So Michael Clarke, the Australian skipper, has finally consented to participate in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League. Ever since the IPL began in 2008, it has been used by overseas players not only to fill their coffers but to score brownie points for themselves with the Boards and the media of their countries.
Whenever players have realised that there is little chance of them being picked by any of the franchises, they have resorted to the ploy of saying that they would prefer to rest themselves and keep physically and mentally fresh for their country's international season.
The headlines they get in their country's media are incredible, simply because there is such an envy about the IPL among those who are not involved in it that these people are just waiting for an opportunity to have a go at the tournament. The old powers cannot understand how they missed out on it but even if they had started something similar, the razzmatazz that the IPL has is just not there anywhere else.
I have not been to the Big Bash in Australia but those who have been there and also to the IPL say that there is no comparison and the IPL wins hands down. The T20 event in England is as bland as the food there. That apart, the fees that the IPL gives to the players is way beyond anything that the combined T20 tournaments in the rest of the cricketing world can offer. More columns
No wonder Michael Clarke who is not even in the national and state teams in his country's T20 events has decided to come over after a tour of the West Indies instead of resting up in preparation for Australia's tours to England and Sri Lanka. Now that he has won over the harshest of critics in Australia with his performances this season, he can ill afford to miss the benefits that come with it. Another one bites the bait. After all, yeh IPL hai boss!
In Sri Lanka, the Englishmen are struggling to cope with the turning ball and despite a fine century from South African turned Englishman Jonathan Trott, the home team won with plenty to spare. Mahela Jayawardene scored a brilliant 180 in the first innings and then the other Jayawardene, the wicket keeper got a much needed half-century in the second innings to set a stiff target for the Brits.
What is surprising is the spin twins, Swann and Panesar, have not been able to have the same effect on the Lankan batsmen. More than the line, it's the length they bowl that is the difference between beating the batsman and getting him out. Rangana Herath has bowled the perfect line and length and has had great support from Suraj Randiv and they spun England out.
In New Zealand rain and some resolute batting by that fine prospect Kane Williamson ensured another draw and thwarted South Africa once again. Williamson has had a rough time after his magnificent debut in India but that was expected for the second season is the harder one where the opposition having seen you play has planned and strategised for you.
Herath for his twelve wicket haul that led his team to a win in the first Test is the CEAT International Cricketer of the Week. Professional Management Group