Ball One – I’m always amazed that so many batsmen fail to play to their strengths, especially early on. Keiron Pollard, needing to rebuild the Indians’ innings, plays a clumsy lap sweep to be dismissed first ball. Why not hit straight? That is how he has made his reputation. Save the clever stuff to move the field around when you have 40 or so on the board and your eye in.
Ball Two – Danny Morrison on commentary seems to believe the show is about him. There’s a difficult balance to be struck, especially on television, between adding to the excitement and drowning out the spectacle. In IPL coverage, there’s already plenty of noise and distractions, so “say what you see” is a useful approach – and in a voice that isn’t overly straining for effect. “He’s been DLFed a mile” is about as ugly as the English language can be.
Ball Three – The English Twenty20 competition could use the strategic timeout. I know it’s primary purpose is to add another slot for adverts, but it’s a chance for the players to catch breath and think a little. It’s also an opportunity for the crowd to pause for a moment too – it’s not as though the action is ever slow!
Ball Four – Watching a young quick like Ishant Sharma play in the IPL is just a little soul-destroying. After a great start, his Test career has stalled – partly because he cannot bowl six balls consistently. Of course, in the IPL such consistency would be disastrous and Ishant is bowling different lengths, lines and speeds every ball. How this improves his bowling is unclear.
Ball Five – “Great swipe” says the commentator. Okay, sometimes swiping it is the right thing to do in T20, but do we have to celebrate it, honouring it with the adjective “great”?
Ball Six – Watching the IPL reveals the depth of Indian batting talent – and the shallowness of its bowling resources. Okay, the game is set up to favour batsmen (even Dale Steyn looked ordinary earlier) but while Mishra and Ohja look useful, few young Indian bowlers catch the eye. India won’t stay at the top of cricket’s tree without nurturing teenage bowlers and protecting those already into their twenties.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999