Ball One – The Trumpet’s first sight of the IPL this season. Within five minutes, it’s clear that little has changed – trite commentary, intrusive advertising and big hitting. Of course, it’s easy to highlight the superficiality of the IPL’s commercialism and you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you were happy with merely a surface reading – but the commercialism is so overpowering, it has to be Ball One.
Ball Two – Daniel Vettori has never spun it much and these days, after a long history of back problems, he barely turns it all – so how does he bowl so many dot balls? Reputation helps – other RCB bowlers are more likely to be targeted – but it really doesn’t look that difficult to bowl full and straight at 60mph. It must be though – otherwise everyone would do it – wouldn’t they? 3.4-0-13-0 tells its own tale – as does Hussey’s sudden attack with two boundaries from Vettori’s last two deliveries.
Ball Three – By my reckoning, this is Mike Hussey’s 649th game of senior cricket. He’s as keen now as in his first game, giving everything for the shirt no matter which crest is on the breast. He shows few signs of slowing down and, with Australia looking to blend experience with new blood, there’s no reason for him to stop. He’ll turn 36 next month, but he’ll be a long time retired, so if he’s good enough, he’s young enough. He may not like the sobriquet Mr Cricket, but it does fit.
Ball Four – Is there any excuse for fielding as bad as RCB’s? Sure T20 requires concentration, but only for 120 balls and no player fields them all. If India are to retain their current status at the top of international cricket, the complacent attitude to fielding, so deep set in India’s cricket culture, will have to change. The World Cup Final showed the standard that’ll be needed when the big batting guns eventually retire, so everyone knows their job. If MS Dhoni can’t embed fielding discipline in India’s cricket culture, it’s hard to imagine that another man could.
Ball Five – Two absurd shots see off Dilshan and Pathan within the first two overs – another reminder that inexplicable things happen in cricket. It’s unfair to raise an eyebrow when they happen to cricketers from Pakistan – and let’s not pretend that eyebrows wouldn’t be raised by shots like that had, say, Kamran Akmal played them – because these things happen in the game. They always have and they always will.
Ball Six – The camerawork, particularly the ultra-motion, is extraordinary. Has any aspect of the game improved as much in the last ten years? The technology helps, but the camera operators and the directors really know their stuff. It’s hard to credit that, with the exception of the swooping overhead shots, no lens is within 70 metres of the middle. It must be even more amazing in HD.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999