The Circus Train Is At Its Last Stop

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The Circus Train Is At Its Last Stop
(Photo by Tom Shaw/Getty Images)

Yes. IPL 2—come Monday morning—will have come and gone. The Rainbow Nation can get back to its working life.

Mr. Modi may lick his chops at the possibility of two IPLs a year now, but that is going to kill the proverbial golden goose as well as work people off—literally and figuratively.

There comes a time when you have to realise where to stop. Macbeth didn't, Alexander didn't, Napolean didn't, and neither did Hitler. Modi seems to have this little streak he shares with these people.

I am not putting him up there, but just bringing them down here. So does MSD, which brings me to this circus train. Or is it just a Street Car named Desire (to legitimise an imitation Minting Press)?

Well, I am here to do the first draft of Obit for IPL-2. First, CSK—the legendary Chennai Super Kings—and their Great Fall at Joburg. All CSK could sing in its last four overs was that signature song of the great she—Gimme Hope, Johanna!

Hope she did give...until overs 14 and 15 when RCB's asking briefly went back to 9 per over and lost a wicket (that would never have been critical considering they possess the most understated but the greatest finisher in recent times, VIRAT KOHLI. I should make my next article an Ode on him!).

But then...CSK is the microcosm of the Indian team of the past under Ganguly. They have the knack of snatching defeat from the dangerous jaws of victory! They lost the P and had only Hoe to hack. Johanna could only help that much, the rest was 'istory, friends.

Even more so...

CSK had lost their plot before the match started. Why MSD keeps hunkering after Albie Morkel, Manpreet Gony, and Jacob Oram, one can't understand! Is there more of an "Oh, I am just doing this job because I have to, for the money" attitude than there is a real Captain Cool in MSD?

I have always sensed more of an apathy behind those coolers over his eyes than coolness when chips are down! Maybe I am wrong, maybe not. The fact of the matter is, all the clues were there for the plot-spoiler for CSK fans.

Oram has been the least successful buys of both IPL 1 and 2. He has figured in the 11 in most but NOT all matches, does not average even 30, has a strike rate under 100, hasn't had success with the ball and has been a shadow of his fielding self this season.

Albie—but for those occasional sixes and one decent innings—has been a failure with the bat. He must be ranked only next to Anil Kumble of the death over batting in Tests, where one has witnessed many a bagful of air traversing between the beaten bat and the ball in the wicket-keeper's gloves. How many dot balls had Albie played this season? More than the drives past the fielders.

Gony! He is CSK's A-gony. MSD had himself resigned to keep MSG on the sidelines and inducted Sudeep Tyagi earlier. Why bring him back? If MSG gets umpteen chances, shouldn't Sudeep have got one more? Especially, when Gony is woefully out of form at the domestic front, from grapevine surveys, how could you expect form on field?

Now, CSK's IPL is Gony...Gony...Gone!

I know, this sounds like post-loss surgery. It is not. I have been meaning to predict this end for a while now. For the last SIX matches to be precise. But, I reserved it when CSK decided to play Ashwin in the previous match.

Jakati too had been sorted out and declated TWO delivery wonder. He was taken to beyond the cleaners for an acid wash the match before he was dropped. And Ashwin proved a better foil to Murali. Jakati was operating alongside Murali on his own terms, not as a foil to Murali.

Jakati did take wickets and kept providing those odd breakthroughs, yes. So was Morkel. Nevertheless, Jakati never played support role to Murali, who is CSK's key bowler. Ashwin did. Ashwin was. MSD must have retained him.

CSK never really had a great and reliable bowling line-up.

They probably must have played Ntini and rested Albie having seen Charlie take wickets for KKR the other day. We need finishers for bowlers and exclusive bowlers who take wickets rather than all-rounders. They must have rested Oram and kept Bailey as specialist batsman alongside Haydos.

To go in with Patel, Haydos, Bailey, Raina, MSD, and Badri would have been better and accommodate Tyagi, Ntini, Ashwin, alongside Murali and Balaji would have made a great tactic.

So MSD lost his marble and lost his tactic against an Anil who must have been chuckling like Poseidon against Odysseus who keeps wandering back to the stormy seas. After all, MSD never inherited Anil's wilyness anyway.

One small rejoinder. Last year it was Kapugedera, this time it was Thushara. Why? Once he was creamed during IPL-2, why play him again in the last league match? When you lose a match before a knock-out phase, even if you have qualified, it does hurt the morale, somewhere.

The CSK has lost this time twice in a row to RCB. What is the use of a strong batting, if one can't bowl the opposition out, when the opposition is chasing!

To RCB's credit they had a very underestimated batting underside. This bacon had its underside properly prepared. People always talk of Kallis, Dravid, Taylor, and other big names. I feel Virat has been one of the key figures in Bangalore's success.

Take a look at his fielding performances and his occasional dabs at 6th bowler job and the matches he had batted. He is a finisher. Rohit Sharma must really be worried. VIRAT is ROHIT's Challenge for that place. Juxtapose Virat's consistency against Rohit's performance, you'll readily agree. He is sooooo cool on the field, around the ropes.

He makes breathtaking judgements for those on-the-ropes high-catches like horses take to rum, unruffled. He doesn't lose cool. And he is 19! He must be groomed the way Aussies groom Clarkie. But tonight...to hasten the last few bytes of this article...RCB may need more than consistency. 

RCB is like the South Africa before Graeme Smith. They were planned, disciplined, and routine, like a well-oiled machinery. They would consistently figure in all the finals or semis, only to be eternal bridesmaids, because they wouldn't have a Plan B, C, or D to tackle that one inspired player or the inspired team up against them.

Hyderabad is that! Gillie, Gibbs (who I rate as more destructive than Gillie if he gets going), Simmo, Rohit, Venugopal Rao are all dashers and gate-breakers and party-poopers. Add to them the consistent and reliable Suman who is sensible in rotating the strike, this is more than Screwdriver... if it gets going, it can be Sex On The Beach.

If we see the return of Dwarak Ravi Teja, who we saw demolish sides at the death last season, then the Sex On The Beach could become Orgy... or if the willow doles out dollops of well-timed fours, it can be Sex Over Bach and Beethoven.

Welcome to a veritable final.

And then...come Monday, there wILL be none. The IPL wILL have come and gone. So wILL the Shilpas, Preitys, Nitas, not to mention the Mandiras and Magics.

Ahoy, it's RCB vs DCH.

Take seats. Quiet, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank You. 

 

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