Warne the spin doctor brushes off IPL's hiccups

As the pitch crumbled like a digestive biscuit here yesterday, the Indian Premier League desperately needed Shane Warne on the case. In his latest role, the old master might have made a persuasive argument to excuse a wholly unsatisfactory surface which threatened the fingers of several of the world's most illustrious batsmen. When the floodlights failed in Bangalore on Friday, holding up play in a close finish, he would have convinced us that it was part of the show.

Warne has taken to the IPL with the boundless enthusiasm he brings to life in general. He has swiftly embellished his roles as coach and captain to Rajasthan Royals. Each match here has been graced (or besmirched if you think the game has gone mad) by troupes of cheerleaders, but they have nothing on Warney. He has been the IPL's cheerleader in chief.

It was well after midnight following his side's crushing nine-wicket defeat in Delhi on Saturday but Warne presented himself before the plethora of cameras and notebooks to deliver a rousing knockabout performance on behalf of the IPL. "That's Twenty20, sometimes you get a one-sided game, sometimes a very exciting game," he said. "You've got to take the good with the bad. We all want the game to go down to the wire but sometimes it doesn't happen like that.

"But everybody will be a lot better player for playing in the IPL at the end of the six weeks. It's here to stay, not a nine-day, one-hit wonder, especially here in India. I think the whole competition will be played in the right spirit. That's why we as captains signed the Spirit of Cricket on the opening night and I didn't have my fingers crossed behind my back either."

He also derided the misguidedness of the England and Wales Cricket Board in refusing their players permission to take part ("we should embrace it not fight it") and urged the International Cricket Council to ensure there was no international cricket stopped when the IPL was on. It would have been a stretch for Warne to suggest yesterday that all was hunky-dory. The spirit of cricket does not extend to pitches but if it did the Kolkata one yesterday, which was anything but the Garden of Eden unless you count the presence of a serpent, would have had the book thrown at it.

From the second over, dust was thrown up as though it was being blown off books in a library that had been undisturbed for a thousand years. The bounce was never to be trusted, nor the direction.

That a low-scoring match ensued was inevitable and that as many as 222 runs were made was in itself remarkable. The Deccan Chargers, with Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds in their ranks, made 110 all out before the Knight Riders got home, thanks largely to David Hussey's unbeaten 38.

Brendon McCullum, the star of Friday's opening match with a Twenty20 record of 158, was out for five and Ricky Ponting fell for a duck. Despite the low score the match was about to give the IPL the tense climax it badly needed when one of the lights went out. Play was delayed for 30 minutes until order was restored and Knight Riders won with an over left.

The ECB, on the other hand, managed a pyrrhic victory against the Indian board after settling on a four-Test series in England in 2011 – but that is in exchange for a two-match series in India this winter.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas