Friday, May 18, 2012

Batsmen I Like Watching in IPL 5

My list of the top 10 batsmen I like to watch in the IPL5.

1) Ajinkya Rahane: The Rajasthan Royals batsman plays all the cricketing shots with great correctness and pedigree. He  never looks like he struggling for timing nor does he appear too technical to be stylish. He has an easy elegance to his batting, times the ball well, hits big shots with ease and has the temperament to play long innings. He can rotate the strike, innovate (that six over point against Bravo was awesome) and score the big shots and is difficult to dislodge. Without doubt my numero uno this IPL edition.

2) Mahela Jayawardene: In any form of the game Mahela is a pleasure to watch. Batting becomes effortless as he dances, glides, sidesteps and gets into positions so intuitively that everything seems perfect. The bat seems an extension of his body, the ball is caressed and never hit and everything is a act of love. There is an element of the divine here. I could watch Mahela any day.

3) Chris Gayle: For his awesome hitting power, his still head and ability to pick bowlers length and line so unerringly, Gayle is stunning to watch. But more than his power I am deeply impressed with his preparation this season -  the way he is pacing his innings, the way he played out Malinga and Steyn in much hyped contests where it would have been easy to lose his senses. He played them out quietly and went after the others. Gayle is a man on a mission and this wonderful addition to his batting makes him even more mysterious and ominous than ever.

4) AB de Villiers: That one knock of 47 against Deccan Chargers would rate as the best IPL knock I have seen. If ever a man was in the zone it was AB during that innings. The way he read everyone and everything was perfect. Nothing could go wrong and what was on display was such a delicious treat. AB would not have found a place here but for that knock but now I cannot wait to have more.

5) Mayank Agarwal: The chubby youngster from Bangalore gave enough indication of his talent with his timing and lofted shots earlier but he came into his own against the Mumbai Indians mauling everyone from Malinga to Munaf and Harbhajan. Blessed with sweet timing, the ability to hit hard and to find the gaps in the field with his inside out shots Mayank Agarwal is a batsman I love to watch and hope to see for a long long time.

6) Anustup Majumdar: The Pune Warriors lad has only played two or three games but I was impressed with his batting on his debut game. He has all the makings of someone who can get better if he is groomed properly and if he keeps his head about him. I will be looking out for him. Lovely footwork and timing.

7) Rahul Dravid: I always look for those who can reinvent and that is where Rahul Dravid is so good. Coming at the top and sacrificing his puritanical image for the demands of the game and his side, Rahul is doing a wonderful job for the Royals. Everytime he hoicks or gets into an aggressive mood, outscoring Rahane at times, it is always a pleasure to see how this man has reinvented himself and so well. When we see the others who are not able to, it makes his distinction even more apparent.

8) Kevin Pieterson: That hundred he got the Daredevils was all class and Kevin Peterson is someone you can always depend on to do something impossible each time he steps on. It is precisely for that factor that Peterson brings with him that makes him such a star in a tight game. Power, subtlety, temperament, technique, innovation, charisma - he has it all.  

9) Venugopala Rao: I like this lad for his simple and uncomplicated approach to his batting which makes him something like Mahela - except that he gets lower scores in the 30s and 40s. His big hitting is all about timing and if there is one feature I'd like to point out about him is his footwork against the spinners. An underrated cricketer who never got his due but a pleasure to watch.

10) Ross Taylor: Despite his lack of form Ross Taylor showed a glimpse of what he can do yesterday when he caught the RCB bowling by the scruff of its neck and sent them into a tizzy with some awesome hitting. Highly unpredictable, explosive and one of the cleanest hitters of the ball Taylor is a man with whom you can never write any game off.

11) Virender Sehwag: Sehwag is wonderful to watch in any form of the game as he approaches it with the same outlook. His timing, temperament and technique are awesome but where he fails to impress is the lack of innovation. (But then he need not do that as he is getting his runs anyway.) My problem with our other batsmen is that they are looking too jaded and predictable.

12) Ambati Rayudu: His footwork and range of strokes makes him one of the most dangerous batsmen in the IPL and with good reason. he can innovate, step out, hit sixes, rotate the strike and keep his head in pressure situations. As good in value as a foreign player, Rayudu, lacks the finesse, but is more than effective.

13) Rohit Sharma: He is another of those who is blessed with the talent but who seems to come good only once in a while. When on song he is a pleasure to watch but it jars to see that ways he gets out on other times - some thing that smacks of a lack of preparation or some quirk in the mind. But when he batting, he looks sublime.

No comments: