It was a pleasant surprise for me when the Chennai Super Kings bowling line-up, which is not as strong as our batting, scripted an impressive win against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The latter started strongly, but Jacob Oram was able to induce false shots from the in-form Brendon McCullum and then Ricky Ponting. Once you lose wickets upfront, T20 becomes a very different ball game, and a sub-150 total was always going to be hard to defend against our in-form batting attack. I celebrated the win by learning yet another Tamil term, po laama? which means, “Shall we go?”
<b1>While cricket has been hogging headlines all over the country, it was a little sad to see a controversy in the newspapers once again. The incident involving Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh was unfortunate because I know both of them, and they are not bad guys at all. Everybody is passing judgment based on what is reported in the newspapers, and I am too far from the scene to actually comment on it.
However, before issuing any punishment, I hope the authorities check the actual sequence of events rather than just what the footage shows. It’s a lot like what happened between Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi. What Zidane did was wrong, but Materazzi also was not completely in the right.
Harbhajan is a very aggressive cricketer who plays hard and is there for his teammates whenever they need him. Even Sreesanth has seen this supportive side of Harbhajan in the Indian dressing room.
Sreesanth is also a very aggressive cricketer who likes to express his highs and lows very passionately on the cricket field. Off the field, you will not meet a more soft-spoken guy than Sree.
I am glad to hear that whatever happens in the form of disciplinary action, both these guys have sorted things out between themselves.
As far as this incident having any effect on the Indian dressing room, it seems unlikely. Besides, there is a long time to go before we play international cricket, and I am sure things will get sorted out by then.
Coming back to the IPL, we now take on the Bangalore Royal Challengers in their home game, and while they not really got off to a flying start, they are still a very fine side. They have quite a few match-winners in their midst and if any one of them gets going on Monday, it will mean trouble for us.
There is no such thing as a favourite in Twenty20 cricket, and whoever will have the better form in those three hours will win. It is important for us to focus on our plans and also play to our strengths. If we do that consistently, we will continue to get the results.
All teams will be heading towards a new phase in May when some of the international players will have to leave for national duty. We will lose Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Oram next week, and most sides will lose a couple of key players in the side.
For the momentum to be maintained, we will need our India internationals as well as the new internationals to keep the intensity going. I know that Hayden is a tough player to replace at the top of the order, but we will have to find ways. We will be getting in Stephen Fleming, Makhaya Ntini and Albie Morkel, and a lot depends on how these guys will fare in the coming games.