The last few days have been crazy. The whole cricketing world has gone bonkers like never seen before ever since the much anticipated pink-ball Test has been played in Ahmedabad. So without wasting much time, let us present to you the latest edition of our weekly segment - Overreaction Monday.
Michael Vaughan feels ICC are letting India get away due to their power
Former English skipper opined that ICC have bowed down to powerful countries like India after the much debated third Test pitch and are allowing them to do anything even if it hurts Test cricket.
SC Take: One has to admit that, no one, literally no one, has the ability to sensationalize things as much as Michael Vaughan and Shoaib Akhtar do. If mixing up things is an art, then Vaughan is a master of it. Even the world famous and most loved cocktail makers should take a cue from the former English skipper. Or else how can there be an equivalence between BCCI's financial power and the pitches made in India? Each and every country has the right to prepare pitches as they wish to. Even Bangladesh dished out rank turners against England in 2016 and they aren't a rich or a powerful board, by any stretch of imagination. Also, the ICC’s assessment of the pitch will be out after the fourth Test is over. So, why make such preemptive opinions beforehand as to what the ICC would do? There is a difference between a foreteller and a cricket pundit.
And in the past, there have been instances when the ICC has taken strong stands against India in terms of the pitches. So, all these claims by Michael Vaughan fall flat. Few examples being - the Nagpur pitch vs South Africa in 2015 and the Pune pitch vs Australia in 2017, both were rated 'poor' by the ICC while the Bangalore pitch vs Australia in 2017 was rated as 'below average'. So, there is a clear cut case of jumping the gun too soon and comparing unrelated things by the English expert.
Yuvraj Singh's big claim
World Cup-winner Yuvraj Singh tweeted that had Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh played in Ahmedabad like wickets, they would have taken 1,000 and 800 wickets respectively.
SC Take: First things first, Anil Kumble ended his Test career with 619 wickets while Harbhajan Singh has taken 417 wickets. Now, how many wickets have India produced like the Ahmedabad one in the Ravichandran Ashwin era? Hardly a few similar surfaces have been prepared in the last decade or so, and they are so less that they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. It is hilarious and some exaggeration to claim that by playing five-six Tests on such surfaces someone like Kumble could have taken 381 more wickets in his career or Harbhajan could have scalped 383 more wickets than he did. Also, it's a wrong generalization to say that Ahmedabad like wickets are the norm in India since there have been a lot of flat surfaces dished out in India in the last few years. In fact, two years ago, Michael Vaughan had tweeted, "Test Match Cricket pitches in India are boring ... The first 3/4 days the contest is far too in favour of the Bat ... needs more action for the bowler ... My thought of the day".
Also, rank turners don't quite guarantee wickets. Do all batsmen score runs every time a flat wicket is dished? No. For example, both Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble were part of the Indian side when they played a Test on a dust bowl in Mumbai against Australia in 2004 but they could merely take five and six wickets respectively in the game. In 2015, on a rank turner in Galle, Harbhajan finished with just a wicket in the game. So, quite basically, Yuvraj Singh's fantasy world claims were definitely an exaggeration and didn’t make much sense.
Dale Steyn blasting Simon Doull indirectly
During one of the PSL games, talking about Steyn's hair, Simon Doull had quipped in a fun banter with his co-commentator, “He's having a mid-life crisis with that hair.”
SC Take: First of all, let's see how Steyn replied. He tweeted, “If your job is to talk about the game, then do that. But if you use that airtime to abuse anyone for their weight, sexual choices, ethnic backgrounds, lifestyle etc or even hairstyles, then I am afraid I have no time for you as a human. You and anyone else like that to be fair.”
In all fairness, when you read both the statements, or if you happen to have seen the video where Doull made the comment about Steyn's hairs, and then read Steyn's strong-worded tweet, it simply seems out of place. What Steyn has tweeted is completely bang on, just that it doesn't correspond to Doull's on-air statement as such. There was no abuse involved here or any attempt to malign or belittle Dale Steyn in the sense he took it. It was a harmless comment, said in the jest of a banter, at most. Also, Simon Doull is one of the respected commentators in the cricket community and Steyn, may be, could have given him the benefit of doubt, as his tweet seems an overreaction. There is a lot of flak that Steyn has copped for his unimpressive PSL performances. So, as a sportsperson, it's difficult to understand the intention of a given person, at times. That might have been the case with the Proteas quick as well. But his tweet does seem misdirected and uncalled for.
Trolls targeting Aaron Finch for his form
Online trolls have gone bonkers and want the Aussie T20I skipper to be dropped from the side after his failures in the first two T20Is against New Zealand.
SC take: Aaron Finch is the skipper of the Australia's limited-over side and one of the most established white-ball players in the world. Few failures here and there in T20Is, no contract in the IPL, an average BBL, won't challenge his status-quo given what he has achieved as a player and the value he brings, be it as a batsman or the captain. Moreover, if you look at it, the right-hander has just failed in the last four T20Is. Before that, he averaged 41.67, 37 and 106 in the T20I series played against England, South Africa and Pakistan respectively with a great strike-rate. In the last three years in T20Is, no one has scored at a better strike-rate (155.19) than Finch in the list of top-ten run-getters.
And Finch is a no stranger to coming back to form from slumps and it won't be a surprise if he does so shortly. Australia pretty well recognize the value he brings to the side, and he was even backed by the selector George Bailey, on Sunday, to lead Australia in the T20 World Cup this year in India. Not only, does he have a terrific average of 36.64 and a strike-rate of 153.22 in T20Is, but he's one of the best players of spin in the country and will be key to the side's success in India. We've seen it in the past how Finch the IPL and BBL batsman and Finch the Australian batsman are completely different entities, so perhaps a bit of patience is all that's reqiuired right now. Remember how he turned his fortunes around prior to the 2019 World Cup? Yeah?