IPL is now more than 16 days old and I have hardly seen a ball, save for the news. It’s sad but true. I just can’t stay up late at my age. However, I have seen enough to know that there is something good in IPL. Many have said that it lacks interest because it’s not full international cricket. I take the point, but there is merit in IPL.
IPL has been dominated by the big names, and in particular the Antipodeans and even more specifically, the Aussies. After 16 matches, Australians have been nominated man of the match on seven occasions. Three Indians and and three Sri Lankans have achieved the honour. But enough of man of the match – let’s face it, you don’t always have to do much in a match that is just 40 overs, to win the accolade.
More important are the moments. Roy stepped up to the plate, hit 117 not out and gave Warnie some serious stick. In the same match, Warnie returned the favour, hitting two successive sixes off Symonds to win the match in the final over. Exciting stuff. Gillie gave Mumbai a touch up, smashing 109* from 48 balls. He brought up the 100 in 42 balls in just the 10th over! Scoring 200 in a 50 over match remains a Holy Grail. McCullum’s 158 in match one was startling enough, but I dare say it has been unthinkable that a 200 could be scored in T20 but it Gillie has shown us that it is statistically possible.
While Symonds was giving stick and Gillie was touching up, Harbhajan was dishing out his own special brand of medicine to his “little brother”, Sreesanth. All I can say is that I’m glad it was one Indian to another and it couldn’t have happened to two nicer guys. I can’t believe Harbhajan did it and I can’t believe Sreesanth cried. He actually cried. I don’t know if it was the pain or the humilitation. It sure says something in favour of sledging. Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. I’m pleased to see Harbhajan has been suspended for the rest of the tournament and that is going to cost him $800,000. What a pillock – when the two teams lined up to shake hands at the end of the match, Bhaji decided he’d rather slap Sreesanth than shake.
On a more positive note, let me offer a profile. I scanned the scorecard of game 15 and came across Manpreet Gony, bowling his heart out for my team, the Chennai Super Kings. He took 3-34 and dismissed Boucher and Dravid and I wondered who the hell he was. The answer is that he is a 24 year old Indian who has played five first class matches and taken 13 wickets. And now he has the chance to rub shoulders with the best cricketers in the world, even get them out and earn a little pocket money as well. I think that is super stuff.
Most of the Aussies and the Kiwis are off to play some real cricket now but the IPL show will go on.