IPL diary: Mahi masterclass and more

Soon after the fixture against Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad youngsters Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad were introduced to M. S. Dhoni, and the former India captain made sure to gave them a few tips.

(From left) M. S. Dhoni, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem after the Chennai Super Kings-Sunrisers Hyderabad fixture on October 13. When Dhoni made his international debut in 2004, Garg and Sharma were just four years old.   -  Sportzpics / BCCI

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his international debut in 2004, Priyam Garg and Abhishek Sharma were just four years old. Abdul Samad was three. But as they grew up, Dhoni – the captain – has been their source of inspiration. So, when the trio got an opportunity to meet “Dhoni Sir” for a while, they were overjoyed.

Soon after the Chennai Super Kings-Sunrisers Hyderabad fixture at the Dubai International Stadium on October 13, the youngsters from SRH were introduced to Dhoni by Shahbaz Nadeem, the India international who has played with Dhoni for Jharkhand, and the former India captain made sure to gave a few tips to the talented youngsters.

Samad, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, called the meeting an “important lesson,” while his teammates too were thrilled to learn the basics of the game from the superstar. After a long chat, Dhoni even autographed Garg’s jersey.

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Earlier in the tournament, Mumbai youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal was caught on camera as he greeted the India legend with a “namaste.” The small clip and the screengrabs went viral on social media with Jaiswal winning hearts for his gesture. After the game, Jaiswal – who was one of India’s top batsmen at the under-19 World Cup in January-February – also got to interact with Dhoni.

So what if he has retired from international cricket. For any budding cricketer, a meeting with Captain Cool remains a big deal!

Hair you go!

And you thought the Indian Premier League (IPL) was all about the batsmen and the bowlers!

In this edition of the tournament, an umpire too has created a buzz – for his hairstyle.

Meet Paschim Girish Pathak. The 42-year-old is part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) panel of umpires, and as he officiated the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad, his long, flowing hair caught everyone’s eye. As social media went into a frenzy, many started comparing his hairstyle with that of Pakistani singer Taher Shah.

Paschim Pathak is part of the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s panel of umpires, and his long, flowing hair caught everyone’s eye during the match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad.   -  Sportzpics / BCCI

 

However, this is not the first time that Pathak had hogged the limelight. In 2015, he surprised everyone by wearing a helmet while officiating in Vijay Hazare Trophy matches. Back then, the umpire had stated that he wore helmets as a safety measure after watching Australian umpire John Ward being hit on the back of his head while officiating in a Tamil Nadu-Punjab Ranji Trophy match.

A shot by Punjab’s Barinder Sran hit Ward and he had to be rushed to hospital. Pathak was the square-leg umpire in that match, and soon after he decided to wear helmets as “protection gear.”

It has been a while since, but Pathak continues to grab eyeballs.

No takers

When the IPL introduced a mid-season transfer window for the first time in 2018, the idea was to give the teams a chance to fix the loopholes in their squads in the middle of the season. The cash-rich league took a leaf out of football to introduce the transfer window, hoping the franchises would benefit from it.

Ahead of this season, Royal Challengers Bangalore team director Mike Hesson had voiced his support for the mid-season loan transfer of players. “If we need later on, we are certainly open to it,” he had said in a virtual media conference. “We’ve got a small squad and we’ve done that for a reason. If something (injuries) was to occur, we’d certainly look at that.”

But none of the teams opted for it.

“We already have a set playing squad and there is no question of tinkering with that,” one of the franchise bosses says. While most franchises are happy that there is a cushion to trade players in the middle of the season, they are not too sure how feasible it will be to bring in a new set of players. “It is not easy to break the momentum. It is a good move for sure, but we need to come out with a plan in the future,” he says.

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Last year, the IPL opened up a five-day window for players who haven’t represented their country to be loaned mid-season, subject to their not having featured in more than two games in the IPL. This time around, the league has allowed, for the first time, the loan of capped players – both Indian and overseas – if the franchises have injury concerns going into the second half of the season. But that too didn’t find any takers.