Kolkata Knight Riders have now been joined amongst the also-rans by the Mumbai Indians in the 2009 IPL season, which is a bit like hosting a party for English football celebrities and not inviting David Beckham and Posh Spice.
How did that happen? Where did they go wrong? As I have mentioned previously, I’m sure there was a root cause to the Knight Riders problems, which was based around personality issues within the squad and the management.
A sure sign of the pressure being felt by captain Brendon McCullum came in the final over of the match against the Deccan Chargers when Mashrafe Mortaza bowled the first delivery with only three men inside the fielding circle. As a coach, it almost defies belief that something so basic — and at such an important time — could actually go wrong.
I obviously haven’t been in any of the player dugouts during the tournament, so there may be more communication between the bench and the players on the field than one can see from the sidelines, but I’m convinced that it is an area of T20 which needs to be improved.
I don’t believe it’s physically possible for a captain to maintain the pace of the game and keep an eye on five or six different facets of the game and still perform as a player. The captain needs as much help as possible and I’m sure that successful IPL captains will be those with a strong relationship between them and the team management.
Sachin is a case in point. I know he has been used to handling pressure and the weight of expectation for the best part of two decades but there was too much pressure on him and J.P. Duminy during the IPL.
In a must-win game against the Chennai Super Kings last week, Sachin appeared to be distracted by the occasion and made some very peculiar decisions, most notably not to bowl either Harbhajan Singh or J.P. for their full allocation of four overs despite them being the most economical.
I can only imagine that Shaun Pollock must have been pulling out what little remains of his hair but, out of respect for Sachin, perhaps he didn’t want to interfere. In future, however, I believe captains should accept that there is simply too much to do for one man and accept as much assistance as possible.