Friday, April 23, 2010
Ross What is Going On ay Bro?
Tonight is a rest sleep in the IPL. That wyrd existence occuring between semi-finals and final and not-so-important final. I have been mulching around recalling how empty my life was before the IPL started and wondering in general, how is one supposed to conduct a life? All of this is rather heavy material but for the moment there is important news to recount.
TWO THRILLING MATCHES THE PAST TWO NIGHTS.
The Royal Challengers of Bangalore were daft to lose their game. The Challengers came to the pitch sharp and focussed. Steyn, as is his wont, bowled like a man possessed. Virat Kohli executed an exemplary run out. Kevin Pietersen not only took a brilliant catch but gave a masterful bowling performance. In fact the great man was almost nice to his team mates. The victim of his ire tonight was Ambati Rayudu, who after backing away from a couple of deliveries might as well have backed into Pietersen in heavy traffic with the verbal response he recieved.
The reason the team lost though was because Vinay Kumar was ineffective and gave away two very loose overs, and Jacques Kallis' bowling and batting form have gone away with the fairies. After sweeping through the top order these two were obliged to bring home the bacon and failed. The excesses of the other bowlers may be forgiven in their achievements but these two may not. Jayudu made a platform, Tiwary, with rather inelegant batting, gave them a match winning half century, and Pollard a crowd pleasing garnish.
As for the second innings... Certainly Malinga gave an inspired performance. Similar was the (questionably) heroic quota of Mr. Pollard. Yes the openers failed, Uthappa looked good but was unlucky. For me the biggest loser though was Ross Taylor. This man is potentially the greatest batsmen of his generation. A classical strokesman, excellent footwork, and feline reflexes. When I first saw him play Australia in 2008, gosh I was an excited fellow. Gone this summer though is Ross' daemon. From the outset he was listless in the Australian tour. In the Auckland 20/20 where McCullum made such an audacious excursion, Ross' clumsy cameo nearly derailed the whole show. Matters did not improve. Yes the century at Hamilton was decent but this was an oasis in a very bleak and dusty desert. Taylor should have been dropped when it became apparent (and it was apparent early on) that he was out of form this IPL. His presence barred Cameron White and the even more talented Roelof van der Merwe. (Incidentally did you know that a van der Merwe joke is the term used to classify a jest aimed at an Afrikaner?)
And as for last night: MATTY HAYDEN YOU ARE FINISHED SON. You hung about the Australian team a summer too long and that tarnished your very decent, if in my books bullying and dull, career. And now again. This IPL has been a shocker for you. Retirement is actually pleasant. You have your riches, the consolations of all that is comestible, and the greatest mystery of life, the contemplation of god to occupy you. You were dropped twice and then still got out. A very neat piece of work from Srikkanth the Younger gave Chennai something to cling to though and an all round exellent bowling performance gave them the victory.
Other news clouds the cricketing horizon though. The IPL is in big trouble. It is very hard to know just what kind of trouble this is because the accusations flying around are more sordid than than the scum marring Marlowe's Los Angeles. Lalit Modi, the omniscient master of the entire enterprise stands at the centre of these accusations and it is likely that he and John the Baptist will soon share something in common. And not sanctity.
Did you know, dear reader, that after delinquent school career, the future entrepreneur went off to the United States for a college education at undoubtedly great expense. On some wild debauch Modi found himself convicted for trafficking cocaine and assault with a deadly weapon. One would think one skeleton in the closet would be enough. But a month later, this rather assiduous looking gentleman ended up in the slammer again for kidnapping. How wild is he? We escape all this in the West but at some point in the not so distant future you will find a small pronouncement in small type at some obcure place in the newspaper relating all this business. There is collusion to do with a conflict of interests, tax evasion, dodgy deals to do with the new franchise of Kochi, match fixing, and most recently, (echoing the fate of the Melbourne Storm), extending salary capping. These are fierce waters here and where the league will be at the end of it all is anybody's business.
A final world on the World Twenty Twenty Championship which is to start this time next week. Personally I have been quite skeptical of this contest. The IPL gives me enough taste of 20/20 to last me until the Champions League. The ICC is just a sort of dorky kid at school trying to get in on the action. Having a world tournament every year is overkill. Yes this new format is exciting but putting your official touch of death upon it mars it. No-one cared about the last one in England, the only reason anyone would care more now is that it is in the Carribean. Having made this gripe no doubt I will be badgering it on and giving purpose to my life and material to this blog for the next month.
However what I am really excited about in this competition is the entry of Afghanistan. There is a war on in this nation and lo! they have a cricket team. They mauled all the other minnows the ICC has mothered these past few years (excepting Ireland) and have now joined the world on centre stage. I do not by any means think we are going to see clever cricket. What we will hopefully see is Romance in its essence. Gallant and unschooled displays of batting. Sloppy fielding. Unbridled enthusiasm. Lord knows whether they know how to bowl. Even if we gripe on like the MCC throughout the whole of the tournament, Trumper will be sure to keep its readers informed as to the magnificence of Afghanistan.
Two finals this weekend. Its like when you get to your birthday and its all a bit of an anti-climax really. Oh, don't be a drop kick Benjamin.