Thursday, May 24, 2012

Why Subhash Jayaraman should stop writing about cricket!

I am rebutting to this article now, after the hapless MI have been completely blown away by Dhoni and company. But even if I had written this before the match, my response would not have been very different. Mr. Jayaraman might be a genuine fan of MI. If that was the case, he should have done more to bring out the positive elements of the team he supports. But his putting down of CSK really irked me to no limits and that prompted me to come out with this response.

Let us start with the first paragraph.

Mumbai Indians
Chennai Super Kings
A power packed batting line up;

Tendulkar, Smith, Rohit Sharma, Karthik, Franklin, Rayudu, Pollard

Tendulkar has had starts but no real big innings. Smith had one good outing and those three balls against Hilfenhaus.  Sharma has been off and on but has scored over 400 runs. Karthik – a form better left unsaid.  Rayudu has done little in cruch games.Franklin and Pollard have done nothing. 

So except Sachin, Rohit Sharma and may be Smith based on the last game, there is hardly any power in this batting line up. And how many opening pairs were tried during the season? How many players  were used during the season?

Hussey, Vijay, Raina, Badri, Dhoni, Jadeja, Bravo, Morkel

Mr. Cricket has always delivered.  Vijay has not done much but has shown more form after Hussey joined him at the top. Raina has had his starts but not converted those. Badri has been the sheet anchor. Dhoni showed how to win games. 

Jadeja has not done anything of significance excepting one match. Bravo and Morkel have shown what effective finishing means. So with Hussey, Raina (even though not in his best form), Badri, Dhoni, Bravo and Morkel – 

Chennai team packs more power than Mumbai. The team was hardly tampered with and was perhaps the most settled amongst all teams. Incidentally George Bailey, the T20 captain of Team Australia has not managed to break into the playing XI.
an all-time legend whose game can adjust to to any format;

Sachin has never showed the kind of form he has shown in ODIs and Tests, in T20s. And particularly this season he has been mostly a sheet anchor.
Dhoni has come down the order and proved himself in a couple of crunch games with his big hitting. And he has inspired his team to some real good wins.
batsmen that can launch the cricket ball into the stratosphere with a flick of the wrist;

And, if I may ask, who are these batsmen? Smith? Pollard? How many games have they done this?
Dhoni, Bravo and Morkel have shown consistently that they are much better finishers than anyone else in this format. (Since I am staying away from this eliminator game, I am not talking about the flick of the wrist helicopter six of Dhoni)
a superstar specialist bowler who can crush the batsman’s toes at will;

Granted. Malinga has done more damage, especially at death, than any other bowler by taking wickets and by bowling economically. Although heart of hearts, I hate his bowling action to put it mildly.  
Ben is the fastest bowler but he has not distinguished himself at death. I would rather have him bowl all four of his overs early in the innings.
a young batsman who can finish off the job;
Same as point 3
I would not say young man but as I said earlier there are three accomplished finishers in this side.
a classy spinner
Is that Harbhajan that is being talked about? 6 wickets in 16 matches and an economy rate of 7.11 with a self confidence that would not let him bowl when runs are scored.
Ashwin, who replaced him in the Indian team, has 10 wickets from 16 matches but his economy rate is 6.32 only bettered by Narine and Malinga amongst bowlers who have bowled over 50 overs.
Really, there is so much to like about the Mumbai Indians team. On form and on ability, they should roll over the Chennai Super Kings quite easily

Let us now move on to the next paragraph.

Sure, Mumbai’s captain is at best, a nut case. He isn’t really pulling his weight as a bowler or as a captain. But to think, Mumbai have actually finished third in the season with 10 wins in spite of having Harbhajan Singh as their skipper is a huge credit to them.

Oh! Wow! A classy spinner is suddenly trashed, accepted as someone who is not pulling his weight as a bowler. Now, I don’t need to say anything about this paragraph excepting that CSK are captained by one MS Dhoni. Period.

Let us now go down a few lines into this article before we get to this gem – Chennai lost their last league match against Kings XI Punjab and were dead and buried, for all the money in the world, and were at the mercy of results going their way. If there was someone who could have predicted the results to turn out the way they did, should immediately buy a lottery ticket, cash in and be on vacation for the rest of his/her life.

My understanding of dead and buried is when there is no way out. Now, it is a quirky schedule that made CSK play their last match before anyone else, well, somebody had to. Let us assume that the CSK vs KXIP match was scheduled as the last match of the season and all matches ended up the same way they ended, the equation would be CSK would be in play offs EVEN IF THEY LOST to KXIP as long as their net run rate was better than that of RCB. 

So calling the situation dead and buried and the team came through back door is a very silly observation. CSK had more points and better run rate than three teams which had to win to go better than CSK and they did not. Do not forget that even before that match against KXIP, CSK had to win two matches against table toppers DD and KKR and they did that.

Yes, I did predict this would happen and I did buy lottery but unfortunately winning lottery was not as easy as predicting CSK would get into playoffs. Would Mr.Jayaraman help me be on vacation for the rest of my life?

Mumbai set a record in their last league game of the tournament. The Rajasthan Royals had a fabulous record in their home ground. They had never lost a game at home in which they scored 160 runs. Mumbai not only knocked the stuffing out of the Royals in breaking that record, they did it in style and with all their 10 wickets in hand. As far as form and preparation goes, in the lead up to playoff, it cannot get any better than that.

RR were out of the play offs by then. They were truly dead and buried, if I have to borrow  Mr.Jayaraman’s words. What is the motivation level of a team that was already looking forward to finishing this match and going off to whatever each player had to do next? If flogging dead horses is what preparation is, yes, MI was terrific at that.

“Chennai struggled in that match against Kings XI in Dharamsala. The top order faltered against a decent bowling attack. The middle order pushed and poked its way to a competitive total, which as it turned out, wasn’t very competitive at all. Adam Gilchrist showed to everyone how limited the Chennai bowling attack is. A man, on the verge of retirement, coming back in to the team after having sat on the bench for basically the entire tournament due to injury, pooh-poohed his way to the winning target.

Wow!! What bombastic statements! Yes. Chennai had a tough match against KXIP as their last engagement. When a man like Gilchirst decides to retire in style, there is no stopping that man. He would have won a game against the best World XI that Mr.Jayaraman can assemble.  But let us look at what MI did in the match before their ‘record breaking’ game against RR. This was the 65th match of the season – MI vs KKR. After restricting KKR to 140 runs, this power packed batting of MI could not last 20 overs and were all out for 108 runs. And should I remind that this MI team barely managed to win against the KXIP once and lost the other time, both times with Gilchrist not even playing?

If you were a betting man, you would put your money on Mumbai to face Delhi Daredevilsin Chennai on the 25 May. But then again, given the ease with which KKR won, it’s hard to count them out. Either which way, Chennai don’t figure in our calculations.

I sincerely hope that Mr.Jayaraman is not a betting man and has not put his money where his mouth was. Anyone who would be writing off a team led by Dhoni, would be doing it at his own peril and the result just proved that. And as an ardent supporter of CSK, my bets are on them reaching the finals this year as well.