Well, it’s been nearly a week and it must be quite surprising to see someone actually writing about it, considering that a large number of us would’ve consigned it to the dustbin which is marked “Yet Another Cricket Series”.
I’m not too happy with the way the Australia India series’ been wedged into the calendar, thereby giving us barely any time to assess what was a very enjoyable tournament, IMO. It’s this which prompted me to wait so long before writing abt the Champs League.
The biggest reason why I really liked the T20CL was the variety of teams on display and some really good talent.
I feel the need to make a confession now. I have always liked to see new players and new teams and have always made it a point to watch matches where some new faces are being showcased. I’m also guilty of praying that the WI First XI wouldn’t show up for at least the 1st test against Bangladesh so that I could see some new faces. However, it was, by no means, pleasant to seem them again and again, especially at the CT.
The Delhi pitch was atrocious, I have to admit. Though I advocate pitches where the balance is tilted in favour of the bowlers, the Delhi pitch was just horrible. I would’ve traded the Delhi matches with one of the matches between Australia and England, to be honest! Of course, how Dave Warner carted the Victorians to all parts of the grounds confounds me.
Let’s have a look at some of the real finds of the tournament.
Rillee Roussouw – Once he hit them, they stayed hit! His clean hitting was a revelation and Boeta Dippenar, the Eagles skipper, betted his mortgage on him playing for SA, so that says something! Bangalore have already snapped him up for the next season, so there’s a fat paycheck for a guy who had a T20 high score of 11 before this tournament!
CJD deVilliers – Now, this guy is serious talent! OK, he got carted against T&T @ Hyderabad, but who didn’t? His ability to bowl two absolute peaches which hit the top of off stump in the Super Over against Sussex clearly shows his temperament. Subsequently, his priceless performance against an admittedly drab Somerset (4-2-17-4) confirmed my opinion of him. BTW, he got me 580 points for my Cricinfo Fantasy Team! 😉
Chanaka Welagedera – OK, it was in Delhi, but he did return with 8-1-42-4 against Delhi and Victoria, which is great for someone who hasn’t really got a proper chance in international cricket. He did play a test against England and bowled really well, but subsequently had problems with his follow-through (he was apparently running onto the danger area) in the nets and was dropped. He’s been picked in the Test squad to tour India, just rewards for a really good bowler.
Kieron Pollard – He hits big….need I say more?
Adrian Barath – Plenty consider him as Brian Lara’s protege, so that should tell you enough. He actually announced himself with a 150+ score against the touring Englishmen in the same match that Lendl Simmons whacked 282.
Sherwin Ganga – Sherwin reminds me of a silent assassin. He didn’t seem to be a chirpy type of person, but a guy who has a serious look on his face and let’s his gun do the talking. He wasn’t really among the wickets, having got a wicket a match, but he kept his cool during the last few matches and gave away under 6 an over. Opened the bowling in the semis and the final, so he’s a guy who could seriously dream about playing for WI (if the selectors shed away their ego about only nurturing fast bowlers).
Moises Henriques – Got a fair bit of fame when he played well in the U-19 WC here in Colombo and played for Kolkata in IPL2, but really proved his worth with some handy medium-fast bowling and some solid middle-order batting. IMO, he did well to even play in the semi-final against Victoria, especially after he bowled a second spell of 1.3-0-43-0 against T&T. Brutalized by Pollard, Katich decided that, for some reason, Henriques deserved to be tortured even further and gave him the second over.
Well, that completes my review of the tournament. I doubt that it would’ve been a commercial success, considering that the 3 IPL teams failed to make it to the semis. If anyone has the TV revenue figures for the semis and the finals, I’d really appreciate it if you could put it in the comments section!