Monday, June 02, 2008

Patriotism takes a huge beating in IPL. Mind it, rascals!

By John Cheeran
The best team won the inaugural Indian Premier League trophy. Rajasthan Royals had creditable displays throughout the league phase though they almost conceded their last league game to Kings XI Punjab.
Rajasthan’s victory is tribute to team spirit and hard work. They did not have huge stars but an astute Shane Warne melded an outfit through his no-nonsense approach.
On Sunday, during the final, the intensity that Warne brought to the field to contain the good start of Chennai Super Kings was astounding. Warne never let the pressure ease and even though Chennai batsmen had the advantage in the first 10 overs of their innings, Royals won the game in the latter half.
And what a star turn Yousuf Pathan did in the final. A three-wicket spell from the spinner never allowed Chennai to shift gears. By snaring two wickets in one over on a day when his captain went wicket-less was a performance any skipper would have been proud of from his teammates.
Pathan did the hit parade while chasing the 164 runs needed for the title. Yes, Yousuf had a bit of luck. He was dropped in the first over of Muttaiah Muralitharan while the batsman on 13, and had that catch was taken the outcome of the match would have been different as Chennai bowlers began to tighten their lien and length. Yousuf, however, was undeterred and still enjoyed big strikes, getting two more lives in the process.
It was not just Pathan. Both Rajasthan and Chennai had their players working hard and if there was a blemish it was some sloppy fielding from the Super Kings. May be the pressure finally got to them. A better fielding show would have made things a lot tougher for Rajasthan.
But I hope the subliminal message in all this would not get lost in Indian cricket. Look, what an Aussie could actually achieve with an Indian side with low level egos. Yes, Greg Chappell tried and failed but was eagerly picked up by Lalit Modi’s Jaipur Cricket Association.
Modi again persuaded Warne to do the dual role of skipper and coach with Rajasthan Royals and how the naughty Aussie has succeeded.
A streamlined approach always helps in executing your plans and realizing your goals. With Warne not having to contend with a captain with quite a different set of ideas, Rajasthan stayed focused on their task – giving it all.
Just consider that most of the IPL teams boasted of Indian icons, but all of them failed in their quest for glory. Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar, despite support from cash-rich franchises, could not make the cut into the semifinals.
Yes, patriotism has taken a huge beating in the IPL, I must say. Not even the Twenty20 World Champion, Mahendra Singh Dhoni could prove the difference.
Mind it, you rascal!

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