A Turner for the worse
A short while ago Ashton Turner was being rightly lauded for his nuclear knock of 84* off 43 to win Australia the 4th ODI in Mohali. In this year's IPL he has gone from hero to, well, triple zero, notching three golden ducks in a row for Rajasthan Royals. The third of these came in Jaipur on Monday against Delhi Capitals when he nervily prodded an Ishant slower ball to Shermane Rutherford at extra cover.
So jittery did Turner look that it wasn't so much a shot as a parent tentatively pushing open the front door after leaving their teenagers alone for the weekend. The young West Australian even almost suffered the exotic feat of two golden ducks then a run out without facing after a near miss when at non-striker's end earlier in the over, but instead endured this marginally more conventional trio of dismissals.
Turner's dry run, which actually took his sequence of zeros in T20 cricket to five after two previous noughts in the Big Bash, brought comparisons with Ajit Agarkar. The Indian all-rounder once also scored five consecutive ducks, in the 1999-00 Test series in Australia, earning the Mumbaikar the inevitable moniker of "Bombay Duck". Confusingly for laymen of Indian cuisine this is actually a type of fish, but such befuddlement is nothing alongside the probable turmoil inside poor Turner's head at present.
At least Agarkar was on hand to offer some support to his fellow runless sufferer, posting a video on Twitter where he offered the sunny side up assessment that, "I have gone through it in one series, so he has got a mile to catch up with me still." Agarkar also selflessly reminded everyone of his later Test hundred at Lord's in 2002 to provide inspiration to the beleaguered Turner. Perhaps this year's Ashes will have a surprise twist.
Rash from Khan
On Tuesday against Sunrisers, Shane Watson raised his bat unusually sheepishly when he reached his half-century. Given his famously poor conversation rate in Tests, reaching fifty has often not been a source of joy for the big Queenslander, but here he was merely acknowledging his uncharacteristically poor form for CSK this year.
He this time went on in pugnacious fashion and not least after Rashid Khan took the unusual step of attempting to physically intimidate a man twice his age and size. Watson hit a four off the young Afghani's second ball, so Khan tried to barge into the opener while giving him an icy glare. The Australian, an elephant being nipped on the shins by a lion cub, looked both amused and unphased. He went on to mete out some terrible punishment to Rashid, who for once was the one left wondering which way the ball was going to go — long off, midwicket, deep backward square? Watson ended on 96. Khan ended up conceding 44 off his four overs, his worst figures of the year.
An AB Apology
An attempt was made not to include AB de Villiers in this round-up for once, but sadly he rendered that impossible with his latest bout of brilliance. So apologies for yet another item on the South African, but his shot against Kings XI on Wednesday really can't be ignored. As a resurgent RCB were racing towards a 200+ total, Mohammed Shami bowled a high full toss that was on course to take out one of AB's kidneys. The South African not surprisingly flinched a little and looked away, but rather than diving to the floor in self-preservation like a normal mortal instead whipped the ball out of the ground. Ronaldinho can claim ownership of the no-look pass. Here AB invented the no-look hook.
One handed look away six by AB de Villiers.
The BBL needs this man ...
— Peter Lalor (@plalor) April 24, 2019
More remarkable still was that he played the shot one-handed. This is not of itself particularly unusual. Rishabh Pant's bat handle, for instance, often seems to have been dipped in lava and chilli so often does he pull his hand off it in the middle of a hearty swish. Rutherford also played a one-arm slice over deep point against RCB on Sunday. That De Villiers, though, did it without even looking was a new level of nonsense. The ball nestled on the stadium roof, desperately clinging onto a groove to stop it from having to go back and face a further shellacking at the hands, well hand, of the RCB genius.
Parag's breath of fresh air
A couple of week's ago Riyan Parag failed the Rainbow Kick Challenge. In case there are people unfamiliar with the Rainbow Kick Challenge, it is a contest where Rajasthan Royals players have to do a keepy-up with a tennis ball then boot it into an ice-box. It's unclear why they do this, and the idea is yet to catch on with other franchises, but young Parag scored nought out of five on his go.
The 17-year-old did rather better on Thursday, steering the Royals towards a win against a faltering KKR with a dashing 47 off 31 balls. He even pulled off a helicopter shot although he denied Dhoni was the inspiration behind it. "I just hit it... I have played it a few times in the state matches as well. There wasn't any inspiration. I hadn't prepared for it. I didn't even practice for it," he told his team mate Varun Aaron in a post-match interview.
Dhoni, who was once stumped by Parag's father Parag Das in a Ranji Trophy match twenty years ago, did get some recognition at least on Friday when he received a plaque covered with a hundred whistles, a nod to CSK's catchphrase, for his one hundred IPL wins as captain of the franchise. The award was handed over by N Srinivasan, the ex-President of the BCCI, who had presumably collected the whistles from enthusiastic CSK fans such as his son-in-law.
Official game of the IPL: Spot the ball
Parag was actually out in puzzling fashion in that innings against KKR. He clipped Andre Russell for four off his glove as Ian Gould signalled no ball, presumably for the West Indian's second bumper of the over. The bails, however, lay on the ground after Parag had hit his stumps on his hook's follow-through, Gould signalled dead ball and then the third umpire sent the youngster on his way. Scratched heads all round.
The day before there was another comical bit of officiating when, after a strategic time out in that RCB-Kings XI encounter, no one could locate the ball. Umpires Oxenford and Shamshuddin were at a loss and the fourth official even ran on with a new batch. Ashwin got angsty and it was all a bit awkward. Not quite Russell batting with Dinesh Kartik on Sunday awkward, a day after the West Indian gave an interview lambasting his captain's bowling strategies, but awkward nonetheless.
Replays on the big screen then revealed Shamshuddin had pocketed the ball but forgotten about it, an easy enough mistake to make, but one you might expect to find on a village green rather than the middle of the Chinnaswamy. Recent years have seen sides receive a lot of criticism for their IPL over rates. They might argue it's a bit hard to get on with things when the umpires have hidden the playing equipment.