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For Hyderabad, nothing has gone right

Eight defeats from ten matches was not the kind of return one would have expected from a team touted as possessing the 'most explosive batting line-up’. A report by Arjun Sen.

cricket Updated: May 18, 2008 02:38 IST
Arjun Sen

Defeat can, sometimes, be motivating. A loss can often bring a team together, spur the players to prove a point and turn around a season. For the Hyderabad, however, it has not quite turned out that way. All a loss has led to is, well, another loss.

The IPL has been a nightmare for Hyderabad. Nothing has gone according to plan. While the so-called big guns have consistently misfired, the backup men have failed to show up. If the batsmen have been woeful, the bowlers have been wasteful.

Eight defeats from ten matches was not the kind of return one would have expected from a team touted as possessing the 'most explosive batting line-up’. A team expected to be challenging for the title is suddenly using its array of talent to try its best to stay away from the last spot in the table. One would think that a line up boasting of names like Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Scott Styris and Shahid Afridi possessed enough fire power to demolish any attack. The belief the team management went with when they splurged on these men was each had the ability to win a game single-handedly.

When the side lost two on the trot, skipper VVS Laxman hardly looked bothered. Asked whether he thought the team had the ability, and the resources, to bounce back, Laxman had said: "It is just a matter of time. Great players do not just turn into bad players overnight, they will fire."

Sadly, that was quite how it panned out. Two became three, Symonds left, and a semifinal berth looked improbable. But yet, the team lived in hope. It was, after all, a matter of time, Laxman said. The tide would turn, Hyderabad would rise up the table, he promised.

Ten matches on, and nothing has changed. The team is still languishing. So, just why have the big names failed? Well, the answer is maybe because they aren't that 'big' any longer. Apart from Gilchrist, who has shown flashes of his brilliance, the others have compounded the misery on their team.

Look at Gibbs, for instance. At 34, he has looked a pale shadow of the destructive batsman he once was. Averaging a paltry 22.75 in T20s, he has never proved himself here.

A similar case is that of Kiwi Scott Styris. Perhaps the best example of a utility player, a recently retired Styris was expected to add steel and substance to the batting and bowling. All he has added, however, so far has been more worries. 20.08 is all he averages in this format, and it is easy to see just why.

Finally, Afridi. He has always been a hit-and-miss player, with the misses exceeding the hits by a long way. And he has disappointed in the IPL, either. Always looking to start smashing from the first ball, Afridi has not done what his team expected him to - score runs.

Irresponsible batting, wayward bowling and pedestrian fielding was hardly why Hyderabad spent all that money on these cricketers, and with just four games left, Sunday would be a good time for them to show just what they are worth.