Double standards are alive and well. 23 wickets fell in one day in the first Test between hosts South Africa and Australia at Cape Town, but apart from the word 'bizarre', nothing else has been said about the occurrence. Way back in 2004 when Australia scored double the runs in Mumbai than they did in Cape Town, every Tom and his uncle and aunt was screaming blue murder about the pitch.
There will be the usual Indian cricket bashers who will get up and say hey Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla got hundreds and South Africa just lost one more wicket on the third day on the way to winning the game, but similarly Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman had batted superbly the day before Australia's collapse to give India a total that their bowlers led by Murali Kartik defended.
Sure, the ball turned, but there was not one that jumped awkwardly to get a batsman out. In Cape Town the ball was flying about and it was clearly dangerous for the batsmen, yet nary a word about the pitch. Just the one word, bizarre. It will be interesting to see if there will be calls for the pitch to be reported as there were after that Mumbai Test match, but since there is no chance of beating the BCCI, I doubt if it will be.
It will also be interesting to see how many point out about the batsmen running to square leg but of course an Indian batsman has to play a short ball awkwardly and he is branded for life as one who can't play the short stuff. What about playing the turning ball? Nobody gets tarred for not being able to get bat to ball when it is turning. More on this for another column another time.
There is a fair bit of cricket being played around the world so there are many players in the running for this week's accolade. India's new spinners, Ashwin and Ojha, bowled craftily to lead India to a win in the first Test against the West Indies, despite a century by veteran Shiv Chanderpaul in the first innings.
Another experienced spinner, Daniel Vettori, bowled tirelessly to ensure Zimbabwe did not surprise the New Zealanders, which they nearly did thanks to a brilliant century by Brendon Taylor, who has taken his one day form into the Tests as well. Here is a cricketer that is worth a look or two by the IPL franchises. He is an attacking batsman and can keep wickets too, a terrific combination.
Kumar Sangakkara, who does not keep wickets in Tests for Sri Lanka, also continued his great form getting yet another century against the Pakistanis. Incredibly there was rain which is such a rare occurrence in the desert and it delayed play in Sharajah which meant that Pakistan could not be bowled out and they won the series.
The accolade is thus shared and Ashwin, Vettori, Taylor and Sangakkara are the CEAT International Cricketers of the Week.
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