The 2009 T20 World Cup - quite eventful
won the women's and men's T20 World Cup titles.
Both teams played excellently throughout the tournament, and really peaked when it mattered - in the semi and the final. The England women's team was unbeaten in the tournament (and in fact set a record for the highest successful chase in Women's T20 internationals
) while Pakistan's men lost 2 games (against England [men] & Sri Lanka). While Sri Lanka seemed to have run short of motivation yesterday, Pakistan's short-pitched bowling ploy early on was wonderfully executed.
It is so ironic that players from the current World T20 championship winning team will not be part of
the Champions Twenty20 League
. Oh, have you ever seen a more 'broken' official site?
Aside from Australia's early journey to Leicester
, the other stories that captured everyone's attention were (in no specific order):
- India's exit at the Super Eight stage following losses to England (!!!) and West Indies. As is usual, multiple theories started doing the rounds, such as player fatigue, infighting, lack of skills and overly focussed on ad-shoots, to name a few. The truth, as usual, probably lies in-between everything else.
Fatigue is an ever-present reality in modern sport, especially when new forms of the game keep getting invented and commercialized. Players are supposed to know when their minds and bodies can't take it any longer. If India's players want a break, they always have the option of opting out, preferably an entire series/tournament so that there's some stability in the squad. If they believed that the IPL was far too lucrative to miss out on, then they could have opted out from the ODIs in Sri Lanka or the games in New Zealand. They could have also opted out of the upcoming [pointless] ODIs in West Indies.
The fact that they chose to not do any of the above indicates one of three things:
- They are not fatigued
- They are fatigued but fear that they'll lose their place to someone who steps in while they're away
- They are fatigued but are in a 'will play for money' mode
Last May, when Pieter$en revealed that he was almost certainly signing up for an IPL team a few months after complaining about burnout, I wrote
My take on there being too much cricket is that players always have the option of opting out of series. Typically the only players you'll see complaining about too much cricket are those that play the most often, and hence are the 'star' players. Surely they've performed well enough to risk skipping a game or a series and not face a piquant situation where they won't be included next time around. Also, if a sufficiently large number of players keep opting out of tournaments, cricket administrators will realize that they may be doing a lot of damage to the golden geese.Gary Kirsten, India's coach, had already voiced his
excuse warning prior to the tournament that fatigue would be India's biggest challenge.
He was only partly right. I don't think India failed to make it to the semi-finals because of fatigue. They failed to make it to the semis because they couldn't cope with West Indies and England using the short ball to great effect. They had no plan-B. They failed to make it to the semis because the batting order bizarrely got revamped. In 'easy' games against Bangladesh and Ireland, Dhoni came in at #3. But when it was time to face the music, Raina was sent in. Where's the leadership?
- If its Pakistan in England, there must be some dark arts involved. Vettori's "informal approach" to the match officials (the umpires and the match referee, presumably) and his post-match interview comments after New Zealand got their arse whipped by Pakistan were totally unwarranted. Umpires, especially those standing in Pakistan games, will undoubtedly be examining the ball far more closely after the events at The Oval in August 2006.
- Messrs. Duckworth & Lewis made an entry during this tournament after West Indies were set a ridiculously easy target of 80 from 9 overs, with the luxury of all 11 batsmen available to have a hit, against England. Frank Duckworth, who along with Tony Lewis, devised the system, has revealed plans to rework the numbers by incorporating Twenty20's duration and far more frenetic pace.
I'd really love the rules to be changed to allow only 6 players to bat and allow a maximum of 6 overs per bowler. I really don't see the possibility of this happening (because of the stupid sanctity around 11 players making up a cricket team). So I'll probably settle for the D/L method tweak restricting the [additional] number of wickets that can be lost by the chasing team. Just compare a team knowing at the start of the innings that it has 10 wickets in hand to chase down 80 in 9 overs with the team knowing it only has [say] 6 wickets to play with.
Labels: ball tampering, burnout, duckworth-lewis method, england, fatigue, india, pakistan, sri lanka, twenty20, twenty20 world cup, vettori, women