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The good, bad and ugly side of Twenty20 cricket

While the DY Patil event witnessed several good displays, some players put self before team, writes Balvinder Singh Sandhu

I enjoyed watching the 10th Dr DY Patil T20 cricket tournament at the DY Patil Stadium in Nerul over the last few days. Along with the facilities provided, the running of the tournament has been excellent — so smooth as if it’s on auto pilot! All credit to the team in charge of the event.

Super Shoaib:  DY Patil 'A' batsman Shoaib Shaikh celebrates his century against ONGC on Tuesday. Pics/Sandeep Pangerkar
Super Shoaib: DY Patil 'A' batsman Shoaib Shaikh celebrates his century against ONGC on Tuesday. Pic/Sandeep Pangerkar 

The quality of T20 cricket is at par, if not better than what is seen in domestic cricket. On Tuesday, Unmukt Chand and Tanmay Srivastava, playing for ONGC, stroked their way all around the ground to help their team score 207-7 in 20 overs from where they could lose only if they bowled or fielded badly.

But DY Patil ‘A’ batsmen Shoaib Shaikh (111 not out) and Yogesh Takawale (56) showed that even good bowling and decent fielding could not stop their onslaught. Takawale played matured, sensible, attacking cricket and was out off the first bad shot he played.

Most impressive was Shoaib’s range of strokes. He was well balanced both on the front and back foot, had control over strokes in front and square of the wicket. The lofted shot went a long way over the top, proving that good balance leads to control and the ball can be hit with power, a basic that young batsmen can inculcate in their game.

No selectors
Unfortunately, the Mumbai selectors were not present to witness his innings. Can’t fault them because they are unsure of their position. The bowlers are aware that T20 is a batters’ game — right from the rules to the flat pitches.

To succeed, bowlers have to adapt quickly, learn to bowl with deception, accuracy, have control over variations, use the bowling crease to create the angles and stay mentally relaxed to read the match
situation.

Apart from the big-hitting, I also saw a few hawkeyed recruiting agents watching the proceedings, ready to pounce on new talent to recommend to Indian Premier League franchises. Their presence is adding more pressure on the players to do well and get shortlisted for an IPL assignment.

There were many tense faces who failed despite having the potential as their focus seemed to be on the lucrative future instead of the job on hand. I also saw the selfish side of the game where importance was given to personal glory more than the team’s cause.

Some individuals failed to understand that sharing success and failure with their teammates is the characteristic of a good team man. Maybe, I am from the old school of thought. But then, cricket is still a game.

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