I will be honest that I haven't really been following the IPL.
Truth is I am actually enjoying the break from the cricket, but after watching my Australian cricket Glorious Summers DVD, I have to admit after watching that epic innings byBrian Lara at the SCG (he is one opponent I silently always wanted to perform well) I can't wait to see the Baggy Green back in action.
This innings of Brian Lara did prompt me to have a look at the West Indies vs Pakistan series. Nothing spectacular about it but I have become fond of one player who certainly has that image of Brian Lara about him, with both the looks and the technique with his batting.
Darren Bravo is his name and don't get me wrong, he's still finding his feet, but after seeing those wristy cover drives and viciously wild pull shots, at the World Cup in particular, I am confident in declaring this bloke has an X factor, he has something special to offer West Indies cricket. The appearances he's made in Test cricket allowed him to show us some of his emerging skills.
As was the case when I saw Eoin Morgan in 2007 at the World Cup and my never ending backing for Callum Ferguson - who will do something epic for Australian cricket one day - Darren Bravo looks like the real deal and I hope he can do wonders for the Windies. He scored 67 runs in the 1st ODI before being run out, and while it was a relatively slow innings, isn't that what is needed sometimes to anchor the side. In my opinion it is a sign of early maturity with responsibility.
I wish I could do something within the Windies team, maybe a motivational speaker, who knows.
Anyway, besides the reality that it is a bit of a wait until the Baggy Green pick things up again - they're enjoying a well deserved break - some of the Aussie players are currently at the IPL, making a quick buck and playing carefree Twenty20 cricket for their franchises.
It's no wonder some of the players can perform with such epic aggression, particularly come the batting. It's because the money is in the bank, the pressure of contesting in the true contests of International cricket is at a distance and the players can swing with the motivation being a generous salary and a simpler level of psychological battles both personally at the crease and what you can offer your team. This isn't to say that the players are not giving it their best shot for their franchise, but it certainly makes sense when you see some of the players piling on the runs.
The IPL also reminds us to appreciate high quality fielding, as for the 7 weeks or so this competition is on, you will not be seeing anything epic for sustainable periods of time.
Nonetheless, it is all about the fun and Brad Hogg's amusing efforts to become a more confident commentator.
STAND OUT BATSMEN:
David "Pitbull" Warner -
5 matches/ 5 innings/ 229 runs/ HS 77/ 45.80 avg/ x3 50s/ 24 (4s) 8 (6s)
Shaun Marsh - Shaun had that solid innings in Hobart but lacks consistency most of the time. Hopefully he can bring the noise to the Green & Gold regularly.
5 matches/ 5 innings/ 179 runs/ HS 95/ 44.75 avg/ x2 50s/ 15 (4s) 9 (6s)
Adam Gilchrist - This is where the IPL is great. Haydos bowed out to focus on his Tele show 'Matthew Hayden's Home Ground' (which is a wonderful show, I will also review his autobiography soon as well) but Gilly still shows us those wild cut shots and menacing drives through the covers...all in the wrists!
5 matches/ 5 innings/ 151 runs/ HS 61/ 30.20 avg/ x1 50/ 19 (4s) 5 (6s)
Mike Hussey - First innings following his 3rd century for the ODI team, Huss scored 83*.
3 matches/ 3 innings/ 132 runs/ HS 83*/ 66.00 avg/ x1 50/ 19 (4s) 1 (6)
STAND OUT BOWLERS:
Shane Warne -
6 matches/ Combination 9-145/ BBI 3-16
Shaun Tait -
3 matches/ Combination 6-91/ BBI 3-22
Douggie Bollinger - Hope to see this man back with the Baggy Green.
2 matches/ Combination 3-48/ BBI 2-30
That's a quick wrap as far as performances at the IPL go.
Any major cricket news to write about that would be good to discuss, keep your eyes open for updates.
The good news is the ICC Cricket World Cup format for 2015 is being reviewed, so hopefully Netherlands and Ireland have a chance to make the cut.
In short, better scheduling that enables momentum is step 1, step 2 is what teams are the best to compete and how can we increase the promising sides' appearances at the elite level.
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