Australia’s early exit demonstrates their inability to come to terms with the T20 format. As always, they had too many Test players in the squad, and seemd unable to comprehend that Twenty20, far from being Test cricket, is not even 50-over cricket. As a result, excellent Test batsmen like Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mike Hussey were simply slowing down the game.
The Australians goofed up on the selection of bowlers too. Brett Lee, for example, is a brilliant bowler in Test cricket, but is expensive in T20 because he bowls length. Batsmen look to hit good length balls out of the park, which is why a Boycott or a Gavaskar or a Ponting will never be at ease. It isn’t in our nature to hit thus. It is also true that even an ordinary Test batsman can become a Twenty20 star. You need to look no further than Andrew Symonds and Yuvraj Singh for proof of that observation.
And that is the reason I think England have the potential to do well in this format. When they aren’t ruining their own chances, they can be quite a handful in limited-overs cricket. I like the way they are opening their batting with Luke Wright and Ravi Bopara. Of course, South Africa, who they face today, are completely different from Pakistan, their opponents in the previous mach. Even then, I would give England a fair chance, provided they play to their potential.
It is disappointing to see the way the Indian media is suggesting that all is not well within the M.S. Dhoni-led side, and trying to goad the skipper into providing a reaction. This is what the Australians call the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, which means that when a poppy plant grows too tall, you lop its head off. Having heaped praises on Dhoni over the past year or so, the media now wants to bring in some variety. But this will do no good to the team.
Dhoni has been an icon for Indian cricket, and he doesn’t deserve such a treatment. Perhaps, he can take comfort in the fact that he isn’t the first icon to be treated in such a way.
Coming back to Thursday’s game, I believe both England and South Africa have once again revived the debate about Kevin Pietersen’s rivalry with the Proteas. KP’s an excellent Twenty20 player, so it would be best for him not to get involved in mind games and focus more on the field, which is what he did against Pakistan.