Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This made my morning. I'm no Aussie hater and I have a lot of respect for them. But every pre-match sign they gave out spoke of a lack of interest and maybe a sniff of over-confidence. This should get them to "start respecting the game ". They might have been rusty and over-confident but I wonder if they were smart enough.
I grew up in a sizable colony with a lot of kids my age which meant every evening saw an army of us playing cricket. Every now and then we would be chased off the streets by somebody who had enough of us breaking windows or trampling their garden, snooping around the crotons, searching for tennis balls. And we would shift to a new street with a totally new set of dynamics. If the earlier "pitch" was long and narrow, the new one would be short and wide. More often than not, one had to develop new strokes to utilize the spaces in the new "ground" and also shed old ones which no longer fetched optimal returns. The bowlers had to rethink their areas and the lengths they would bowl. More importantly, in the first few matches, the captains never knew where exactly the balls would go to place their fielders and what scores to set if they batted first.
Those first few matches were when you needed to be tactically capable and adapt quickly. It no longer made sense to have a good long-term strategy in place. Rather, a clutch of tactics became strategies for the time-being. It made you streetsmart, literally and metaphorically.
Point is, the T20 promises to be entertaining. Although the format appears to be more swashbuckling than scholarly, what will be interesting is the kind of tactics the teams use when they know that they have a whole new set of simultaneous equations to solve. This is as short-term as short-term can get. Australia have always been strategically strong -- have the best bowlers, fielders and batsmen and play the game hard. But the T20 is like hit-and-run guerilla warfare (although that might be stretching the metaphor too much). Strategic strength might not be as vital as it is in the other forms of the game. Each side has more resources than it can spend. It looks like an interesting couple of weeks.
Sun Tzu would have had a field day, I imagine. As would have Garry Kasparov.