Go Gujarat & Delhi Darkhorses

dhoni-raina-m.jpgThe IPL is back and this season it seems better than ever. With the top players already starring, new teams and new young players this is getting good. The most impressive side so far are Gujarat Lions, while I also have a great liking for the way Delhi Daredevils have improved this season.

For years on end it was said that Suresh Raina was being protected by MS Dhoni, being one of his guys that always played if he did. This season has shown that Raina has come out of the shadow of his national skipper and the result has been fantastic to watch. Showing strong leadership on the field, making important fielding decisions. It is clear to see that Raina is an intelligent cricketer. Not saying that he will ever be India’s captain but its nice to see a guy proving people wrong.

His side on the field can only be an asset to his captaincy, having McCullum, Finch, Faulkner, Dwane Smith and Bravo in his side its hard to see a weakness in the batting or fielding. It will be very interesting to see if GL can continue the form throughout the rest of the tournament.

The other new boys Rising Pune Supergiants led by MS Dhoni, have struggled. It is a surprise to me that they have struggled so badly when we look through the team line up. Kevin Pietersen is a miss for them though.

The dark horses for me have to be Delhi, after a poor start they have come back really well. The batting is well marshalled by Quinten De Kock, who for me is only just behind Virat Kholi and Joe Root in terms of ability. Any team that has Andre Russell will be one of the favourites in a T20 competition. I think he has won every other big competition this year.

My predictions: 

Final: GL v DD – With DD winning it this year. (Long, long way to go)

Ian Smith: “Jadeja is India’s best ever fielder”

Ravindra Jadeja

Half way through the first test between India and New Zealand, veteran commentator Ian Smith came out with a very interesting statement. He boldly stated that Ravindra Jadeja was the “best ever fielder” that India have produced. The other players who could lay a claim to this title are Yuvraj Singh, Mohammed KaifVirat Kohli and Suresh Raina. Below I have given my opinion on Jadeja in relation to these players.

Ravindra Jadeja:

A total cricketer who is simply good at every thing that he does. So much so brilliant that he is brilliant at growing a moustache. He is electric in the field, so fast that taking any sort of run to him is a risk. Currently he is up their as India’s best fielder.

Yuvraj Singh:

He probably was the Indian who made fielding “sexy” for his nation. Yuvraj along with Kaif were the first two players to show the senior players that fielding was important. Their selection to the national side was very important as it probably inspired the current crop of players to work hard on their fielding. He made the point position his own until recently for India. It seems that Yuvraj will always be remembered as a great fielder but I would rank Jadeja slightly higher because of his pace around the field. He can field anywhere but Yuvraj has only really shown his value at point. I have also seen Yuvraj go through the complacent stage where he put on weight and didnt concentrate as much on his game. He is now back looking lean and back to his old great fielding.

Mohammed Kaif:

Maybe the first player to get into the side because of his fielding ability over batting or bowling. Kaif was an electric fielder, very fast chasing the ball around the field. There were times that Kaif and Yuvraj stifled teams. He was unlucky not be given much of a chance in test cricket, his fielding may have gone to the next level. A great fielder but I feel Jadeja is naturally more athletic.

Virat Kohli:

The aggressive batting and part time bowling is supplemented by his great fielding prowess. He is up there with one of India’s greatest. He has fielded in many positions most recently being employed in the slips. From the outside it looks as if Kohli puts allot of effort in fielding. I personally cannot distinguish him from Jadeja.

Suresh Raina:

Like Kaif it could be argued that he is currently being retained in the ODI side due to his great fielding. In my opinion he is the best Indian fielder I have seen. I have seen him take all types of catches and run out. On the boundary he has used the parry back well. It is hard to say that he is better than Kohli or Jadeja but I feel his fielding has been better over a prolonged period of time. His inclusion in the world cup quarter final against Australia probably changed the course of the world cup, not only for him seeing India through with the bat but also his fielding saved at least 15 runs.