Experiments are always welcome because they allow you to look at various new aspects of a particular field. It is not necessary that all experiments work but that should not be the reason for anyone to stop innovating and looking to improve.
It is also important to understand when to stop experimenting. I say this after watching Sourav Ganguly play that match-winning innings against Kings XI Punjab at the Eden Gardens.
Sourav realized that his best spot was at the top. He is an opener and he can best serve his team at that position. I don't know the reasons that prompted Sourav to relinquish his opener's slot for the Kolkata Knight Riders but see the difference once he took the responsibility. Having decided not to open in the last few matches, the trusted left-hander put the Kings XI attack in its place with an innings that justified his stature.
Maybe Sourav realized it too late in the day because his team was out of the reckoning even before the match but then it was so nice to see him bat with a purpose. The same purpose that put him at the top of the charts not to so long ago was so refreshingly personified in this one innings. Given his age, it must have been tough for him to compete with the youngsters but let me tell you that the same could be said of some other veteran players. Like them, Sourav too needed to warm up. Once he had, there was no stopping.
In keeping with his personality, Sourav was also quick to fire a salvo at the selectors by asking if they were watching his batting. Well, they must have watched his batting. There never was any doubt about his batting. But then what if the selectors turn around and reply "we are watching your fielding too." Cricket today is not just about batting. You have to be good in all departments and fielding assumes significance because there is almost zero tolerance in this area in most teams.
Going back to the experiments, one must look at how Delhi Daredevils have stuck to a combination. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan have been the first three in the order and the order has remained the same right through the IPL.
Good Sourav made those runs, sending his legion of fans into a delirium. One of them happened to be Shoaib Akhtar, who did not mind the city of joy observing a day's holiday to celebrate dada's knock. As far as Kolkota Knight Riders are concerned, their concern would have been Akhtar and his fitness. He should thank his stars if KKR decide to retain him next year and not give him a long holiday. He has been a disaster signing and his approach non-professional.
The Indian Premier League is a professional league and claims to be based on the American and English sports culture. But where is the professionalism of the English Premier League (EPL) that they wish to emulate? Even a David Beckham or a Christiano Ronaldo are not spared despite their overwhelming fan following and the awesome status they command in the world football. Let the professionals in the IPL take a leaf out of the professionals in the EPL.
The greatest professional in this IPL has been Shane Warne. His commitment and consistency has been the most amazing feature of the tournament. On the other hand stands the failure of John Buchanan. It only proves that it is the players who make the coach successful? One has to give credence to Warne's statement that a team like Australia (of which he was a member) did not rally need a coach. The team was indeed so good.
Finally, a word of caution to all cricket lovers. Let us not get carried away by the success that players like M. S. Goni, Ashoke Dinda, Yusuf Pathan, Abhishek Nayar, Vinay Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Swapnil Asnodkar have achieved. The impact of the IPL has been huge and some of these players have been in the thick of action. But they have a long way to go. They have made a good beginning and we need to back them, but not necessarily by throwing them into the bigger league. There is a difference between twenty20 and 50-50.
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