Is Sangakkara too cerebral for the world of IPL?
Sangakkara is the most articulate cricketer there is in world cricket, now that Rahul Dravid has retired. Does that make him a good captain too?
The last time I wrote, I swore to myself that I’d wait till I have something to write about. Namely, a Deccan Chargers win.
Since mid-April, it’s been an eternity in sporting terms. Chelsea and Bayern have now set up the most unlikely Champions League final since, well, forever, Man City may yet make the Premier League exciting and Guardiola leaving Barca. Closer home, every IPL team seems to be finding form at the right time, their combinations are clicking, and Sachin Tendulkar, Member of Parliament, has come closer to notching up yet another half-century, eleven more to go. (Ha! See what I did there?). And finally, Deccan Chargers win a match, so all’s well with the world. Well, not really.
Steyn making jaws drop, and Dan Christian causing facepalms really does seem a long time ago. There’s been no other moments of magic in the matches thus far, been largely flat and devoid of much action or emotion, save frustration. Sadly, Dale Steyn is actually mortal, and can’t churn out superhero performances every time.
Whether a team can be built with two matchwinners – Steyn and Sangakkara, is up for questioning. As I’d mentioned earlier, the imbalance in the team is just too heavy. A player like Cameron White supposed to be a game-breaker, but performances like the one on Thurday night seem to be the exception, rather than the rule.
Where does the problem lie? A quick look into the excellent statistics put together by ESPNCricinfo is quite instructive – there’s just nobody from DC making it count as batsmen or bowlers.
Dale Steyn makes it to the Top 10 wicket takers, but we have to go all the way down to No.30 to get the next bowler from DC, Amit Mishra, who has been taking quite a spanking in some of the games. (Incidentally, Steyn doesn’t make it to the top 10 either in terms of average or economy rate).
To the batting then. Ajinkya Rahane has outscored Cameron White’s top score in pretty much every other match. Shikhar Dhawan makes the top 10 aggregates, but nobody else comes close, with Parthiv Patel and Dan Christian (every time I say or type that name, I weep a little) outside the top 30. (I have chosen to ignore the strike-rates here, since Brett Lee, DN Yagnik, BA Bhatt and several other worthies have run up strike rates of over 250 on account of clouting one four or six.) Essentially, this speaks of a team that has managed to get neither batting nor bowling to fire. Hence, a potential wooden-spoon finish beckons.
Whisper it, but could an otherwise decent team actually have a ‘leadership deficit’? No! Not Sanga! He’s a born leader, surely?
No disrespect. Sangakkara is the most articulate cricketer there is in world cricket, now that Rahul Dravid has retired. Tune into the post-match comments and Sangakkara makes a lot of good, thoughtful comments rather than platitudes about ‘boys playing well’ and the ‘pitch being a belter’.
Is it possible, just a fleeting thought, that maybe he’s too cerebral for the world of IPLT20? That tactics be damned, at the end of it all, just put an arm around the shoulder of your bowlers and fielders and trust them to do what’s best? That perhaps Sun Tzu belongs everywhere but for the cricket pitch?
I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when the SL board agreed to Sanga’s demands to step down from the captaincy and hand it back to Mahela. It’s a thought – sometimes the smartest person isn’t always the best man for a job. Case in point, the man Sanga reminds people of the most – Rahul Dravid.
Remember, gentle readers, I write as a fan, of sport, of cricket, of the Deccan Chargers. Not, as it would seem, an analyst and an insider with great insight into the world of cricket. So, this isn’t an insinuation of any sort, it’s just a manifestation of some pent-up emotion. At least that’s what I’ll claim when I get the ‘are you insane?’ argument.
Yet, a win is a win. Just hoping that it won’t be another six matches before DC wins again!
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Back on home turf after a comprehensive victory in their previous match, Rajasthan Royals would start firm favourites when they take on the struggling Deccan Chargers in an IPL match here today.
In the 18th over, de Villiers tore apart his countrymate Dale Steyn, smashing two sixes and as many fours to accumulate 23 runs.