Friday, April 2, 2010


The 'revenge' matches have begun. All teams have played each other once in the season... and its now time for the visitors to play hosts and for the losers to seek revenge.

MI are topping the table comforrtably... if they continue this way, the question to be asked is - will they be like the RR of 2008 or DD of 2009? In 2008, RR were the comfortable table-toppers and went on to win the inaugural IPL. In 2009, DD topped the tables, but could not even manage a place in the finals.

Maybe MI will set a new precedent by topping the table, reaching the finals, and then losing it. No way! It would only be fitting that the first Indian to lift the IPL aloft as a winning captain be Sachin Tendulkar.

I am not talking in terms of captaincy record (Ganguly will deserve it more, if that's the case). I am talking about the man that SRT is in Indian cricket... or the God! His captaincy has been so very refreshing to watch this season. It's almost as if he wants to ensure that he ties all the loose ends up before he retires from cricket.

That is why, over the last 2 years, we have seen from SRT those very things that his critics claimed he was incapable of doing. In early 2008, he scored 208 runs (including 1 unbeaten century in a chase) against Australia in the 2 finals of the CB Series. Later that year, he scored an unbeaten century in a successful fourth innings chase (5th highest ever then) on a 5th day Chennai track against England in a match that was much more than just about the 22 players on the field. In 2009, he played his role in helping India reach the No. 1 spot in ICC ODI Rankings, which could not be maintained. So he made up for it by playing his part in making India reach the No. 1 spot in ICC Test Rankings, and continue holding it till date. Then on 24th February this year, he scored an ODI 200 - the first in 2962 ODIs played by men.

And now... using the platform of IPL, he is seeking to erase the question marks that have always been see over his captaincy record. That he is an astute thinker of the game, no one can deny! However, in his captaincy stints, he was unable to inspire his team to reach dizzying heights or do the unthinkable. So after resigning as an international captain, and a decade more in cricket, he has certainly learnt something... and he is putting it to good use.

Harsha Bhogle talks at Cricinfo in his article about how he has trusted his youngsters over the international stars. He talks about how he has infused confidence in the likes of Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu and Rajagopal Satish. He talks about how SRT himself has led from he front. He talks about the selection of Ryan McLaren, which has given him a great number of bowling options.

However, he misses out on the fact that he has taken a very hard decision this summer - dropping Sanath Jaisuriya. Even when not in the best form, SRT has always trusted the skills and abilities of the man from Matara, but he has dropped him for the balance of this side. And it's paying dividends already - in the form of Shikhar Dhawan.

So well, there you go... this is SRT! The man (sorry, God!) just wants to keep on rewriting the history again and again and again.

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