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Off the mark and Twently20 Cricket

Whenever we take a fresh guard i.e. start something we all start with " गणेशाय नामः ".

Back in INDIA we all hope that the festivals would be on weekdays preferably Fridays or Mondays so that we can make full use of so called long weekends. Things change a bit when we are in US; we hope that all the festivals are in weekends so that we can celebrate by going to temple or meeting friends.

My stint with tennis ball league started well on Ganesh's Birthday. I was called up for the match at 8 am which actually started by 9 (IST zindabad) a 20 over match, we put the opposition into bat. I always remember Sriram's dialog, "Manish 2 is less than 4". From that day I made a point to stand in close as my miss field would not cost more (2 < 4). But to my miss fortune captain placed me at the most important position on cricket here deep midwicket (as opposed to point in international cricket). So every time the bowler bowls short or down the leg side (which is quiet common as we come from Land of Prasad n Agarkar , we believe in bowling one side of the wicket and its leg side) my heart would beat faster. On one occasion the ball went high in the air and I shouted mine and ran towards the ball, kept my eyes focused on the ball and held on to one my best catches (some would claim "The only catch"). With the momentum taking me forward and dew not helping me either, I slipped and rolled on the ground but made sure that the ball was firmly held. We were given a total of 85 to chase in 20 overs. With the twenty20 fever catching up and the amount of runs they score making a mockery of run rates, it seemed like a simple task. But its not that easy here in tennis ball league , softball grounds would have mud and sand with in the 30 yards and huge grass covering in the rest of the field. Its like playing in overcast condition, with a seaming pitch, lots of cracks, and having a wet, soggy out field. If you manage to negotiate the movement and hit hard the light ball would not travel much and once it hits the ground it does not more forward. So its all about ones and twos and a rare boundary. So much in contrast with Twenty20. In the 15Th over I came to bat, my very first ball was short outside offstump, rocked back and played my favorite shot (Pradeep would claim " The only shot ") placed it past point for a single. Off the mark I was and looked towards heavens and thanked Lord Ganesh. Now I know what is getting off the mark is. I played a bit of pull , drives and nudges, and we had to accelerate our run rate, for some reason I remembered the slog sweep played by Steve Waugh. I was clean bowled playing across the line. Probably due to the slowness of the pitch or my wrong or no foot work. Finally we ended up losing the match by 9 runs.

In contrast; In twenty20 its the same 20 overs but you see radically different style of batting. With big hitting and frequent boundaries make a mockery of run rate. Harsh Bhogle had commented "redefine boundary". So what and why did twenty20 come to picture. In a ODI we enjoy only the first and last 10 overs. So why not make an event out if it, 3 matches a day, 3 hrs, 3 times more money without doing any thing.

Generally in ODI off the 10 over a bowler bowls he would have produced around 20 good balls. So its matter of producing those 24 bowls in a match nonstop. Its a testing time for bowlers and batsman as they have to give their best shot every time without respite. If you see the statistics its the good bowlers and good batsman that are more successful. So twenty20 is good in the interest of the game, just that is fast. People (bowlers) might claim that its too harsh of bowler (free hit rule) , almost flat tracks, fast outfields etc. But let me tell you cricket is a batsman's game,(ज़लीम दुनीया. ) nobody comes to see bowler bowl, they all enjoy batting and huge hitting. Tell me how many of us enjoy a low scoring match? or how many like a bowler rattling the top order? How many of switch off the T V when we see a score like 50/5 or 90/7 ? We start yelling at the batsman, not appreciating the bowlers!!

To succeed in twenty20 cricket one also need sound technique. Sloggers would be successful ones in a while, but its the technically sound batsman and quality bowlers who are willing to adjust survive and succeed . Its the same cricket but you don't respect some balls which you would have in ODI. Twenty20 is like driving on a highway, lot of fun, less time spent, more enjoyment. Good value for money, compounded with lot of risk (reaction time is less at high speeds) its all about comfort level. Sachin Saurav, Rahul didn't find it comfortable, neither am I finding it on freeways.

To drive in a freeways you need to be perfect in local roads, and by traveling in highways it wont affect your local road drive. Its all about willingness to adapt. So either you adapt and drive on highway or grumble and be rigid and drive like me on local roads.

What an analogy !!!!! what do u think?



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