As the IPL enters week two hundred and five, we have to admit something: we’re bored. There’s been about a million games so far, there’s still a million to go and yet almost nothing seems to have happened. It’s like playing Angry Birds every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Or maybe that Simpsons: Tapped Out! game that seems to be more addictive than the heroin/Monster Munch hybrid that mysteriously appeared in our kitchen one day.
Anyway, as more time is sucked into the endless void of the IPL, the more we struggle to give a shit. We didn’t expect Pune to be particularly good – they were bloody awful last year – but they’ve actually been far, far worse than we ever expected. Not picking Steven Peter Devereux Smith for the first four games was probably a sign that things weren’t really being thought through by the Pune brains trust and it’s pretty much been downhill since then, despite the belated arrival of Australia’s favourite son.
But this week (or possibly last week – it’s hard to tell), something genuinely noteworthy happened. Chris Gayle happened. And he happened all over Pune’s pathetic bowling attack, smashing his way to 175* as Royal Challengers Bangalore racked up a terrifying 263/5 from their 20 overs. If you didn’t happen to see Gayle in full flight, taking 28 off a Mitchell Marsh over and 29 from Aaron Finch (who presumably was forced to bowl when everybody else tried to hide on the boundary, as there’s no other explanation), then you missed out big time.
Luckily, we were able to record a brief bit of it off the telly, just for you, dear reader:
In our latest podcast we had quite a debate about where Gayle’s innings ranks in the grand scheme of things. As T20 innings go it has to be right up at the top. But that first bit is an important disclaimer: can an innings really ascertain true greatness when it basically consists of whacking a load of filthy part time bowling around for half an hour?
We’ll let you decide. Although the answer is clearly no.
As for Pune, it’s not hard to predict how the rest of the season will turn out. The only question is if they can somehow find a way to edge past Delhi to the glorious heights of second bottom. Players continue to be horribly misused: Devereux keeps arriving at the crease far too late to rescue things, Luke Wright keeps being asked to bowl far too often and Ajantha Mendis continues to sit around looking distinctly flummoxed about what he’s actually supposed to be doing to earn his enormous bag of cash. It’s as if the Pune bosses are deliberately trying to prove Einstein‘s theory about insanity by doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Even the belated appearance of notorious pitch destroyer Kane Richardson failed to lift the mood, even if he did manage to get through four overs without being shot by Germans for attempting to dig his way to safety. Or something like that.
Nevertheless, we shall continue to try and watch the IPL so that, should something interesting actually happen, we’ll be ready to tell you about it in barely six to eight days. Of course, that’s after we’ve finished drinking, trying to be flippant about former England seamers looking like breakfast cereal mascots and generally talking about other things that definitely aren’t the IPL.