30 April 2009

Sree in the dugout

On the one hand, there is the KKR Management (comprising the Dildo, his minion JB and his minions) which flies out players that 'do not fit into the scheme'. On the other, there is Priety's King's XI which insists on keeping Sreesanth in the dugout even when it was clear a few weeks ago that he would not be playing a single match. So what's Sree got that keeps him there?

24 April 2009

England have Flower power

Andy Flower’s appointment as England coach ended a long, drawn-out selection process that always seemed likely to end with the announcement of England’s second Zimbabwean team leader.

The prolonged nature of this saga attracted much criticism, not least because Graham Ford, an early front-runner for the post, pulled out due to the excessive time frame involved. The ECB used a head-hunting firm that came up with a group of names any English fan could have done for free.

However, whilst the national team’s hierarchy did little to improve its recently damaged reputation, the best man for the job has ended up being appointed. This was not necessarily the case when Duncan Fletcher needed replacing two years ago; indeed, there are many who claim Tom Moody is still the ideal candidate, as he was when Peter Moores was promoted.

Moody did want to relocate to England, a major factor that prevented Ford, Gary Kirsten and Mickey Arthur from declaring sustained interest in the role. All this, as well as Ashley Giles’ inexperience, left the way clear for Flower.

Flower has had a far from smooth progression through the England coaching ranks. His inexperience is easy to miss – he retired from playing in September 2006 – and his appointment as batting coach coincided with a downturn in form of many England batsmen.

Flower was also on Kevin Pietersen’s hit-list over the winter, but the former skipper seems to have softened his stance. Of more importance is the new coach’s relationship with the current captain, and Flower and Andrew Strauss have an excellent understanding.

This, combined with Flower’s straight talking and honesty has made him popular with the media and he should be given plenty of time to settle into his new job.

However, results are what counts and Flower knows England are in a slump. Winning the Ashes might be too much to ask, but gaining revenge against West Indies may be a better cricket bet. It will also help the new coach prove that he really is the best man for the job.


The problem with taking a side, especially in cricket, is that sometimes the person you are so critical of plays a good knock and the wolves that have been circling around you, waiting for an opportunity to bite, suddenly see that moment come by.

Ofcourse, the topic is none other than the controversial Rohit Sharma - the man who we post about when nothing else happens on this blog. I missed the supposedly awesome inning that he played, I didnt read anything about it, I didnt even know that it had happened - for that matter, I am not even sure what IPL team he plays for. Yet, earlier today, I was informed in no uncertain terms that I should post something about him so here I go!

Well done Rohit for climbing the Himalaya sized challenge that is Bangalore!! That must have been pretty tough - did it make you call on every ounce of whatever talent you possess? 50 runs in one inning (as opposed to an entire series) - did you dream about it all night, go to Tirupati to thank the gods? But here's the thing - T20 is not really cricket - it is not the place to prove to the world that you can justify your talent. Even if it is a challenging form of 'bat-ball' in its own right - a single inning does not prove anything - it does not take away anything from criticisms that have been levelled at you. Do it in one-day cricket; even better do it in test cricket and I am a convert - shit, I forgot, you arent even on the fringes of the test team now, are you?

And I have money riding on other IPL teams, so I for one, pray that this was nothing more that a flash in the pan - a joke of the cricketing gods. We look forward to seeing the Rohit Sharma of the recent past for the rest of the tournament.


02 April 2009

Sehwag ki captiancy!

But why all the indignation over Sehwag's captaincy, man? Do people actually believe that Sehwag, because of the way he plays, lacks the authority to chastise teammates? Have I interpreted your sole argument correctly, you infidels?

01 April 2009

Flintoff and Pietersen, overpriced and over there

One of the joys of the Indian Premier League is seeing how much players are bought for. If supporters like to compare the lucky ones’ value, then so do the players, and those taking part can be excused for raising their eyebrows at the fees Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen commanded.

As good as they are, the England duo are not as adept at Twenty20 cricket as many, including the franchise owners, think. Sure, they might do well in a ‘who can hit the ball furthest’ contest, but the newest form of the game is much more than big hitting.

Shaun Marsh and Gautam Gambhir proved last year that orthodox players can prosper in Twenty20, where brains as well as brawn are important.

The two leading runscorers of last year’s tournament are greatly experienced in the format, which is not the case for Pietersen and Flintoff. They have played 15 and seven Twenty20 internationals respectively and rarely feature for their counties in the Twenty20 cup due to England commitments.

Flintoff’s average of 12.66 from those seven innings tells its own story, and whilst Pietersen fares better, averaging 26.78, he has still under-achieved. One half century in 15 T20I knocks shows that he does not play the match-turning innings he regularly contributes in the longer formats.

Pietersen likes to size up the opposition bowling before launching his attack, perhaps explaining why his T20I strike rate is inferior to that of fellow attacking batsmen Andrew Symonds, Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle and Sanath Jayasuriya.

As well as suffering from inexperience, Pietersen and Flintoff will both be distracted in South Africa. Pietersen has by his own admission had a terrible few months and will have his thoughts firmly on home; Flintoff is under pressure to stay fit and will not be fully focused. His bowling, his main strength, might be compromised.

Both players will earn a tidy sum for their flying visits and their franchises might be left disappointed with what they get in return. The one winner from their IPL sojourn might be England, who can write off their chances in the ICC World Twenty20 unless their star players find some Twenty20 form.