A captain has to imbibe many qualities to become a great leader. He has to have the nerve of a gambler, the patience of a saint and the mind of a psychiatrist. Ashwin, the KXIP captain gave a heart break for Delhi Daredevils team as the Punjab side beat Gautam Gambhir side by just four runs and topped the tables in IPL 11. Ashwin made subtle bowling changes and reserved the last over for the youngster Mujeeb Ur Rahman and the move paid rich dividends in the end. Instead of getting panicky about a moderate score, the side was led astutely to defend a small total with the young bowlers standing up to the challenge. Ashwin himself bowled four overs for 19 runs to control scoring rate in middle overs. In all it was a team effort but full credit goes to the captain to leading from the front and assisting the side to execute a calculated plan. Kudos to the skipper Ashwin!
This year three sides having TN based captains, KXIP, CSK and KKR are all doing well in IPL 11. Karthik carry the tradition of wicket keeper captains doing well at the International level. Again, Dhoni is retired Indian captain and his experience in the shortest form of the game is commendable. Ravichandran Ashwin, a first timer as captain leading KXIP did his best with his limited resources. With five games gone for all the eight teams, KXIP did top the table with 10 points in six matches and it is a resounding success. The next best two sides are CSK and KKR. In all this year, IPL saw many entertaining matches lasting up to the last ball. We are simply missing a “Super Over” finish and that is going to be a reality soon.
Ashwin is an ace bowler and being fully aware about the nuances of T-20 Cricket made a mark with significant success. He was ably assisted by openers Gayle and Lokesh Rahul. The latter is donning the gloves and doing a decent job behind the wickets. With Karun Nair in a good form and he help the score board moving. The present day batsmen have a weakness for leg spin and that is well and truly exploited by the captain himself mixing off and leg spin regularly to show variation in line and length. Pace bowling of the trio Sran, Rajpoot and Tye form the best pace bowling captain to bowl the death overs. But it was young Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who made the ball to talk and got the crucial wickets to give vital break through. How Ashwin used his limited resources is an example for young captains to follow in the days to come.
Sachin Tendulkar is celebrating his 45th birthday and the Mumbai Indians are hoping to get their fortunes changed from here on. Having lost four games and number of them in the last over, the Rohit Sharma-led side is in trouble and trying hard to repair early damages. But the other participating teams are also vying for top honours and play to a play. Mumbai Indians are having plus net run rate and that is only a redeeming factor in a lacklustre performance this year. Mumbai team should look for a spinner of Ashwin’s calibre from next season to avoid early blues in the IPL extravaganza. However, Mumbai hope to end last over blues in the game against SRH.
Krishnappa Gowtham gave the real thrill even though he is not in the class of Gayle or Shane Watson to score a hundred. But his 33 of 11 balls shows his maturity with the bat during the dying moments of the match against Mumbai Indians. IPL 11 is turning into an interesting affair with fringe players making good show as the tournament progresses towards the second stage of the Championship. The final on May 27 will be a cliff hanger and top teams hit form slowly and steadily. At the moment it is Ashwin all the way.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)