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Saturday, April 9, 2022

Tewatia sets ablaze ! .. .. and the ugly moments of IPL

The best thing about IPL is the clean and great entertainment that it gives daily – just be a spectator not a fan of any club, is lesson 1 – and we supporters of CSK know it too well.  As you switch on for live show – first Q is which teams are playing today and then, you try to glean the list – for sure, there would some not so familiar names and some become a hero too. 

Not many players from Tamil Nadu out there and yesterday for Gujarat Titans – Vijay Shankar was ruled out with back spasm and . . … Sai Sudharshan debuted ! .. Bhardwaj Sai Sudharsan, played in TNPL for Chepauk Super Gillies and Lyca Kovai Kings but sort of unknown stock to outside World having been bought for base price of 20 lakhs and great that he got a chance – and he grabbed it with both hands !!  He was the second-highest run-getter with 358 runs in eight innings at an average of 71.60 and strike rate of 143.77, in Lyca Kovai Kings' run to the Eliminator.  Sai Sudharsan was fast-tracked into Tamil Nadu's white-ball and Ranji Trophy sides.   His father Bharadwaj is an athlete who represented India at the South Asian (SAF) Games, while his mother Usha Bharadwaj represented Tamil Nadu in volleyball.


Yesterday one one side Shubman Gill was amazing !  - on the presentation, he was asked how he managed such a healthy strike rate, when he is not a six-hitter.  Loaded Q on a day when he had made 96 off mere 59 balls and he responded saying, it is important to keep the scorecard ticking !B Sai Sudharsan, though, proved to be an able ally for Gill. The duo took Titans past 50 in the sixth over, and hit a six each in the next two. Gill brought up his fifty off 29 balls, steering Titans to 94 for 1 at the halfway stage.    Gill and Sai Sudharsan added 101 in 68 balls for the second wicket before Sudharsan skied a Rahul Chahar googly to extra-cover. 

Shubman Gill played yet another sublime innings, scoring a career-best 96 off 59 balls,  still the target kept pulling away from Titans' reach: 37 from 18, 32 from 12, 19 from six. A panicky last-over run-out, and it came down to 18 from five.  With 19 required from the final over, Odean Smith started with a wide to David Miller but on the next ball, Hardik Pandya got run out while trying to sneak in a bye. Rahul Tewatia took a single first ball to hand back the strike to Miller, who then pulled Smith over midwicket for four. 

Then with 12 needed, Tewatia smashed the last two balls over deep midwicket to steal the victory.  Odean Smith must be cursing his brash throw when all that was required to keep the ball in his hand and walk back for bowling the 5th over which sailed just over the fielder.  Off the last, Tewatia had already walked across to 7th or 8th off stump ! – and smacked the bowler over longon for a huge 6 and what a finish from this youngster who had earlier set Gulf on fire.  


Perhaps before 10 pm on 27.9.2020, he was trolled as badly or more than what Murali Vijay has been receiving – he himself had to say – ‘that was the worst first 20 balls that I have ever played. I was hitting the ball very good in the nets, so I had belief in myself and kept going’ – natural that people would mock him.  Leg-spin bowling all-rounder Rahul Tewatia was traded to Rajasthan Royals from Delhi Capitals ahead of IPL 2020. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Tewatia, who had made his IPL debut with RR in 2014! ~ ever heard him before. The cricketing world, on  that Sunday, perhaps watched the greatest turnaround in a player’s fortune thanks to Rahul Tewatia’s stunning match-winning knock for Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab.  Rahul Tewatia  batting on 17 off 23 balls changed the destiny in one over of Cottrell, hitting five sixes to script a stunning come-from-behind win for his side by four wickets. He hit one more six to reach his fifty off 30 balls before departing in the 19th over. 

Another thrilling match, with more people talking about Tewatia than Gill’s 96 and Sai Sudharshan’s 35 or Hardik Pandya’s 27 or Liam Livingstones big sixers – all taking a back seat.  While IPL is a great great entertainer, this news, a revelation from the little Chahal cannot be ignored .. .. sad, are the ways of people. 

Yuzvendra Chahal has opened up - for the second time this year - about instances of physical harassment when he was a newcomer in the IPL. The latest revelation relates to an incident in 2013, when Chahal was with Mumbai Indians, and a player allegedly dangled him from a 15th-floor hotel balcony after "getting drunk". "This dates back to 2013, when I was with Mumbai Indians," Chahal said, speaking to R Ashwin in a Rajasthan Royals video, published on April 7, about how players handle tricky off-field situations. "We had a match in Bengaluru and there was a get-together after that. So there was a player who was very drunk - and I won't take his name - he was very drunk, he just called me aside, and he took me outside and he hung me out from the balcony. 

Earlier in the year, on a podcast published by his earlier team Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chahal had recounted an episode from 2011, talking about how his then Mumbai team-mates, James Franklin and Andrew Symonds, had tied him up, taped his mouth, left him in a room and forgot about him for a whole night. 

If this can happen to someone who has played with India with merit – may be someother youngsters are keeping silent – another #Metoo movement needed !! in Cricket.  Ugly.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Apr 2022. 

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