The most powerful team (on paper) in the IPL tournament is languishing at the bottom of the accolades list. What could be the reason the team that boasts of explosive players like Gilchrist, Gibbs, Afridi, Symonds has confirmed its elimination at halfway stage. Are there powerful egos in play? Looking at the very ordinary Rajastan royals at the top of the results, I am very much tempted to say "yes". The difference seems to be that the Royals are playing like a team and the Deccan Chargers are playing like a bunch of individuals tied together by the strings of money. There seems to be no game plan. It looks like everyone was told while being drafted to just wing it. Not even wing it, just do whatever they feel like. Afridi seems intent on keeping up his reputation as a hard hitter. There is no other excuse for a player to try to hit a six of every ball he faces and failing miserably at it. Gibbs has been a damp squib so far. Symonds gives more than he takes in terms of runs. And he again seems to have made up his mind that his captain can only be an Aussie. DC won whenever Gilchrist fired. Laxman has played a captain's innings in the matches he played. Its very unfortunate that the commentators feel that he is struggling in the 20-20 format in spite of scoring at a brisk pace of more than a run a ball. It seems he is not just fighting the opposition but also the steadfast bias of the "experts".
There seems to be a big disconnect between the big guns in the team and the youngsters. I thought IPL is about them, the next generation. The youngsters seem to be in awe of the seniors and international stars and instead of making them rookies feel comfortable, I feel the seniors are promoting the segregation and deference. I do not see the camaraderie and togetherness I see in other teams.
I think the telling factor for the difference in the teams are the leaders. I do not see the kind of gregarious aggressive leadership in the teams languishing at the bottom of the points tables as there are at the top. Am I advocating that kind of leadership? NO! I think the likes of Ganguly, Yuvraj and Shane Warne are too arrogant and too aggressive at times. I cannot but see a pattern. "Mr. Expressionless" Rahul Dravid, "Mr. Cool" (too cool?) Laxman and "Mr. Laidback" Sehwag. Of course, the Mumbai Indians are the rudderless team. With Tendulkar ruled out for the initial matches due to injury, our wayward Harbajan asked to fill some really big shoes and after him, Shaun Pollock. To give Shaun credit, he did lead them out of the doldrums by pulling off a win against the in-form Kolkata Knight Riders. Dhoni seems to be the right mix of aggression, luck and composure. No wonder he is very successful with the Indian team.
Watch out for the match between Deccan Chargers and the Delhi Daredevils today. Will Sehwag and Gambir combo thrash the Charger's bull into submission? Or will be the chargers exorcise the devils. Let us pray and hope its the latter.
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