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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game