IPL-2 shows class is permanent, form is so IPL-1

B.S. NAGARAJ writes: Scoring 66 runs off 48 balls in difficult conditions is no mean feat, especially when you have a well-earned reputation of being one of the greatest Test match batsmen of all time.

No one, therefore, can deny Rahul Dravid‘s contribution to the Bangalore Royal Challengers’ win over Rajasthan Royals yesterday in the second match of the second edition of the Indian Premier League.

Yet, spare a thought for Anil Kumble.

Five wickets for five runs in three overs with a maiden to boot. Yes, 3.1-1-5-5. Still, “Jam” gets the sweet bread when the time comes to hand out the Man of the Match prize, and “Jumbo” has to stand grazing on the lawns.

In any form of cricket, a five-wicket haul is considered the equivalent of a century. In a 20-over format, a fiver is even more valuable than a 100 by a batsman. But when it comes to bowlers’ achievements, recognition in the form of awards doesn’t come easy in a television age that celebrates slam-bang.

Not only from cricket administrators but even from the media.

The front page of today’s Hindustan Times (Delhi edition) has a picture of Sachin Tendulkar but Kumble finds mention only in the last paragraph of the match report in the sports page and his performance is dismissed thus:

“Surprise of surprises, veteran Anil Kumble saved the best for last ending with a five-wicket haul (sic).”

Wonder what the surprise is about, when the leggie has scalped 600 plus scalps in Test cricket alone.

When the awards were given away, Kumble was not even given the privilege of a mention by the emcee and one-time spinner, Ravi Shastri.

No award for best bowler.

On the other hand, there was a prize for most sixes! Not one of the four batsmen who hit the ball out of the ground did so more than once, but all four got a mention and a cash award of one lakh rupees.

Rahul was one of them but he looked clearly embarrassed and didn’t walk up to receive the honour.

In the context of his 10-wicket haul at the Ferozeshah Kotla, which a certain interviewer felt was the equivalent of 500 runs by a batsman, Anil had remarked: “But then this is a batsman’s game, isn’t it? But what people don’t realise is that you need to take 20 wickets to win a game.”

Incidentally, it was a joy to watch Shane Warne, also retired from Test cricket like Anil, mesmerising his hapless opponents with a fantastic exhibition of leg spin in the same match.

On the evidence of the first day of IPL-2, it is clear that class is permanent, form is IPL-1.