Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Champion's League - Boring

So far the Champion's League Twenty 20 Cricket (Ab Hoga Muquabla or something to that effect) has been boring. One match went to the super over and another won off the last ball but even those did not excite me much. The players look jaded, some teams look out of place, some seniors look tired and out of shape - and it has all the makings of a exhibition tournament. With the exception of the Aussie sides that are giving the bigger teams with fancied players a run for their money, not other team looks fit nor are they displaying the hunger that one expects from twenty 20.

Twenty 20 is the fastest version of the game, the most powerful and calls for the highest levels of fitness and commitment. It needs not just the six hitters like Pollard but also those who can convert zeros to ones, ones to twos and twos to threes. The Aussies have demonstrated their superior process and preparation by doing the basics right, keeping the wickets, running hard, fielding well and bowling well. In the fielding department you expect all catches where the player gets both hands to the ball to be taken and some incredible out of the world catches as well because nothing puts the brakes on the momentum like a wicket. But we have seen several normal catches being put down, shoddy fielding where the ball has been allowed to go past the fielder due to misfields. In the bowling department, bowlers are still struggling to bowl good yorkers, change their pace well and keep away from bowling full tosses and leg side balls. The slow bouncer that England used to great effect in the T20 World Cup final is not much on show and we have bowlers running in and bowling thoughtlessly and fatalistically. The wicket keeping has been rather shoddy, maybe because some teams use batsmen as keepers.

I saw the match where Mumbai Indians beat  Royal Challengers by 2 runs. Virat Kohli (now that boy's an interesting prospect if he keeps his head about him and retains his focus) almost took the match away from the Indians with some lusty hitting off two of the better bowlers - Malinga and Zaheer Khan. Zaheer appeared rather pleased with his performance in the after match interview but I found nothing to be pleased in it. After getting hit for two fours off his pads in the same over by Kohli who shows a wonderful gift of timing and placement on the leg side, the Indian pacer bowled a full toss on the leg stump to Kohli on the last ball with 3 to win. It was a fluke that Kohli in his enthusiasm mishit that full toss and lead edged a skier for Rayudu, else it was curtains for the Indians.I failed to understand the strategy or whatever made Zaheer Khan feel pleased about his performance except that he got damn lucky. However the way the Royal Challengers got Pollard with Steyn bowling short balls and softening up the big man and then getting an unsure prod as a leading edge to the bowler was well planned.

Overall, there is nothing much for the viewer. The most exciting thing is the faces that the cricketers and Amitabh make while advertising the Championship. Frankly, my dears, its been rather a bore for me. I dread to wonder how the players will shape up for the World Cup in February. At least if they look interested enough it might fool us into thinking something interesting is going on.

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