McDermott bowled over by IPL action

McDermott bowled over by IPL action

The Indian Premier League is in its 11th year, and is a big hit with the Australian cricketers who constitute the largest group of foreign players. But most cricket fans Down Under don’t get to witness the biggest T20 franchise league as it’s not available on TV. So former Australian paceman Craig McDermott, who is in Bengaluru on a coaching assignment, wasn’t going to miss out on a chance to be part of the IPL action.

The 53-year-old watched the Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils match here on Saturday night and was bedazzled not just by AB de Villiers’ batting but by the atmosphere at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.      

“We don’t get IPL (on TV) in Australia,” he told DH when asked if he has been following IPL regularly. “I watched the match last night at the stadium with my wife. I actually bumped into AB de Villiers this morning at breakfast (in the team hotel). It’s a tremendous competition, so many good players.

"I watched the (afternoon) game in Kolkata (KKR vs KXIP on TV), and it was probably about half full but in Bangalore it was chock-a-block. It’s a tremendous following for a particular team. I suppose when you have got Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in your side and if you don’t pack the ground, you are never going to do it anyway. It was a good game, great atmosphere,” said McDermott who spent four days passing on his expertise on fast bowling to young aspirants at the Karnataka Institute of Cricket (KIOC).

McDermott, who bagged 291 Test scalps and 203 ODI wickets during his 12-year international career, said he enjoys coaching players at a young stage where their bowling techniques can be worked upon. “Coaching stint here has been very busy but I really enjoy working at this level – probably 12 years of age and upwards,” he emphasised.

“Because you are going to have the most influence on their technique, and I suppose it’s a good time to change their technique and get them the right platform. Obviously, you can then build on their strengths and fitness and all those things. It’s a good influential time in a young fast bowler’s career,” he explained.

McDermott also felt that Steven Smith, David Warner and Cameroon Bancroft -- who were banned from international cricket by Cricket Australia for their role in ball tampering in Cape Town Test against South Africa -- were handed out harsher punishments than their offence warranted.   

“I think they paid the price because of the (anger of the) Australian public more than anything else,” he noted. “You know everyone scratches the ball or rub it on to the ground while picking it up. Whenever the ball goes to the fence, people don’t just pick it up. You rub it against the concrete and it’s being done for thousands of years. The Pakistanis used bottle tops (to pick the seam). So, I think it’s premeditation of the whole thing, taking a foreign object to the field (to tamper the ball that had Australian public seething). I am not sure what the whole process was because when you have 26 cameras, I am not sure you can get away with that. And you have another 22000 cameras on phones of fans! You are not going to get away from anything in 2018.

“So pretty silly sort of situation to be putting themselves in and the team and the Australian cricket. Everyone knows Australian cricket is highly regarded throughout the world. Their coaches are regarded highly as are their players. I do think the players are paying too big a penalty from my point of view. You have got Faf du Plessis being done in match situations. Terrible thing to have happened but I think the Australian public will forgive them over time and I think all of them will come back to play cricket whether or not Australian selectors think Smith can lead again.”


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