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Overreaction Monday ft. Finch’s ‘baffling’ omission, Pujara the T20 GOAT and Shaw is back

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Overreaction Monday - Feb 22 edition

SportsCafe

Overreaction Monday ft. Finch’s ‘baffling’ omission, Pujara the T20 GOAT and Shaw is back

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Anirudh Suresh

02/22/2021

It is a bad day to be a Tennis fan who does not really fancy Djokovic, but given today is Monday, I suppose it is fair to say that today is a bad day to just...well...exist. But life has to go on and so we are left with no choice but to present the world Overreaction Monday: Feb 22 edition.

How dare you, IPL franchises? How dare you not buy Aaron Finch?

Former Australian skipper Michael Clarke is flabbergasted that Aaron Finch went unsold in the IPL auction and believes the Victorian is still among the best top-order batsmen in the world.

SC Take: “I can’t believe this. The Australian Twenty20 captain has not been bought. Don’t tell me Aaron Finch is not good enough to be a part of one of those IPL teams.” Surprise surprise Clarkey, but yes, Aaron Finch indeed is NOT GOOD ENOUGH to be a part of any IPL franchise - at least going by his current form. I mean, come on Michael, are you seriously going to lose sleep over Finch going unsold in an auction in which Jason Roy and Alex Hales - two superior openers - had no takers? Duh. Firstly, Finch’s dreadful IPL 2020 in itself warranted no takers - he averaged 22.33 and struck at 111.20. Secondly, he is a seasoned IPL flop - averages just over 25 and strikes at 127 in his IPL career - and thirdly, he just endured an abomination of a Big Bash in which he averaged 13.76. Who in their right mind would pick an overseas player with so many red flags?

Cheteshwar Pujara is here to ‘grind out’ results for Chennai Super Kings 

Fans and experts believe that Pujara’s ‘grit’ could help CSK outwit opponents on difficult batting wickets in the IPL

SC Take: Before I begin, let me say that I, like the entire cricketing fraternity, from a personal standpoint, am chuffed that Pujara finally managed to get an IPL team - he deserves all the cash that comes his way for the shift he’s put in for the country. But throwing emotions aside, it is important to call a spade a spade. In other words, it is high time that we stop bulls******* and acknowledge that CSK’s purchase of Pujara is terrible and makes no sense. That Pujara’s solidity will be invaluable on square-turners in Chepauk seems to be the go-to justification for his signing, but this argument pretty much ignores the fact that there will be no games played in Chepauk this year. But even in the case of matches being held in Chepauk, it’s not like the venue will dish out raging turners in which batsmen cannot put bat to ball, you know? 5 of the 8 games in Chepauk in IPL 2019 saw teams batting first post a 150+ score. 

Pujara has an IPL career SR of 99.74 and an overall T20 SR of 109.35 - forgetting his reputation, you have to be crazy to think that such numbers warrant an IPL contract. Yeah he might have a T20 ton to his name, but that knock was an anomaly; that doesn’t equate to him being a good T20 batsman, you know? Even Umesh Yadav has scored a first-class ton. Just saying. 

Get Usman Khawaja back in the Australian Test side

On the back of his stunning, match-winning fourth innings ton versus Tasmania, fans and experts have called for the recall of Usman Khawaja, who they feel was axed unfairly.

SC Take: “What are Australia doing? They should have picked Usman Khawaja. Shocking.” was the most popular misinformed opinion during the India series and now, on the back of his ton versus Tasmania, the same cries have grown louder. It is indeed heart-warming to see Uzzie back in the runs, but two things need to be understood - one, that he was axed ‘unfairly’ is a myth and two, he has done nothing to warrant a recall. At least until now. 

Everyone points to Khawaja’s marathon 141 in Dubai but that Test, really, was an outlier. In the absence of Smith and Warner, Khawaja had the opportunity to stand-up and be ‘the man’ but he ultimately failed: across his last 15 Tests he averaged 31.76. He was axed because he averaged 20.33 across the first three Tests of Ashes 2019 without a single fifty-plus score, and yes, axed to accommodate Labuschagne. No complaints there, I suppose?

Coming to what he’s done to ‘warrant’ a recall, Khawaja averaged 18.36 across 7 games in the 2019/20 Shield season. He’s started this season off brilliantly, having already struck two tons in 4 matches, but he needs to sustain this form to make his way back into the team. So while the signs are encouraging, let us not jump the gun and pretend like Khawaja is the unluckiest man in Australia or something. 

Prithvi Shaw is back!

Post his unbeaten 105 versus Delhi on Sunday, fans are positive that Prithvi Shaw has regained his mojo.

SC Take: So, Prithvi Shaw is ready to dominate the world again. A match-winning, unbeaten 105 against a pretty strong Delhi attack - on the back of scores of 0, 0, 7, 10, 9, 0, 0, 19, 40, 3, 0 and 4 - is impressive and it does signal that after four long months, he’s finally found his form and mojo back. How I wish the above statement is true, though. 

While Shaw being back in the runs is encouraging news, let us not get ahead of ourselves here - the point is, he has NEVER found it difficult to bully bowlers on the domestic circuit; not even with that dodgy technique of his. He torched bowlers in SMAT, Vijay Hazare, and Ranji last season too and he is pretty much an invincible commodity on flat wickets back home which rarely test batsmen’s technique. We obviously do not have any footage so it is impossible to know ‘how’ Shaw went about scoring, but all these runs will really count for nothing if he’s not ironed out his technique. Make no mistake, scoring an abundance of runs in domestic cricket is a stellar achievement and it definitely counts for something, but in the case of Shaw, it is perhaps wise to wait before jumping to conclusions. 

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