Monday, May 5, 2008

IPL's positive side - Bringing them together.

I have always liked Sangakkara's short writings here and there. Always full of insight and a true player's perspective. In his latest article in cricinfo, he talks about his experience in IPL and the interaction with domestic players. He also talks about playing side by side with international stars whom he had played as opponents (like Brett Lee). I totally agree with him about the positives that are coming out of IPL. The other day I saw Shaun Pollock interacting with Dwane Bravo during the crucial overs and wonder how good the sports can be in making people friendly and tollerant. I think this will also eliminate some of the bad blood. Recent series have shown that things could get really ugly and there were lot of forgettable instances. I hope things will get better. Here are some excerpts from Sangakkara's article.

    • Interactions between international stars and domestic players have been the most encouraging aspect of the IPL
    • We have now seen a lot of good cricketers who wouldn't have otherwise been seen. We have India Under-19 players, or Ranji players, who are coming out and winning matches for their sides.
    • For me, for example, keeping wicket to bowlers I haven't kept to before has been good. Keeping to spinners like Chawla has been especially challenging. He is a good bowler and has a lot of guile and skill. It is hard enough to read his variations, plus you need to learn how to react to the different pitches we play on, and to make it even harder, the batsmen are always on the attack, always moving around in the crease and trying to get runs, which can get very distracting for a wicketkeeper. In such circumstances the basics become all the more important: watching the bowler's hand, watching the ball off the pitch into your gloves, and forgetting what the batsman is doing.
    • With fast bowlers it's slightly easier because you are standing back, and you get time to react and move around. It is still important to know which way the ball is swinging and what the bowlers are trying to do, of course. It becomes difficult when they start bowling slower balls.
    • One of the best experiences for me as a keeper has been to watch Brett Lee run in and bowl. Just the fact that I can stand well back makes it easier for me, gives me a lot of time to watch the ball and move and get into a position to collect it. He bowls at 150-plus and still has the accuracy and the skill to bowl as many balls as he wants to in the areas he wants to - which is something you usually associate with the slower bowlers.
    • When the ball falls in your area, the shot is usually instinctive. Cricket, especially batting, is a reactive skill. All the thinking, being proactive, the fine-tuning is done in training. Out in the middle, if you purely react to what is bowled at you, you ensure there is no slowing down of your motor skills due to too much thinking. The more instinctive you are, the better it is for you, most times.
    • We have been traveling around India all these days but we haven't been able to see much of the cities. As a team, though, we have been bonding. We have had sessions over a meal or a drink after games. It has been fun, especially with Lee on the guitar. These things are crucial. They help you get closer to each other, and also enjoy the competition a lot more. We've been able to be ourselves and focus on the cricket and express ourselves on the field.
    Photos are always from IPL official wesite
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