I had written briefly about the general apathy in England for the IPL. I read recently in Cricinfo in their quotes section, the following:
“Some of the four overseas players aren’t the best, you may have two top-class Indian players, the rest are rubbish.”
The quote was attributed to the ever forthcoming, Mr. Bob Willis, the former England player and now, a commentator. I had seen quite a bit of lip from a lot of columnists and talking heads from England about how the IPL is aggrandized and is ruining Cricket. This is the first I heard someone go after the quality of players in IPL.
By Bob’s estimation, a team has about 3-4 good players and the rest are just there to make the requisite 11. I completely disagree with it. Let’s look at the team that finished at the bottom of the table, Kings XI Punjab. Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Ravi Bopara, Yuvraj Singh, Piyush Chawla easily come to mind as some of their better players. Let’s look at the Kolkata Knight Riders. Ganguly, Bond, Gayle, Pujara, McCullum will definitely come under the banner of really good players and Manoj Tiwary and Murali Kartik are not that far behind. These are just the names from teams that did not qualify for the semifinals.
By that yardstick Mr. Willis, wouldn’t pretty much ALL the English county teams be termed rubbish? Let alone the county teams, how about the England Cricket team? I am sure he considers Ian Bell the best player to ever pick a bat and Jimmy Anderson the greatest exponent of swing bowling. Hey Bob, we have an inconsistent swing bowler in India too and his name is Sreesanth!
Willis’ attitude is typical of English cricket observers who have the blinders on and have a self-righteous attitude towards what they define as “proper” cricketer. It makes me absolutely sick – this attitude. Instead of taking potshots at the IPL and its players at every given opportunity, why don’t people like Bob Willis just loosen up a little bit and get off their high horses, and enjoy the spectacle that’s the IPL?