several teams have sent back their under performers ruthlessly to cut cost. The emphasis is always on how much the broadcasters and team owners can make.

The only positive so far is the older stalwarts who are proving their points. Anil Kumble, Muralidharan, Shane Warne, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman are just proving the fans that with technical perfection the problems with age can be offset. Many of the young batting heroes and young bowlers have already failed miserably.

I hope that the situation improves as the tournament progresses and weather gets better. But certainly, since IPL first edition had set a lot of expectations, this time around it is turning out to be a less exciting event.

IPL: Sourav Ganguly should join politics

The IPL is still called the Indian Premier League but this time around it will be conducted in South Africa – thanks to those terrorists in the sub continent. At the outset, I would like to appreciate Mr. Lalit Modi’s proactiveness and immediate actions to move this edition of IPL out of the country as there’s been political issues over the security in this country. By taking such a bold decision on a short term basis saved the franchise’ and several international players’ interest. After all, this year probably will be Modi’s last chance to prove that IPL and Twenty 20 success can be carried forward further as his @$$ is on fire after loosing in the Rajasthan Cricket Board elections.

Ganguly plays politics again

When Rahul Dravid lost captaincy of the Indian team or even most recently that of the Bangalore Royal Challengers nothing really happened in Bangalore or Karnataka. But the case is different when Sourav Ganguly is stripped off power. The ever innovative (and sometimes lunatic) John Buchanan, the team coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders, suddenly had an enlightenment that his Twenty 20 team needs three or four captains this time. This is mainly to ensure that just in case Sourav Ganguly didn’t figure in the scheme of things, he needed somebody else to lead the team. As usual Dada didn’t take it quite well. Just like the times when he was dropped from the Indian team, he played all his ‘hinting’ statements in the press that he is unhappy. Finally Mr. Shah Rukh Khan, the team owner, got involved and he ensured Dada’s crazy followers that Dada will be consulted on the captaincy issue. According to Buchanan he was already consulted.

The following are my views on this issue:-

. If Buchanan and Shah Rukh Khan didn’t want Ganguly in this edition of IPL, they should have told him that directly and dropped him rather than coming up with this ‘Panel of Captains’ theory.

. Not just Ganguly but even people like Rahul Dravid should stop playing Twenty 20 cricket as this version is not meant for people in their late 30s.

. Dada has not been playing competitive cricket for quite sometime now that he will be a burden to the team.

. Ganguly may stop playing politics and if he wants to do so he should actually join Indian politics as he has been a shrewd thinker off and on the field.

. Shah Rukh Khan should stop behaving diplomatically if he really wants his team to win. The contracts apart, the Twenty 20 format is so dynamic that, today’s hero is nobody in a few months time.

Fortunately, Buchanan was much more diplomatic and composed than Greg Chappell and hence he’s still with the team.

Looking forward to the IPL

I am really looking forward to this edition of IPL mainly due to the quality of pitches and grounds in South Africa. Moreover, these bouncy tracks will definitely prove too good for many Indian heroes but I expect a couple of adaptable youngsters to emerge to replace some of the old faces in the current Indian ODI and test teams. Though it’s a fast and short format, those who can play in bouncy pitches can be easily spotted and picked!

Let’s wait and see how it goes.

Australia runs over South Africa

Just a little post to mention how well the Australians came back strongly to win the test series in South Africa sweetly avenging their home series loss a couple of months ago.

The big difference between the two sides has been Mitchel Johnson who ran in with all his energey ball after ball and over after over to stun the South Africans with some exceptional fast bowling. Ponting’s captaincy was superb as well after he was hit out at by the Australian media and ex-cricketers recently. They also found a good bowling combination with spinners and part timers doing a good job.

If Brett Lee comes back to this side, Australians will be able to reign their number one position for some more time though South Africa will keep challenging them once they figure out what was missing this time!

PS:- The South African cricket seems to be a in a little bit political mess recently with coach Mickey Arthur and captain Graeme Smith having differences with Mike Procter, the new Convener of Selectors

New Zealand series follow up

A couple of weeks ago I had written about how Indian batsmen may suffer in New Zealand. Fortunately for the Indians, the Kiwis opted to prepare flat pitches for all ODIs except for the last one in Auckland.

I might sound like a negative character here. To be frank, I didn’t enjoy this series at all. Hard-hitting flat-pitch bullies from India proved that they are the best (?) in this world on small grounds and flat pitches in NZ. Some mediocre bowling added spice to their slaughter as well.

I do not know why in the last several years almost all the cricketing nations are preparing flat pitches when playing against India. Money involved could be the main factor! That is when the whole 50 overs a side is played and 300+ runs scored, fans will be happy and what suffers is Indian cricket!

While I am writing this India were all out for 150 in the last ODI. I am sure the case would have been the same had they prepared similar pitches in other matches as well.

Well, as long as flat pitches are there let the likes of Rainas and Gambhirs rule. On fast bouncy pitches they are nothing but rabbits in the headlights of a car! Once Sachin Tendulkar is out of this side, I am sure people will dearly miss somebody like Rahul Dravid, who probably was the only adaptable batsman of the recent times.

It would be interesting to see what kind of wickets will be made for the test series 🙂