18th May: KXI Punjab v Mumbai Indians, 10:30 GMT
RC Bangalore v Chennai S. Kings, 14:30 GMT
16th-20th May: 1st Test, Lord's
19th May: 2nd ODI, Edinburgh
The sporting weekend was all about comebacks. One was foiled by a last-minute penalty, while the other two were clinically, professionally executed and showed just why we watch top level sport. You are truly only as good as your last game, and the glorious unpredictability of the game is what keeps us coming back for more.
Leaving the Lions (rugby) and Brazil (football) to one side, the other comeback was of course the West Indies bouncing back from their 20-run defeat to India on Friday to comprehensively win by eight wickets yesterday (Sunday).
They now travel to St. Lucia for the third game on Friday and it is India who have five days to mull over what went wrong and frankly, there wasn't a lot that went right for them.
First, credit to the West Indies. Even though they ended up short in the opening game, there was some thought before they began their run chase that in all likelihood, they would come up well short and we'd be finished well before the scheduled closing time. Not a bit of it, and not just because the West Indies bowled their overs appallingly slowly. Most of the batsmen got in, but crucially not one of them could go on and play the big innings, á la Yuvraj, which would have made the difference.
The second game was almost over as a contest after just three overs. India were eight for three and it should have been worse. Yuvraj was dropped and Mahendra Singh Dhoni glanced the ball to Denesh Ramdin only for the umpire to give him a reprieve. It was a chance he took, making 95 and hauling his side up to 188.
It was never enough and the West Indies did the basics well. Ravi Rampaul and Jerome Taylor kept a tight line just outside off stump and with a little bit of movement about, batsman after batsman nibbled and the catching, bar the dropped effort mentioned above, was spot on behind the stumps, where the first eight wickets were taken.
India, however, were never at the races, particularly with the bat, but all the more obviously, and painfully for Indian fans, in the field. To take nothing away from the way that Chris Gayle and Morton batted, it was as lacklustre a fielding display that I can remember seeing from an Indian side, and remember that this is a young team - there were no players out there who were being carried.
From misfields to overthrows to lazy efforts, the West Indies were laughing all the way home.
There has been much said about the fact that India are perhaps a tired team - they certainly looked it yesterday - and that the Indian Premier League didn't help their preparations and it is a fact that they have had a gruelling schedule in the last 18 months.
However, it is not as if tours and tournaments are just sprung on teams at random. With more and more cricket being played, there are a couple of options available to boards and coaches. Either separate the three formats of the game so that only a handful of players play all three forms, with specialists picked for Tests, ODIs and T20s or use a larger pool of players.
We often see teams pick 16 players for tours abroad, so why not pick the same number of players for home series, or even have a pool of 25 to pick from?
The debate surrounding player burnout isn't going to go away and if players continue to get injured (consider that Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Zaheer Khan all missed this tour) then a larger pool of players is going to become a necessity rather than a luxury, and sooner, rather than later.
© Cricket World 2009