THE LOCAL season finally gets underway. Pakistan has been in another curious display. Records have tumbled in India. New Zealand was whitewashed in Bangladesh again and a South African was found guilty of ball tempering.
Wow, what a fantastic week it has been in the world of cricket! Everything that could possibly happen, happened including the Indians flexing their political muscle and putting their tour of South Africa in jeopardy.
As I sat down to watch the decider in the Australia-India series, I thought, “hope this is not an anti-climax to the best series I have ever seen”.
Everyone spoke of the altitude and how the ball flies in Bangalore — and boy did it ever! After star player Virat Kholi was run out cheaply following a misunderstanding with Rohit Sharma, it appeared India would struggle to get to 300 that had become the bench mark for the series and by no means a guarantee of victory.
Sharma went on to make a career best 209 and fell just 10 runs short of the world record. There have been three scores of 200 plus in one-day international (ODI) cricket and they have all been by Indians.
I will not dwell too much on this game and my apologies to those who didn’t watch it — here are the highlights; most number of 6s by an individual, 16; most number of 6s in an ODI, 38; quickest century by an Australian off 57 balls by James Faulkner; both Glen Maxwell and Shane Watson came within one ball of breaking the quickest-ever 50 which is off 17 balls and Vinay Kumar became the first Indian to go for more than 100 in an ODI finishing with 102 off his 10 overs.
One of those days I was happy to be alive and witness to such a spectacle!
In a strange show of the seriousness in which Australia are taking the forthcoming Ashes Series, Mitchell Johnson, by far their best bowler was sent home on the eve of the decider.
The selectors said they wanted Johnson to prepare for the Ashes and I wonder how much difference one day would have made and what better preparation there is than bowling in the middle against high-class opposition in a tense environment.
Guess that is why I’m not an Aussie selector.
- l For the second time in as many series, Bangladesh has whitewashed the New Zealanders. The Clear Black Caps appear to have no clue as what to do in the sub-continent and this could have disastrous implications on their World Cup chances as Bangladesh are the hosts.
- Pakistan blew me away again. In the first ODI against South Africa, Pakistan were 164-4 chasing 183 for victory, they somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and lost by one run. I am still flabbergasted as to how this transpired. They effectively needed 19 runs off 55 balls with six wickets in hand.Pakistan won the second game comfortably and the series in very-spin-friendly conditions is currently poised at one apiece. Pakistan, when they are good they are very good, when they are bad they are very, very bad.
- l There was some more controversy as South African batsman Faf du Plessis was caught ball tempering and admitted to the offence. Du Plessis said he is not a cheat, you be the jury on that.He was caught vigorously rubbing the ball on the zip of his trousers.
The big deal with altering the condition of the ball is that it affects the aerodynamics of the ball and the ball behaves in an unnatural way, hence giving an unfair advantage to the bowling side.
The biggest talking point was the variables in punishment. Shahid Afridi from Pakistan was found guilty of biting the ball and banned for two matches yet for a similar offence Duplesis only lost half his match fee. Stuart Broad of England was caught on camera spiking the ball and it was not even discussed further.
Are players judged differently depending on where they come from? The Pakistan Cricket Board is livid and demanding answers, so are we.
- l The local season is finally up and running. Here is what transpired this past week.
BAC 148-10 in 40,2 overs Queens 63-10 in 26,4 overs
Result BAC won by 85 runs
Emakhandeni 247-7 in 50 overs Roosters 61 – 10 in 21,2 overs .
Result Emakhandeni won by 186.
This week’s letter is C: Catch when the ball has come off the bat or the glove of the batsman in contact with bat and is taken by a fielder before it bounces or crosses the boundary.