The ICC World Twenty Twenty has picked up in the last week or so with some terrific games and finishes. India beat their arch rivals Pakistan, who in turn beat Australia by a huge margin which meant that India also had to defeat South Africa by a similar margin, if they were to qualify for the semi finals.
They were unable to do so and so for the third consecutive World Twenty Twenty they went out of the competition at the super eight stage itself. The silver lining was that this time they won two games at that stage when in the earlier editions they had not won even a single game.
Still it was disappointing that a team that probably has players with the most experience of playing in the ultra short format is not able to use that experience to enter the knockout stage of the event after their memorable win in the very first edition of the tournament.
Out of the four semifinalists, only the Pakistan team did not have players currently in the IPL, but all other teams have number of players who are playing for various franchises and who have used that experience to extremely good effect.
One of the players who benefited from the IPL is Shane Watson, who till that first IPL in 2008 was struggling for a place in the Australian team. He was invariably injured and when it came to performing in crunch games he just wasn’t able to do so.
The six weeks that he spent in the company of stalwarts like Shane Warne, Graeme Smith during that first IPL turned his approach and attitude so much that he went on to cement a place for himself in the Australian team and is now their most reliable and consistent player. His powerful stroke making at the start of the innings and his knack of picking wickets make him along with Jacques Kallis, one of the top all-rounders in the game.
Mahela Jayawardene won the man of the match award for his fluent innings in the semi finals against Pakistan, when all others were struggling to get the ball away. He also led his team extremely shrewdly while defending a smallish total and now Sri Lanka are in the fourth finals in the last decade of the ICC tournaments.
They will be hoping that they will be able to do what India did last year in the World Cup when they won and gave their supporters so much joy. They won't find it easy though for T20 games turn around in a matter of deliveries and there can be no relaxing of the guard.
That only one Indian, Suresh Raina figures in the top five contenders of the accolade for this week tells you why the Indian team did not do as well as expected. The New Zealand and Pakistan skippers are the others in the top five, but they too did not do enough to get their teams all the way.
So it is Shane Watson with his all-round feats including tumbling catches who is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group