The Indian Premier League was concluded recently and even before Mumbai Indians could finish celebrating their win, some of them were whisked off to England to participate in the International Cricket World Cup tournament. IPL may be more known for the glitz and cash that it comes with, but there were some important cricketing takeaways from it this season.
IPL boasts of being an internationally inclusive sporting phenomenon where players from different parts of the world play in delegated teams without the notion of nationality. It also gives young talents at home the opportunity to interact and gain knowledge and insight on the game from senior players. The IPL format could be a game-changer in the prestigious one-day format of international cricket when players go back to their respective national teams.
Playing together and sharing the dressing room also means an intimate knowledge of each other’s strengths, weaknesses and quirks. And this information can be used to map out a strong game plan.
In the 2011 World Cup final, the Indians got a leg up from their recent IPL outings. Dhoni, who is a CSK mate of Muthiah Muralidharan, promoted himself up the batting order to take on the Sri Lankan off spinner. Yuvaraj was in form, yet Dhoni jumped in since Murali had dismissed Yuvraj nine times in international matches. Left-handed Gambhir was playing and two left-handers would have only made it easier for Murali. A right-left combination would pose a challenge to Murali’s rhythm thought Dhoni.
In addition medium pace bowler Nuwan Kulasekara had played under Dhoni for CSK in 2011. Kulasekara was known as a dangerous bowler but Dhoni could read him, just as he could with Murali. And we were treated to a cascade of boundaries and sixes.
At Southampton on Wednesday (June 5), the South Africans would want to turn the tables on the Indians using their IPL insights. Quinton de kock has played alongside Jasprit Bumrah and under Rohit Sharma’s captaincy for the Mumbai Indians. Bumrah’s USP of being difficult to read may not really sell against the South Africans.
Faf Du Plessis who was a key player for the Chennai Super Kings franchise under Dhoni’s captaincy had a sensational season this year. Ironically now Du Plessis is captaining the Proteas against Virat Kohli’s Indian side in the World Cup. Almost all the key players of the current South African team have shared the dressing room with almost every player of the Indian team in the recently concluded league. The players must be hoping their dressing room banter did not give away too many cricketing secrets.