April 12, 2013
The 2013 IPL is now in full swing and the world is compelled to sit up and watch. Royal Challengers Bangalore, with three wins, carry all before them. They are closely followed by Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and, in their debut season, Sunrisers Hyderabad, each with only one loss so far. RCB’s Virat Kohli, thriving on leadership responsibilities, is the current wearer of the orange cap having scored the most runs. Other leading players from RCB include Chris Gayle, arguably the leading batsman in world T20 cricket, who has struck the most sixes and Vinay Kumar, proud wearer of the purple cap as the tournament’s leading wicket taker. At other end of the scale, Delhi Daredevils, missing Kevin Pietersen, are still searching for their first point.
In the announcing its provisional squad for the forthcoming ICC Trophy in England in June, India has finally cut links with the past. Veterans Virenda Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan are notable omissions from the squad and must now surely feel that their international careers are over.
The 2013 Wisden Almanack, the cricketer’s bible, was published this week. Celebrating its 150th anniversary in this digital age of instant comment and statistics, the more considered perspective provided by Wisden is especially welcome. Particular highlights in this special edition are essays on Kevin Pietersen’s travails in 2012, the 150th anniversary of Yorkshire Cricket Club and a single frightening spell of bowling by Aussie legend Jeff Thomson. Steve Davies, the Surrey and England wicketkeeper, writes on coming out as gay in professional sport, Barney Ronay bemoans the retirement of a prolific county run scorer, Mark Ramprakash, and Mike Selvey pays tribute to friend and fellow journalist, Christopher Martin-Jenkins. Wisden’s five cricketers of the year for 2012 are Jacques Kallis, Hashim Amla and Dale Steyn (these reflect South Africa’s domination of world cricket), Marlon Samuels (highly successful in all forms of the game) and Nick Compton (who had a prolific year in English county cricket in 2012). Michael Clarke, an uncontroversial choice, was named as Wisden’s player of the year.
Early April it may be, but the English county cricket season is up and running. Remarkably, all eight opening fixtures managed to start on time. As captains walked out to toss up, one has visions of groundsmen up and down the country frantically clearing any remaining snow off the outfields. Stand-out performances in the first series of as yet uncompleted matches have been centuries from James Vince, Dan Housego and Hamish Marshall and six wicket hauls from Toby Roland-Jones, Chris Jordan and Chris Rushworth.
The Scoop 12/04/13