ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday May 4, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 49

Now it’s our turn to make an impact

By Kumar Sangakkara

Zoysa has impressed his employers

We’ve entered into the third week of the IPL and the tournament continues to exceed expectations. Television audiences are huge, the media write and talk about little else, and the spectators are still turning out in their thousands, filling the huge stadiums and creating electric atmospheres.

With most of Australia and New Zealand’s players having now left for their respective international commitments it is going to be interesting to see how the next couple of weeks go. Australia’s batsmen, in particular, made a big impact in the first two weeks and the remaining overseas players need to step into their shoes to maintain the entertainment.

Hopefully, the Sri Lanka contingent will now get some greater exposure and produce more match-winning displays for their franchises. Dilshan and Chamara Silva, for example, are yet to play a single game. Dilhara has played just one game. The other Sri Lankans have started to make an impression with some solid performances.

Murali has been putting in some wily performances for the Chennai Super Kings – the tournament favourites right now – proving that spin bowling can play a huge role in Twenty20 cricket. He has also shown, like Warne and McGrath, that the older generation can play a huge role in what many people had wrongly assumed was a young man’s game.

Farveez Maharoof, fully recovered from his side strain, has done an excellent job with the ball for the Delhi Daredevils thus far and it nice to see Nuwan Zoysa the other day when we visited Hyderabad. The Deccan Chargers have been really impressed with him and he has bowled well in both games so far, troubling batsmen with his extra bounce.

Sanath has not fired properly yet with the bat for the Mumbai Indians, but he showed why his is such a valuable T20 player with a match-winning performance against Kolkata Knight Riders with the ball earlier in the week. He’s looked in pretty good nick with the bat, getting into the 20’s, so I am sure he’ll soon make a big score.

Up in Mohali, the Kings Punjab XI, my team, has settled down well. Mahela’s appointment as vice captain has helped Yuvraj as skipper and, thanks to some strong performances from several players, we have managed to turn things around after a double defeat in the first week. We have some momentum now and the team atmosphere is excellent.The loss of Brett Lee due to the Australia tour to the West Indies left a gap in the bowling but our two young Indian bowlers, VRV Singh and Gagandeep Singh, have impressed in support of the more experienced Irfan Pathan and Sreesanth. Piyush Chawla, our leggie, has also made an impact.

We have now lifted ourselves into the middle of the table and we now want to book a berth in the semi-final as soon as possible. We are still 2-3 wins away from that so our next two games against the Kolkata Knight Riders and Bangalore Royal Challengers are crucial.
During this third week we can expect to see some heightened tension. Some of the teams hard-hit by the Anzac departures – like Chennai Superkings and Knight Riders – will be under extra pressure and the scramble for semi-final places will ensure a very competitive spirit.

On the whole, one of great things about the IPL to date has been the great spirit in which it has been played. The players have been very serious and the cricket has been competitive, but teams have respected the call from the BCCI that the spirit of the game must be upheld.

That does not mean there has not been the odd moment of controversy. The “Slapgate” affair between Sreesanth and Harbahjan Singh is only now fading from the headlines. Thankfully, the IPL’s governing council moved swiftly to reprimand Harbahjan and warn Sreesanth.

There has also been an amusing tiff between Sourav Ganguly and Shane Warne. The two have never liked each other a great deal and it was not a huge surprise to hear them trading verbal punches in the media after an incident in which Ganguly refused to walk for a bump catch.

The catch was taken by Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, who claimed to have taken it cleanly. Ganguly, the batsman, thought otherwise and appeared to pressurize the umpires into checking with the third umpire. They ruled not out and Warnie was fuming.

The incident once again raised the issue of technology and bump catches – an issue that will be discussed again during next week’s ICC Cricket Committee meeting in Dubai. My view is that you cannot trust the fielder’s word, mainly because in some cases they cannot be sure. TV replays are not perfect, especially for outfield catches where there are less camera angles, but umpires should be allowed to refer to the third umpire if they are unsighted or unsure.

The ICC Meeting, for which I am a player’s representative, will also discuss further trials of an appeal system similar to that used in the ICL. The ICC approach, likely to be introduced later this year, will be more consultative in a bid to make sure the authority of the umpires is not undermined. It should lead to less umpiring errors, which will be a good thing.

The ICC will also be discussing the impact of T20 cricket on the game. The world’s players are hoping that good sense will prevail and a greater effort will be made to make the IPL a permanent fixture in the international schedule. Clearly, in my opinion, it has been a resounding success thus far.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]

Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.