3 days in and the IPL is as boring as what you do in the ad break.

None of the 5 games have even come close to being a thriller.

The commentary is so over the top and predictable – there is only so many DLF maximums and Citi moments of success that you can put up with.

Does Ravi Shashthri really have to yell into his mic every time the toss is on?

And who picked the colors for the highest run scorer and wicket taker caps?

More importantly what happens when a player, lets say Hayden, looses his cap to, lets say Dravid, in an ongoing match. Does he hand it over to him mid game?

What if the highest run scorer and wicket taker are the same person, does he wear his 2 caps ? Maybe like Sherlock homes with that deer hunter type thingys?

Why are all the high profile batsmen getting out to first ballers ? I’m not complaining but Jesse Ryder, KP and Ross Taylor -‘One of the best batsmen in this form of the game, he is so dangerous’- according to Danny Morrison.  1 run in 2 games is deadly alright. For his team.

The best Citi moment of success so far as to be  the look on KPs face after Murali cleaned him up. Giving whole new meaning to adding another ‘0’ to the his figures.

Spinners making a comeback? Ah-huh. Kumble, Warne, Murali, Vetorri, Harbajan have been brilliant in this IPL. Murali’s spell last night was way cool. The ball to Uttapah orgasmic.

Other than that the games lack the oomph of last year. No crazy 100s or finishes that make you wet your couch.  Yet.

anil kumble bangalore royal challenger chennai super kings deccan chargers delhi daredevils dravid hayden ipl jesse ryder kevin peitersen kings xi punjab kolkata knight riders mumbai indians murali rajastan royals shane warne vetorri

Kumble had bowled 6 overs on the fourth morning without taking a wicket. Pakistan had been set an improbable 420 to win and only needed a draw to secure the series. At 101 for no loss they were well on their way.

After lunch Anil Kumble bowled 20.3 overs from the Pavillion End and ended up taking all 10 for 47. When Saeed Anwar went, Pakistan had collapsed to 128-6.

“That’s when I thought all ten was possible for the first time” said Kumble afterwards.

Kumble was carried off the field by his team mates as the crowd rejoiced. “We had won, was my first reaction.

No one dream of taking 10 wickets because you cant.”

Wisden, on undoubtedly Anils greatest day on the cricket field.

Anil Kumble was a complicated yet simple man. He was a cricketing intellectual. In 1990 he arrived, bespectacled, armed with an Mechanical Engineering degree and a deep mind.

Perhaps it was this background that led him to take up arguably the most intellectually challenging of all bowling forms.

Perhaps it was his methodical mind that influenced the very nature of how he bowled. It bred on patience and accuracy. Rinse and repeat.

He was a nerd, but a cool nerd who played cricket and was fucking good at it.

He was a leg spinner, but not quite.

He dint flight the ball, he dint drift the ball.

Hell 90% of the time he dint even spin the ball. Yet he ended up with a colossal amount of wickets.

Captained India.

And leaves the game as one the most respected to have ever played it.

During the mid 90s, leg spin was well and truly alive. While Warne and Mushy were spinning their into the history books, Anil just went about his business.

Day in day out.

Bowling line and length, getting it to nip a just that tad, which is all you ever need to get a wicket.

His longevity was underlined by the fact that he outlasted both Warne and Mushy in the end.

Anil was a giant of a man. He was the very definition of playing for your team. Never hunting personal accolades, whether he batted or bowled his commitment to India was unwavering.

If you asked him to he would bowl till his arm came off. Which he did.

Which is why he leaves us now see. He cant bowl anymore. If he could he would. Age caught up with him in the end. And that was the only way anyone was ever going to stop Anil.

His way or no way.

To me personally, Anils retirement does not only end a great cricketing career for India but it also closes a great chapter in crickets history. The last of the 3 great leg spinners of the modern era have performed their last trick.

There will be no encore.

There will be no one last hurrah.

Unless you count the IPL. (Which I’m sure you don’t)

Cricket will miss you Anil.

India will miss you.

I know I will.

anil kumble

It might not win them the race but they are getting close to the finish line.

And in this match the finish line is a draw, a beer and a sigh of relief.

Their first job was to get past the follow on and they have done that, the second ought to be to get as close to the Indians as possible because this match is not over by any means.

If the Aussies get bowled out in about an hour or so after lunch with maybe a 100 runs behind there might still be a chance for some late drama on the last day.

Good drama for India, bad for Australia.

Micheal Clarkes playing a very gritty innings, a good mixture of caution and attack.

White needs to hang in there after tea to help him out.

Meanwhile, Anils managed to get a wicket after an entire millenia.

Oh yea baby…Uh-huh!

anil kumble border gavaskar 2008 cameron white micheal clarke

With Anil Kumbles career nose diving further than the stock market these days, it brings to an end a great era in modern day cricket.

For most of the mid 90’s Kumble, Mushy and Warne mesmerised, tricked and spun their way to countless number of wickets.

Each had varying styles which made it an incredible spectacle for the watcher.So with Kumble’s career ending it closes the chapter on the great leg spinners of the modern game.

Cricket needs spinners. Because they are rare.

Good ones are even more rare.

And Great leg spinners are those once in a life time types. So the cricket community have been incredibly lucky that we have had 3 of the greatest in the span of a decade.

As UncleJ rambles on, leg spinners are cool. They make cricket make more interesting. They tend to capture the imagination of the people watching it. They get you fixed to the tele to see what will come out of their hand next.

And don’t deny it. Everyone loves to see a batsmen looking like their shat their pants when they don’t read the googly and gets castled (Ricky Ponting v Chawla).

Or when they get bowled around the legs in the last over the day (Basit Ali v Warne).

The worrying factor now is though that since 1992, when Warne made his debut, we are yet to find a leggie of the same class. Many have come and gone but none have shown the class of the big 3.

The closest to the mantle was another Aussie in StuartMcgill. But he put an end to his chances when he consumed too many Bigmacs and drank too much wine when he got side lined by Warnes greatness.

Since there there have been many young upstarts. We’ve heard about Nice Bryce Mcgain, many times (too many times if you count Jrods antics!), but yet to see him at the highest level.

Sri Lanka themselves have tried to blood in a leggie and failed miserably. Malinga Bandara, Kaushal Lokuarrachhi lack the class.

The best bet right now is Amit Mishra and Piyush Chawla. Both have great potential and Mishra showed he has the class to keep the Aussies and young Chawla at bay while holding his own.

Personally I’m backing Mishra, he’s cool. Seems like hes ready to get down and dirty.
Has potential to get the crazy-eyes if the time comes and did I mention he bowls well.

So there is some hope.

The world needs a leg spinning hero.

Someone we can always count on to make the batsmen look like utter fools

Someone who make batsmen wet their beds at night dreaming about picking them the next day.

Someone our kids can tell their grand kids about.

amit mishra anil kumble chawla kaushal lokuarracchi malinga bandara mushtaq ahmed shane warne

The first test promised much but delivered very little. The first 4 days dragged on without too much happening until Pricky made a generous declaration. In the end rain made sure that the affair ended in a dull draw.

So we look ahead to Mohali now.

Which isnt really known for its result oriented pitches. Teams batting first generally tend to do OK. But the 2nd and 3rd innings have proved to be the most profitable for the batsmen.

Batting
Australia-Polishing off the edges

Ponting and Hussey stole the show and Bagaloroo, what the hell is up with that anyway, We predicted a lean series for Pricky but he proves us wrong. Top effort. Still might be troubled if the spinners get their act together. Hussey just looks like hes on another plane altogether at the moment.

Clarke owes some runs to the team. I expect him to make a significant contribution in this game.
Watson and White did enough to keep their place. Hayden might need to make some runs to secure his place in the team. But the question is will Australia consider dropping him if he fails again? Jaques is breathing down his neck and is a very good replacement.

India-Relying on the openers.
All it takes is one innings from Sehwag and everyones predictions go out the window. He is due.
Gotham City Gambir played a solid hand but must convert his starts into considerable scores to make Ponting sweat.

The fab4 came to the rescue in the last innings but still look dodgy. Another false start in the first innings might leave India reeling.

Bowling
Australia– Team effort.
They bowled well as a unit , without exceeding at an individual level. Stuey needs to put up a better show in the wickets coloumn and Lee needs to make better use of the new ball for early break throughs. Watson, White and Clarke all will chip in with handy wickets. But you wonder when the lack of a quality spinner will finally tell on the Aussies.

India– Relying on the quicks.
Zaheer bowled superbly to put the Aussies under pressure. A repeat performance is expected. Sharma will be expected to deliver some early wickets as well. The biggest issue for India right now is the fitness of Kumble.

If he is unfit who do they go for? 3 quicks and Bajji?
Or bringing in Chawla?

Tough decisions. Personally Id back Chawla. He bowled well in the warm up game. Had the Aussies in trouble more often than not.

Captaincy
India is facing a huge dilemma at the moment. Whether to go with Dhoni or Kumble. An hour and half under Dhoni revealed a lot more about than Kumbles leadership than it did Dhonis. The players seem to respond to Dhoni more. He seems at ease with the job. He has his players respect and is Ian Chappels man for the job.

If Kumble is unfit, then Dhoni must be given the reins. If so then another issue arrises when Kumble is fit for the 3rd. If Dhoni does well the the problem is compounded.

I predicted the end of the road for Kumble after this series. It might not even go that far for him.

Verdict:Im going to go out on a limb and say an Aussie victory. They seem the more assured team. Their key players are firing. The captaincy is in safe hands and seem the team that can push on for a victory when the opportunity presents.

anil kumble australia border gambir gavaskar harbajan hayden india micheal clarke ms dhoni ponting sehwag stuart clark