In the sporting kingdom, out-of-the-box team decisions on the eve of big matches can be rewarded handsomely.
Krishnamachari Shrikanth receives a cheque from BCCI president N Srinivasan during the IPL T20 cricket 2nd Qualifier match between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. PTI/R Senthil Kumar
When the starting line-up for the 2010 Fifa World Cup semifinal between Spain and Germany was announced, conspicuous by his absence was Fernando Torres, who two years ago,
had struck the winner against the same opposition in the Euro final.
Spain coach, Vincente del Bosque, dropped the striker, who was having a barren run, in favour of Pedro whose substitution changed the tide in their narrow quarterfinal triumph over Paraguay. Pedro's natural width and pace helped Spain. It was called a coaching masterstroke. But not all such decisions meet with success.
Not the same results
When the lineup for the Delhi Daredevils' second qualifier was announced on Friday, the absence of two names evoked surprise for different reasons.
Delhi left out their leading wicket-taker, Morne Morkel, for Andre Russell, who had played just three matches all season. The omission of Irfan Pathan was even more puzzling. On the eve of the match it had been learnt that he had split the webbing of his finger after an incident in their first qualifier, but when DD mentor TA Sekar was asked about his fitness, he said Irfan was 100% fit and would feature in the match.
In Irfan's place, DD handed an IPL debut to Tamil Nadu off-spinner Sunny Gupta. Sehwag even handed the new ball to Gupta. He was smashed for fours off his first two deliveries and never recovered from the thrashing to record figures of 0/47 off his three overs.
Russell recorded better figures, 0/30 off his allotted overs, but one wonders how much Morkel could have troubled the rampaging CSK batsmen.
During their meeting at Delhi, earlier, Morkel got 2/19 as DD restricted CSK to a paltry 110/8.
On Friday, they got double the runs.