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Friday, May 6, 2022

alluring IPL - some interesting tidbits

The long IPL is alluring – 50 matches completed !  Starting with criticism about IPL – to some they are not as clean as Test matches and to some the Franchises do not do justice to their names.  For example, often you would see in social media that (the most popular yellowee) Chennai Super Kings – though is based at Chennai, has no Tamilians playing for them.

IPL is simply entertainment unplugged – it is sheer joy, twists and turns – emergence of new stars, tilting of impossible windmills, classic strategies, great catches, big boomeranging hits and more .. .. at times, there are names, who only after you search one would know whether he is a bowler or a bat – but appreciate that good performance, the confidence with which a new comer turns the fate of a match.

It was indeed an interesting description by commentators – “Left-arm everything” -   when Kumar Kartikeya Singh made his IPL debut in Mumbai Indians' last match. You saw him bowl left-arm wristspin, wrong'uns, fingerspin and even the carrom ball.  Cricinfo in an interesting article wrote that - You probably don't know that till about six months ago he was just a left-arm orthodox spinner. His coach Sanjay Bharadwaj told Cricinfo that  in order to make him successful in T20 cricket, Kartikeya taught himself wristspin - the most difficult art in cricket - and obsessively practised to master it.  Close to a decade ago, a  15-year-old Kartikeya from Kanpur to Bharadwaj's academy in Delhi.  He was from a poor background and reportedly told Bharadwaj that he was in no condition to pay for the coaching.  One solitary ball in the nets, Bharathwaj decided  to coach him pro bono.  Now that coaching was taken care of, Kartikeya had to work for his food and lodging. He started as a labourer in a factory in Masuri, a village next to Ghaziabad, about 80km from the academy. He found shared accommodation near the factory. He would work in the factory all night, and then make it to the academy in the morning. Often he would walk miles to save INR 10 for a pack of biscuits.  Bharadwaj offered to let him share the on-site accommodation he had for the academy's cook. Bharadwaj clearly remembers the first day Kartikeya stayed at the academy. "When the cook gave him lunch, Kartikeya began to cry: he hadn't eaten lunch for a year."

… .. .. the success of such players really makes IPL a bigger hit !! 

Sunrisers Hyderabad pace sensation Umran Malik clocked the fastest ball of IPL 2022 on Thursday evening, bowling one at 156.9 kph against Delhi Capitals in his side's 21-run loss. His coach Tom Moody had recently likened him to a Ferrari, and the 22-year-old duly pressed the accelerator to record one of the fastest deliveries in the tournament's history: he was nearly 0.7 kph faster than Anrich Nortje's 156.22 kph delivery in 2020, which was logged by the IPL as the fastest delivery between 2012 and 2020.

Though he is bowling fast – he is not so economical.  CSK’s Ruturaj Gaikwad doesn't have the big frame of Kieron Pollard, but he handled Umran Malik’s pace too well. The pitch for the game in Pune was slightly on the slower side, but this being Gaikwad's home ground, he knew that once he got his eye in, things would become easier. He started slowly – then smashed all over the park and played Malik too well.  When  Malik bowled one short outside off. Gaikwad stood tall and slapped him over covers for four. The next ball was fuller around off. Gaikwad wasn't caught on the back foot. He planted his front foot forward and punched it over long-on for a six.  It was indeed a pleasing sight !

There was clear hype on the match between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers. The focus was more on that great adorable player David Warner .. .. - "My thoughts are like every other game," David Warner said a day before playing for the first time against his former team Sunrisers Hyderabad, "just keep going through your processes till you have to do it, training and just get ready for the game."  Warner made match 50 of IPL 2022 sound like any other game, posted as much on his Instagram handle, and a few days later the match might even get buried in the heap of IPL scorecards. .. .. ..but he and his partnership butchered his yesteryear team.  Warner scored a scintillating 92 not out off 58 balls to lead Delhi Capitals to their third 200-plus total this IPL and a 21-run win against Sunrisers with a Player-of-the-Match performance. The manner in which Warner was ousted from the Sunrisers camp last season, the way he was left behind in the hotel room for some matches and elbowed out of the team management, it snowballed into a controversy and became "a bitter pill to swallow" for Warner.  After that disappointment and bitter parting ways,  David Warner turned his form around to help Australia lift their maiden T20 World Cup by being the second-highest scorer and took home the Player-of-the-Series award. He went on to say, "When you are dropped from the team you have loved the most for years without any real fault of yours and stripped of captaincy without being given a reason, it hurts."

Way back in 1986 at Sharjah – when one recalls – around 16 were  required off last two, Kapil came on to bowl the 49th (his 10th) – controlled things giving away only 5 runs, Chetan bowled the last over when 11 were required  and off the last ball Javed Miandad hit a six of a full toss making it a night mare for Chetan, Kapil and Indians.


The Press seethed with anger on Kapil and Rajan Bala wrote ‘Kapil in need of Maths tuition’.  Gross injustice – if only Chetan had bowled the penultimate perhaps the last over would have been a simple affair with Pak needing something less than 6 or perhaps there would not have been need for one.  Kapil was always a sitting target; anyway history cannot be rewritten by ‘ifs and butts’- me felt sad when Kapil was attacked so much by Press.


In February, Saha, who had been dropped from India's Test team for the home series against Sri Lanka, had taken to Twitter to publish a screenshot of messages that a journalist had sent him on WhatsApp. The screenshot showed the sender requesting Saha "to do an interview with me", to which Saha did not respond. The messages eventually took a more aggressive tone: "You did not call. Never again will I interview you. I don't take insults kindly. And I will remember this. This wasn't something you [sic] should have done."

Though Saha hadn't named the journalist in question, Majumdar responded on March 5, saying he would serve a legal notice to Saha for defamation. Majumdar, in a video he put out on social media, said the screenshot Saha had put out was a doctored version of an exchange between the two.

The BCCI, "had taken congnizance of this incident and deemed it necessary to investigate and probe the matter to avoid the recurrence of such instances with other players", and formed the three-member committee. The committee subsequently "considered the submissions" of Saha and Majumdar before arriving at their decision.   Now comes the news that the BCCI has banned Boria Majumdar, the Kolkata-based journalist whom  Wriddhiman Saha had pointed at for "threat and intimidation", for two years. Majumdar will not get press accreditation for domestic or international matches in India, interviews with any "registered players", and access to cricket facilities owned by the BCCI or the state/member associations.

Strong message from BCCI, protecting its players.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th May 2022.


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