Indians will be richer by the IPL experience

Indians will be richer by the IPL experience

Slowish Windies pitches should make batsmen feel at home

Indians will be richer by the IPL experience

In prime touch: Chennai Super Kings’ Suresh Raina, who has been in fine touch in IPL III, will have to shoulder a lot of responsibility in the World T20. PTI

Virender Sehwag had just been ruled out of the forthcoming World T20 in the West Indies with a shoulder injury and a hyper anchor on a national television channel was shouting down his ‘expert’ guest who didn’t agree to the point that the Indian Premier League was doing more harm than good to cricket in general, and Indian cricket in particular.

 The western sporting world has accepted this reality long back but in a country like ours, where there is over sensationalism of nationalism, it will take some time for us to reconcile to the fact that private leagues like the IPL are here to stay. That’s why you don’t see the British media go after the English Premier League when Wayne Rooney gets injured playing for Manchester United with the football World Cup just around the corner.    Yes, it’s a huge setback to lose someone as explosive as Sehwag just a few days before a major event like World T20, but then aren’t injuries part and parcel of a sportsman’s life? Any cricketer worth his salt will vouch that no amount of practice can replace the time spent in the middle in a match, and going by that notion one will have to agree that IPL is an ideal way to prepare for World T20. “As a preparation for the World T20, I would rather be out there playing matches than practice for hours in the nets,” Sehwag had recently said. 

 India’s run-up to the forthcoming April 30-May 16 event isn’t too dissimilar to the last one in England; as in all their players had an ample T20 practice in IPL II in South Africa and hence primed once again to lay their hands on the trophy. Of course, going by last year’s performance it’s difficult to say if Dhoni’s men would be able to translate the momentum gained in IPL III into a winning effort but one will have to hope that they would have learned their lessons from the experience in England.

The pressure of being the defending champions too appeared to have weighed down on the Indians then. Having scripted a fairytale win in the inaugural edition in South Africa in 2007, MS Dhoni’s band of boys were fancied to wear the crown in England, but they couldn’t even make it to the semis. It’s never an easy task to carry the tag of favourites; not even for Australia now who not so long ago wore that cloak with comfort. So, it’s a blessing in disguise that India, unlike last time around, enter the event as one of the stronger contenders to clinch the title.

 As they embark upon their Caribbean sojourn, conventional wisdom would suggest that Indians are better prepared than their rivals. Except for Ravindra Jadeja, who was banned from playing in this edition, rest of the Indian players have played in IPL III and have tasted varying degrees of success which should hold them in good stead. No country taking part in World T20 can boast of the amount of exposure the Indian players have got playing alongside or against world class players in the IPL. And the confidence gained through success against quality bowlers and batsmen (in case you are bowler) under pressure situations can prove handy. There are, of course, cricketers from other countries playing in the IPL, but some of them aren’t event part of their respective nation’s T20 set-up.  

 Indian campaign in England was marred by two incidents.  While they could have done without the controversy surrounding alleged differences between Dhoni and Sehwag, their inherent weakness against short-pitched deliveries was exposed threadbare. With Sehwag already out, Dhoni can rest easy that there won’t another fiasco of that nature and his batsmen, especially the likes of Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, can breathe easy that there is less chance of them being peppered with short stuff on the slowish West Indian wickets. With the Caribbean conditions likely to suit them more, the Indians should feel at home.