Monday, April 12, 2010

LIP SERVICE

Australians have always been famous for their lip service methods... and Shane Watson showed a small example of it yesterday in the Rajasthan Royals v Mumbai Indians match yesterday.

I had written a blog regarding the unruly behaviour of Australians after the Scott Styris - Mitchell Johnson incident last month. I wouldn't go so far to call Shane Watson's behaviour unruly this time, but it was certainly not sporting.

At some point during the telecast of the match yesterday, the points tally of the Fair Play Award came up. It showed that Rajasthan Royals were languishing at the 7th position. At that time, one of the commentators said that it might be because of Shane Warne and Shane Watson. And he wasn't far off the mark!

Shane Warne is a master at mind games - both subtle as well as brutal. His continuous emphasis on RR's 'home' record and 'fortress' comments have been seen by many as comments to intimidate the opponents before the match begins. Shane Watson, who has been booked even in the past, showed off his aggro once again yesterday. He got the wickets of Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary by setting them up - not with his bowling - but with his eyes and lips.

Rayudu played a firm push down the ground. Watson fielded the ball, stared with fire right into the batsman's eyes, turned back, bowled a well-directed bouncer, got the glove and got his man. I have no issues with that. So lets fast forward a bit.

In his next over, Watson, in his follow-through, serves a few words to Saurabh Tiwary, who had looked good in his short stay at the crease. He again dug one in short, Tiwary went for a pull, could not connect well, and ended up sending a simple catch to wide fine leg. Watson then celebrated by pumping his fists right in front of the batsman, who had no choice but to depart. That is where I have problem.

A celebration of that sort is very unfitting of a sportsman, and this is not the first time Watson has done it (ask Chris Gayle for more information). When you have a batsman out, you have won a battle... you don't need to rub it in to prove it. Watson's tendency to rub it in gives me a feeling that he is insecure and uncertain of his own talents... that is why he needs to show the batsman that he has won the battle even after the result is clear. That's not what Shane Warne does! In fact, Warne's most typical method of celebrating is one of the best I have seen in the game.

He srceams with joy, pumps his fists, congratulates himself, and if the battle with the batsman had been a tough one, he smiles at the departing batsman in an acknowledgement of the same. This shows that he is ready for another battle with the batsman, unlike Watson, who gets over the top.

But despite all of Watson's antics, one has to ask Rayudu and Tiwary about what they were thinking in attempting those strokes. Yes, they had been instigated. But did they not realise it then that Watson wanted those very strokes from them? This is what separates boys from men! They don't have to look too far for examples. They must have noticed by now that no bowler tries to work Sachin Tendulkar up even if he is beaten by a 'jaffer'. That is because Sachin responds very positively to such non-cricketing tactics, unlike what Rayudu and Tiwary managed yesterday.

These young men will have more chances to prove that they have learnt from this incident, and they will need to prove a point. In the Chennai Test against England in December 2008, Yuvraj Singh was softened up by Andrew Flintoff using a few choice words. Yuvraj proceeded to throw his wicket away next over by edging straight to slip (yes, it was Freddie in the slips)!

In the next innings, with India chasing 387 for a win, match nicely set up and hanging in balance, and the pitch a little crumbly, it was time to Yuvraj to show his mettle. Freddie was there again with a few words... but Sachin helped Yuvraj distract himself from that battle and concentrate on the game. Eventually, Yuvraj played a crucial role in helping India reach that target and most were very impressed by that performance.

If Rayudu or Tiwary manage something like that, it will be a great confidence booster for them just as it will be great for the Indian team. I really wish to see that happen!

1 comment:

Wes said...

Hi Shridhar how are you, I agree with your post.
Watto is a complete tool. He makes the Australian fans cringe in embarrassment. I used to think he deserved a lot more support due to his rapid improvement as a batsman and bowler during and after the Ashes. But he destroys the excellent reputation he could have with his retarded behaviour. What a nut. He never got why people wanted him to keep going out on 99 forever.

Cheers,
Wes

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