Steyn's way of ticket disbursement

Saina Nehwal is cheering for Deccan Chargersagainst Kings XI Punjab at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.-K.R.DEEPAK

Steyn has come up with a ‘treasure hunt' concept where he leaves clues that lead to the place where tickets have been hidden away. If only he could devise a similarly brilliant plan to end Deccan Chargers' losing streak! By Arun Venugopal.

Captains in this year's IPL have been responsible for some funny situations during the toss (second only to those venerable commentators who, in their attempt to talk up the event, scream themselves hoarse). They have had some embarrassing moments after struggling to recall the changes that have been made to the team. Is the tedium of having to spout the obvious during the pre-toss interview (a farcical act followed by the post-toss chat!) getting to them? Most captains such as Kumar Sangakkara, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, and M. S. Dhoni have been guilty of it.

In the game against Pune Warriors, Rahul Dravid, a repeat offender, couldn't for the life of him remember the name of a spinner who had replaced Pankaj Singh. The ‘mystery' spinner went on to win the game for Rajasthan Royals and, guess what, accomplished the first hat-trick in this season. The gentleman in question, Ajit Chandila, should probably tell his captain filmi ishtyle: Ajit, naam toh suna hi hoga.

Harbhajan's u-turn

Speaking of toss interviews, captains have used them to play mind games as well. The most interesting part has been the seemingly nonchalant manner in which the outcome of the toss is played down. For instance, when a rival captain opts to bat, a common repartee has been: “I would have bowled anyway”.

So it was during the Mumbai Indians-Royal Challengers Bangalore match at the Wankhede Stadium recently. Virat Kohli had won the toss and inserted the opponent. When Harbhajan Singh was asked what he would have done, he replied without batting an eyelid: “We would have batted anyway.”

At the end of the match, one in which Mumbai had struggled to score and ended up losing, Harbhajan was asked if he would have really batted first had he won the toss. “I said just like that. I would have actually bowled,” Harbhajan grinned rather sheepishly.

Tickets please

A complimentary pass is perhaps the most sought after commodity in a tournament that packs in plenty of bling and promises ‘cricketainment'. The clamour for such passes reaches a scary high especially during big-ticket matches. Kolkata Knight Riders' Dutch import Ryan ten Doeschate seems to have experienced it first hand.

“What's the most challenging aspect of the IPL? Bowling to Chris Gayle? Deciphering Muttiah Muralitharan's masterpieces? Or dealing with the pace of Dale Steyn? No chance, try managing your match-day ticket allocation,” writes ten Doeschate in his diary in ESPNCricinfo.

He also recommends the Dale Steyn method of ticket disbursement. For those wondering, Steyn has come up with a ‘treasure hunt' concept where he leaves clues that lead to the place where tickets have been hidden away. If only he could devise a similarly brilliant plan to end Deccan Chargers' losing streak!

The non-cricket connection

The presence of India's non-cricketing sportspersons at IPL matches has added colour to the occasion. The other night tennis star Rohan

Bopanna was seen sporting the RCB jersey and cheering on Bangalore. Saina Nehwal has done her bit as well egging on Deccan Chargers. More recently, Karun Chandhok was spotted in Chennai lending support to the Super Kings while Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, shooter and Olympic silver medallist in the 2004 games, swore his allegiance to the Pune Warriors at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium in Jaipur.

The relay catch

Steve Smith has thus far had a monopoly on breathtaking acts on the field. Smith's borderline-freakish attempts to rein in the ball over the past two weeks have been much talked about. But during Pune's away clash against Rajasthan, Johan Botha and Ajinkya Rahane combined to take a catch, the kind of which is seldom thought of leave alone attempted.

After Rahul Sharma struck one over long off, it was thought that the ball would sail comfortably into the stands. Botha grabbed the ball

before scooping it as high as he could while falling over the boundary line. Rahane had a huge smile on his face even as he saw it. His anticipation made sure that the catch was pouched and the misery for Pune seemed endless.

The case for Tamim Iqbal

‘Why is Tamim Iqbal not been given an opportunity' is one question that has been frequently raised in online forums and Pune Warriors fan sites. In the beginning, most of the frenzied queries were predictably from Bangladesh. But now the call for Tamim has grown louder from other quarters as well.

Much as one is tempted to think that the spunky batsman's reputation has been inflated by him not playing a part in Pune's disastrous campaign, the numbers don't lie. Tamim has been in splendid form with fine performances in the Asia Cup and the domestic tournaments. With Pune playing its last game against KKR, it remains to be seen if Tamim gets a game at least then.

Mike the magician

Mike Hussey certainly has to be one of the more articulate players in the Chennai Super Kings side. His statements are reflective of a clear mind. What adds to the mix is his nuanced understanding of the game and a good sense of humour. After Chennai's win over Delhi Daredevils, it was suggested that he was a bit of a talisman for the side.

Hussey had a big laugh, evidently enjoying the compliment. “Mate, I am not sure about that. I am not paid for packing a magic potion in my bag and sprinkling it in the dressing room. I just want to come in and enjoy myself in Chennai. There are a great bunch of guys here. I like to keep the mood relaxed, just laughing and joking with the guys,” he said, quickly deflecting the praise off him.