Straight into the IPL merry-go-round
Greetings from India, after a rather hectic first week of IPL 2012. AlbieMorkel and myself flew the day after helping the Titans win the MiWay T20 Challenge in South Africa, and just two days later we were taking on the Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the tournament, with both of us in the starting line-up!
So, not much time to take it all in, and it’s pretty much been: practice, travel, play, travel, practice, travel, play etc. That means there's very little to report on, in terms of activities off the field. But, we did manage to get to the pre-tournament function the night before the first game.
Katy Perry was the star attraction and it was great to see her perform live. There were also plenty of Bollywood stars, including Shilpa Shetty, who has a stake in the Rajasthan Royals. Nice to rub shoulders with them.
In terms of the actual cricket, I’m really chuffed to have been given a chance to open the batting for the Chennai Super Kings. With the team having so many fantastic players, there aren’t many batting spots available, with the likes of Vijay, Raina, Badrinath, Jadeja, Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo, all occupying places. So, with Mike Hussey unavailable at the moment, the only spot available was at the top of the order with Murali Vijay, and I jumped at the opportunity. I’d bat anywhere just to get a chance, and it’s great to be in the starting line-up, even though it’s the first time I’ve opened the batting. It’s completely new to me, but now I’m starting to get used to it.
Just looking at the first three games – I got 3 against the Mumbai Indians, 39 from 25 balls against the Deccan Chargers, and 15 from 12 balls against the Delhi Daredevils. In that first innings I was run out, and it was my first bit of exposure to just how loud the crowds are in India, and how it can affect running between the wickets. I just didn’t hear Murali’s call, and I’ve quickly realised that you have to rely just as much on body language, as well as the actual calling, when running between the wickets. I think you’ll see more run-outs in the IPL – in fact, we had four against the Daredevils, which obviously is something we’d like to forget.
What is nice about the IPL is that even if you have a bad game, there isn’t much time to dwell on it, before you’re into the next game, where you have the chance to make up for it. I’m enjoying the intensity of the cricket and the quick turnarounds.
I guess it must have looked quite amusing when our scorecard against the Daredevils read: “Du Plessis c Van der Merwe b Morkel 15”. That’s pretty much a South African dismissal, never mind the fact that we all come from the same South African franchise!
It was actually a pity, because, after getting 39 against the Chargers, I was feeling really good against the Daredevils. I hit a couple of boundaries, but then Morne got one to just go away from me a bit, and the ball caught the outside half of the bat, looping to cover. I asked him afterwards where that away-swing came from, because he usually just bowls straight, with plenty of bounce! But, I don’t mind getting out to Morne, particularly when he’s bowling well, so it wasn’t too bad.
Now we’re focusing on improving our win-loss ratio, because this tournament can quickly get away from you. I’ll be in touch next week – hopefully with some good results to report on, and some runs in the bank.