Monday, April 19, 2010

A Pack of Daisies? Are They Sonambulents? Nay, These Are Our Players.

One of the most refreshing aspects of the IPL is the relative lack of sledging. Harbijhan and Gangully are still liable to lambast their own team members and that erstwhile twerp Shane Watson found pegging a ball into the back of Albie Morkel worthy of giggling like a girl with pig tails, but by and large there is a fair amount of good will between the members of opposite teams. Perhaps the Kingfisher Fair Play Award is taken rather seriously? More likely players do not feel the same passion for the IPL that they do for their nation. However they still seem pretty excited whenever they take a wicket. Perhaps cricketeers are just better people these days.

At its best, and this is rare, sledging is witty, barbed, and off-putting. For the most part though all that is achieved is unimaginative and crude. In the most recent Ashes series, Cricket Australia released an injunction to its players to refrain from taunting and indecent behaviour. Though this enraged Greg Matthews amongst others it was rather nice to see the cricketing authorities take these matters seriously. One would hate to see the bickering between players return to its nadir of Glenn McGrath's hypocrisy claiming a righteous defense for his wife having started a nasty little interchange.

Its business time in the IPL though. Two fanstastic matches last night. The match from Dharamsala was the more picturesque and high octane. It seemed so unlikely that Chennai could succeed after Shaun Marsh's fantastic innings, but quality performances from the team's middle order players brought them into the semi-finals. I think the Dalai Lama had left long before Dhoni's 30 runs off the final two overs though. The cameras swang back to his holiness in the first innings more often then they draw our attention to the MRF blimp. He proved curiously absent for Chennai's knock though.
Looks like an inspirational film doesn't it?

Seeing Matthew Hayden cry was quite gut wrenching. I've never particularly enjoyed watching the man play but as he sat on the bench after his soft dismissal surreptitiously sobbing the most manly, choked back tears I felt awfully sorry for him. I fear he is just getting a bit too old to play. Certainly he is still just as capable of hitting very well but his timing has gone as a result of absence from play. Similarly Shane Warne, while delivering some masterful spells in this tournament has also produced some very ordinary bowling. I would be surprised if these two will return next year, I think they must feel rather embarassed when they see their powers wane.

Adam Gilchrist is also suffering from the same blight. His mistimed stroke last night was a shocker. The taut, low scoring match between Hyderabad and Delhi was thrilling though. I am disappointed that Mitchell Marsh did not make quite the substantial impact I keep hoping he will make. His bowling has been quite decent. Last night he took Warner's wicket in the second over and bowled a very nice penultimate over. In both of his batting appearances in this tournament he has failed to fire though. I am scared that the Chargers will drop him for the finals. I hold such high hopes for this wonderful young player. Not only is he a cracking all-rounder but in interviews he seems such a nice boy and he is so enthusiastic. My greatest wish is that he will captain Australia someday.

Hallo Mitchell!

So tonight a dead rubber between Kolkatta and Mumbai and then onto the finals. Won't life be empty when it is all over.

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