One of the criticisms leveled at Mahendra Singh Dhoni in season four of the IPL, which was played just after the World Cup, was that he was lacking intensity. But then it was expected.
The tournament was coming after a World Cup triumph that moved a nation. It was hard for Dhoni not to be drained by that. Rather, it was allowed.
But what’s his excuse this season? Of course, India have had probably their worst season in recent times… eight Test defeats on the trot in England and Australia. The morale was down but Dhoni, by his own admission isn’t fatigued.
But the runs are not being scored, Chennai aren’t winning and Dhoni, himself, seems to be drifting a bit at the moment. A look at the top run-scorers in the tournament indicates that India’s big guns are missing in action. Ajinkya Rahane is leading the pack with 260 runs and Owais Shah is in second place with 204. Rohit Sharma is probably the only ‘regular’ Indian player to make it into the top five with 124 runs in 5 games.
On the bowling side, things are even worse with not even a single Indian team regular figuring in the top five. Munaf Patel with 10 wickets in the highest wicket-taker. Lasith Malinga, Morne Morkel, Kavin Pollard and Kevin Cooper are the other bowlers in the top five.
However, veteran cricket writer Ayaz Memon feels that rather blame fatigue, India’s stars must examine their T20 styles more carefully.
“To blame fatigue would be taking the easy way out,” said Ayaz. “But I feel India should also look closely at their T20 form. We won the first T20 World Cup but after that we’ve been pretty ordinary in this format.”
Is it just a coincidence?
Then there also is the case of the pitches actually helping the bowlers this time round. The Delhi Daredevils-Mumbai Indians match being a case in point. The crowd started leaving the stadium once Mumbai struggled to get runs on the board. Is there also a case of the BCCI getting that aspect right?
“At the end of the day, cricket is a batsman’s game. T20 even more so. So while it’s nice to see the bowlers have something to shout about, at the end of the day, we are there to see the batsmen hit the big shots. So a par score of around 130-140 would be perfect.”
You can watch the entire discussion between Sports Editor Ashish Magotra and Ayaz Memon.