The World Twenty20 is fast upon us and, on Wednesday (February 17), some newspapers in India began to dissect India’s chances in the tournament. Others were still hung up on the Under-19 World Cup and its impact on the players’ careers.
Elsewhere, the Sydney Morning Herald focused on how Brendon McCullum could have been an All Black, while The Telegraph saw James Vince as the answer to Trevor Bayliss’s problems.
Leave the cards on the table, there’s no need to panic (The Hindu)
Sledging that calls into question parentage, fidelity, overeating can be controlled by on-field umpires and the captains if the approach is adult and sensible. It is important to remember that cricket is a hard game played with a hard ball and like any sport, deals in passion. Players sometimes get frustrated, feel hard done by and let off steam. Not all such venting of frustration brings the game into disrepute. Sanjay Manjrekar has a lovely story of Kapil Dev, who never lost his cool, walking up to his bowling mark and screaming into the ground during a Test in the West Indies. It happens.
Red and yellow cards– yet another development that just isn’t cricket (The Guardian)
The MCC, alarmed by all this anecdotal evidence, has decided to try empowering the umpires by providing them with red and yellow cards. It is inviting leagues, schools, and universities to take part in trials this summer. The lesser offences – time-wasting, dissent, excessive appealing, offensive language – will be punished with a warning, followed by a five-run penalty in the second instance. For the more serious ones, there is no warning at all. Anyone who bowls a beamer, intimidates an umpire or threatens another player will be sent off the field for 10 overs. Anyone who commits an assault will be sent off for the remainder of the game.
Why we need the spirit of cricket (Cricinfo)
The resistance to the idea of the spirit of cricket doesn’t come because we’re opposed to this basic concept. It comes because we confuse that idea with issues a bit further downstream. We can, for example, equate believing in the spirit of cricket with believing that blazered fools in egg-and-bacon ties decide what is or isn’t against that spirit. Well, they don’t. It isn’t decided by an appeal to tradition, either, as some people claim. The history of cricket is littered with instances of sharp practice, and if you’re going to say whatever used to be done long ago is in the spirit of cricket, well, bring on match-fixing, contesting umpire’s decisions, tricking batsmen to look into the sun just before facing a delivery, and so on.
Professionalism and pride synonymous with Mumbai (The Hindu)
There is something about these champion sides: the way they go about their business, their desire, their hunger. They are focused, know their worth, seize their chances and are ruthless when on top. And when under duress, they invariably fight back.
Along with New South Wales and Yorkshire, Mumbai has to be among the top domestic sides in the cricketing world. No wonder, it has triumphed an incredible 40 times in the Ranji Trophy, and has a chance to increase that tally this year.
Swashbuckler Suryakumar turns risk-free big match player (The Indian Express)
Suryakumar didn’t do anything spectacular. All he did was, by his own admission was to play “risk-free cricket”. For most part of the innings, he kept the good balls away, and looked intent at constructing a typical Test match innings: dogged and disciplined. However, being a natural stroke player, there would have been the temptation to play his shots. However, a duck in the first innings and the loss of three early wickets in the second, had made him circumspect.
Coaches often miss out on spotting natural talent: Vengsarkar (The Times of India)
“We need coaches who can tell players how to score on seaming tracks, turning racks, fast and bouncy wickets. We need to tell them what shots are required on particular wickets and what are the ways to play those shots. The bottom line is to score runs. How you get the best out of a player is more important than pointing out technical errors.The same applies to bowlers.The basic thing is to get wickets. How do they plan their wickets in different conditions? Everyone can’t be perfect. We need those who can work on minor adjustments to a player’s development rather han changing something that comes naturally.”
Deconstructing the transitional heartache (The Times of India)
Indian cricket is replete with tales of gifted young cricketers fading into oblivion, their spirits broken in trying unsuccessfully to take that giant leap from Under-19 cricket to the senior grade. If the gulf between domestic and international cricket is humongous, then the gap between the junior and senior levels is only slightly less so. That’s why, for every Yuvraj Singh or Virat Kohli who has successfully made the transition from boy to man, tens of tens of others have fallen by the way side. Having lorded junior dressing rooms, they have struggled to come to grips with being just an other member of a senior changing room that already has a superstar or three of its own.
No stepping stone (Mirror)
The ICC U-19 World Cup is pretty much akin to Harry Potter’s Goblet of Fire. Each edition of the championship throws up a few names -prodigies, prolific cricketers for the future. The 2008 championship saw the likes of Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja emerge.In 2012, Unmukt Chand was marked as a precocious talent, one or the future.
On Sunday, another set of teenaged players made the journey from playgrounds, maidans and gullies to donning the India jersey and performing on a world stage. Ishan Kishan and his band of boys appeared invincible until they ran nto a red-hot Windies in the final.
Unburdened by history, a promising West Indies set rises (The Indian Express)
For the West Indies, the Champions Trophy and the 2012 World T20 triumphs have been isolated peaks in a vast, dour landscape of cricketing mediocrity. If such a moment arrives, it’s indeed celebrated, but people can live without it if it doesn’t. They become less emotionally invested, if not numb. Unlike how it used to be when Gill was growing up.
No place like home (The Times of India)
International cricket has seen home sides dominating to a large extent. Not many teams travel well. Besides, the hosts use everything at their disposal to make the most of familiar conditions. Wickets are tailor-made, team composition is just what the doctor orders. Add to that the experience of playing any number of pressure matches in tournaments like the IPL and the Big Bash.
MS Dhoni’s miracle mop at work again (The Indian Express)
Call it champion’s luck or whatever you like, Dhoni has once again managed to iron out the problems ahead of a high-profile tournament. Very few outside the Indian cricket circuit knew Bumrah a month ago but the Gujarat seamer has now become a very vital cog in the team’s wheel. The past failures already seem like a blur after they effected a clean sweep in the T20s in Australia, and came from behind to beat Sri Lanka at home.
Fresh test of seasoned tactician Dhoni’s leadership (Hindustan Times)
For all his achievements in Tests and One-dayers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is every bit Twenty20 cricket’s child. Be it the high of the 2007 World Twenty20 or translating his leadership from nation to club, in the Indian Premier League that was launched in the wake of that South Africa triumph, he has been second to none.
Wonder Women: Team looking its best for upcoming T20 Cup (Deccan Chronicle)
T20 is the new glamour in the cricketing world and it is to be noted that the Indian women had success in the shortest format before the men. So while the Men in Blue, under Virender Sehwag’s captaincy, beat South Africa by six wickets in their first ever T20 outing in December 2006, the Eves, led by Mithali, overcame England by eight wickets in August 2006.
And the Indian women’s team looks sleek for the upcoming ICC World T20 after their maiden T20 series triumph (2-1) against three-time world champion Australia in their own backyard. Success in the mega event could bring in a parallel IPL for women.
How an average batsman seduced the world (Herald Sun)
Always smiling, never complaining, playing to win and accepting the losses that such an attitude throws up, the McCullum creed has been, in many people’s eyes, about restoring the spirit of cricket as much as winning matches.
“Cricket is so insignificant in the grand scheme of life. But yet you still want to try so hard. So it’s about understanding or capturing that element,” he said last year. “If you get out, it’s not the end of the world. But jeez, you can have some fun, if you put your heart and soul into it.”
Brendon McCullum could have been an All Blacks star (Herald Sun)
Brendon McCullum plays cricket like a rugby player.
Big hits, all action and a fearless disregard for his own wellbeing as he clatters into advertising hoardings in a desperate attempt to save a run or two for his team.
Perhaps it’s no surprise then, that the outgoing New Zealand skipper was once a rugby player — and a very good one at that. So good, in fact, that he was picked in front of the great Dan Carter at fly half in the South Island secondary schools team in 2000.
Proud dad to remain a fan (New Zealand Morning Herald)
Stu McCullum was in the stands when his son scored a triple-century, but much more than one individual milestone stands out when reflecting on Brendon’s career with the Black Caps.
With that career coming to an end after the second test against Australia, which starts next Saturday in Christchurch, Stu will again be present to watch Brendon’s last appearance for his country.
The curious case of Neil Wagner (New Zealand Morning Herald)
The bustling Wagner is the dose of aggression to add to what has become a largely passive Black Cap attack. All muscle and thunder, the South African-born left-armer can bowl some utter tripe, whole spells of it at times, but at least he does it with feeling.
It would have been nice to watch him come around the wicket at the Basin, get wide on the crease and bump the bejaysus out of Usman Khawaja and Adam Voges for a spell.
Adam Voges decision highlights clear need for a change to no-ball law (The Guardian)
Umpires have been criticised heavily over the past few years for not calling what might be seen as tight no-balls. The reasons for this though are two-fold. First, particularly and understandably when it comes to white-ball cricket, they tend to stand further back than perhaps in the past, simply to avoid injury from some of the power hitting seen these days. The consequent angle inevitably makes almost impossible judgment in what has now become a factor of millimetres, to a painted line often distorted by bowlers footmarks, and when sometimes the heel is raised anyway. There are occasions too when the bowler’s trailing foot obscures vision.
West Indies’ hopes rest on latest truce (The Independent)
Money and status have been at the root of the perennial disputes between board and players. In late 1998, on the eve of the historic Test tour of South Africa and not so long after West Indies’ great era, several players were holed up for days in a hotel near Heathrow Airport.
They wanted a better deal before making the trip, tired of poor wages and what they perceived as a lack of respect. A deal was eventually cut but they lost the subsequent series 5-0. It has been pretty much downhill all the way since then.
Vince may hold the answers for Bayliss (The Telegraph)
When Trevor Bayliss takes his first look at English county cricket in early May, he has announced – in his quiet yet firm Aussie manner – three things he will be looking for.
The first is “smartness”. Nothing sartorial here, but smartness in the sense of cleverness, and not in any academic sense. He is searching for cricketers with astute cricket brains.
The second requirement that Bayliss wants to see in aspiring England players, whatever the format, is toughness. The ability to perform when the pressure is most intense. The ability that was woefully lacking in England’s batting and fielding as they crumbled from 2-0 up against South Africa to 3-2 down.