Of what’s to come…

08 Mar 2010 by Mahendra Prasad in IPL

It’s been over two years since the cash-rich Indian premier league showed us the trailer to the movie of what was to come. One thought the trailer was flattering to deceive. However, that wasn’t the case to be. The Indian premier league has charged forward and is now in some eyes second only to the World cup which happens once in four years.

The fans/ cricket lovers/ the players just can’t seem to have enough of the IPL and want it to come and stay for long. Well, the good thing for them is that the IPL unlike the world cup is there every year. Many players have been seen trying to focus on limited Overs cricket. The big question is had the Cash rich IPL not been there would competitive 30-34 year olds make that decision; would they step down had the cash rich IPL not been there?

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The most recent of all was Brett Lee, who at the age of 33 stepped down from test match cricket to prolong his career in the shorter formats of the game. In the past year, along with lee several notable cricketers have stepped down from the test level and are either doing the freelance role or playing the shorter formats for their respective countries. Players including the likes of Oram, Styris, Bond, Flintoff and now lee have done so.

Mind you, all these players are not overly old and are well under the retirement age—under 35 (if there’s something like that). A lot has been spoken about how lucrative the league has been and its exploits. What’s more is there are another two franchisees to be added for the fourth edition of the IPL. There will be a fresh auction, all players will come into the pool again and even iconic players can be traded. The league never ceases to amaze me. The 3rd edition of the IPL is less than a week away and the excitement is mounting with every hour.

People across India are counting hours before they get to see their favourite players on the grand stage. Now, delving into what the 3rd season of the IPL has in store for us, which are the teams that look good to bag the stunning gold embedded Indian map. Teams have been training for over a week now, and managers have focussed more on player availability rather than just player name.

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 Deccan chargers

Deccan chargers

Deccan chargers: After some controversy whether the chargers would play the tournament or not due to division of the Andhra state, the news is they will be playing and look strong as ever. Under the inspirational captaincy of former Australian vice-captain and wicket keeper, Adam Gilchrist the Deccan chargers on paper at least look the strongest unit of them all. The champions of the last edition the chargers, wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if they go on to win this edition of the IPL as well.
Owner: Deccan Chronicle
Captain: Adam Gilchrist
Coach: Darren Lehmann

Game breakers (batting): Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Dwayne Smith.
Knock over’s (bowling): Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards, RP Singh, Ryan Harris.
Fielding: Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Dwayne Smith.
The chargers look a good side all round and seem to have all aspects covered. Their only concern would be their dismal record at their home ground, but the good thing for them being they don’t have a lot of matches to play there.

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Bangalore Royal Challengers

Bangalore Royal Challengers

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Finalists of the last year’s edition, the challengers showed the world a new side to their cricket after a dismal performance in the inaugural edition of the IPL. Labeled as the “Test team” by critics the challengers showed their true worth by showing everyone how dangerous they can be and proving that T20 is not a game that can be decided on paper.
Owner: Dr. Vijay Mallya
Captain: Anil Kumble
Coach: Ray Jennings

Game breakers (batting): Manish Pandey, Ross Taylor, Kevin Pietersen, Cameron White.
Knock over’s (bowling): Dale Steyn
Fielding: Roelof Van de Merwe, Cameron White, Steven Smith.
Their new look squad doesn’t look the “test team” anymore with White, Taylor and Pietersen who can each give it a fair whack. Along with the blend of youth they have good seniors in Rahul Dravid, Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis and Anil Kumble. They shouldn’t be underestimated as they showed how dangerous they could be. Loaded with South Africans, perhaps that’s what perhaps was their undoing last time—chokers. Jokes apart the royal challengers do have one of the best spinners in the tournament in their skipper Anil Kumble and also the Best ODI bowler in the world, Dale Steyn. A sure team to watch out for.

Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings: Finalists of the first edition and semi finalists of the one down in South Africa, the Chennai super kings have been one of the most consistent teams in the IPL. They have the best set of all rounder’s and a good blend of youth and old with a very ‘calm’ captain in Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Owner: India Cements Ltd.
Captain: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Coach: Stephen Fleming

Game breakers (batting): Matthew Hayden, Albie Morkel, Jacob Oram, Justin Kemp, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina.
Knock over’s (bowling): Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan
Fielding: Suresh Raina and Justin Kemp.
A very strong team overall, a very strong opener in Hayden and good players to nurdle and take the neck by the scruff if required. Their only shortcoming is their bowling, they need to strengthen it if they have to make it to the final four. A team filled with all rounder’s (and good ones at that too), it would be very interesting to see which or how many out of the four will be selected. You’d like to think that Albie Morkel should be an automatic choice however the same cannot be said about Jacob Oram due to his inconsistent performances in the last season. Justin Kemp has been in good form for the cobras and he should get a nod ahead of the tall black cap all rounder.

Delhi Daredevils

Delhi Daredevils

Delhi Daredevils: The daredevils like the Chennai super kings have been a very consistent side in the IPL too. They made the semi finals in both the editions and looked good to go further. Somehow they seem to give the South African image about them, they lose/ choke in tense matches. On paper they are second only to the Deccan chargers and look as if they are capable of overpowering any unit. A change in the head was seen with Virender Sehwag stepping down from captaincy as he wanted to concentrate on his game.
Owner: GMR Holdings
Captain: Gautam Gambhir
Coach: Greg Shippered

Game breakers (batting): Virender Sehwag, Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB De Villiers, David Warner
Knock over’s (bowling): Dirk Nannes, Daniel Vettori
Fielding: Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB De Villiers, David Warner
A very good unit and like the chargers have got everything they could ask for in the T20 arena. If they get on to a good start in the tournament there could be no stopping them. They would be hoping to go one step further and win the league. It will be very interesting to see who the 4 foreign players will be considering the nick Warner is in, it would be very tough to leave him out. However, Dilshan, de Villiers, Vettori and nannes all have been very successful for the daredevils. Surmisably, it could be a toss up between Dilshan and Warner or Vettori and Warner considering the other spinner Mishra will play.

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians: The side of the master— Sachin Tendulkar. The great man has been in tremendous form for India for a long time now. He’s seeing the 51/2 cherry as the size of a football. The Mumbai Indians failed to make it to the semi finals on both the previous occasions. However, a lot seems to have changed since then, and the odds are in their favour this time round. Mumbai’s biggest and most recent pick is that of West Indian giant buy Kieron Pollard. The West Indian was sold for over 6 crores. If he does justice to half the price he was brought for the Mumbai Indians should pick up the trophy.
Owner: Reliance Industries Limited
Captain: Sachin Tendulkar
Coach: Robin Singh, Jhonty Rhodes

Game breakers (batting): Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Abhishek Nayar.
Knock over’s (bowling): Lasith Malinga, Zaheer Khan.
Fielding: Kieron Pollard, Abhishek Nayar, Dwayne Bravo.
With Jhonty Rhodes being their fielding coach you could expect the Mumbai Indians should be from the top draw. Mumbai Indians have a huge fan following (largely due to the presence of Sachin Tendulkar) and their fans will be hoping that they do come up with something special this year. Twenty 20 is not Sachin Tendulkar’s most preferred format but you can never tell with the master. If great players can adapt to any form of the game, then Sachin Tendulkar surely can and you wouldn’t hold it against to him to carry his team single handedly towards the title.

 Kings XI Punjab

Kings XI Punjab

Kings XI Punjab: The men from Punjab have a new king to work under. The managerial unit at the Kings XI Punjab have decided that it is best that Yuvraj Singh plays as player and not as captain as he is more efficient as player. Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara has been appointed captain and would be able to share a good rapport with Tom Moody as moody was Lanka’s ex coach. The men from Punjab would look to replicate their performance of the inaugural edition of the IPL if not better it and go all the way.
Owner: Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia, Karan Paul and Mohit Burman.
Captain: Kumar Sangakkara
Coach: Tom Moody

Game breakers (batting): Yuvraj Singh, Shaun Marsh, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara.
Knock over’s (bowling): Brett Lee, Shreesanth, I Pathan.
Fielding: Mohammad Kaif, Yuvraj Singh, Brett lee.
For me, if the Kings XI Punjab have to stay in good stead they would have to ensure that ace pace man Brett lee is fit and raring to go. If that’s the case is death bowling and lower order striking will be invaluable and could go a long way in deciding the fate of the franchisee.

 Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals

Rajasthan Royals: The champions from the first edition of the IPL. Looked one of the most ordinary twenty 20 side on paper when the auction first concluded. However, as I mentioned before T20 isn’t done and dusted on paper. Under the tactical and inspirational captaincy of Australian spin bowling legend Shane Warne. Warne showed that he can weave his magic on not just the cricket ball but also on people as he did here. Youngsters namely Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan and Swapnil Asnodkar owe their careers to Shane Warne as he identified their talent and helped them exhibit it on the world stage.
Owner: Emerging Media, Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra.
Captain: Shane Warne
Coach: Shane Warne

Game breakers (batting): Graeme Smith, Yusuf Pathan, Adam Voges
Knock over’s (bowling): Shaun Tait, Shane Warne
Fielding: Adam Voges, Abhishek Jhunjunwala
Shane Warne’s tactical role as captain and coach of the team will have a huge role to play if the Royals have to emulate their first season’s performance. It is very possible for them to re do that especially with the royals having one of the fastest bowlers in the world (if not the fastest-currently) in shaun tait. Tait has been in brilliant form after his comeback into the Australian side early this year. His rhythm seems good and he had recently clocked over a 160 clicks in a T20 match against Pakistan. Warne along with this bowling will have to motivate the boys how he did so in 2008. A very well knit side and are certainly the dark horse of the tournament.

 Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata Knight Riders: Dismal performances in the last two editions of the IPL in spite of having a decent set of players leaves Kolkata as a ‘not-considered’ option amongst the people in India. Having said this, this might just be what the Knight riders may need as they have been the most popular and glamorous side ever since they burst onto the scene largely due to their owner Shah Rukh Khan being the Badshah of bollywood. A lot of controversies surrounded the knights which hampered them adversely. Racism rows, conflicts between the coach, captain and owner, and the whole strategy of multiple captains; all turned out to be KKR’s undoing in the end. Hence, SRK finally decided to re instate Sourav Ganguly as captain and replace John Buchannan with Dav whatmore. Kolkata will be without the services of Brendon McCullum this year due to his commitments with the national side.
Owner: Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Jai Mehta.
Captain: Sourav Ganguly
Coach: Dav Whatmore

Game breakers (batting): Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Chris Gayle.
Knock over’s (bowling): Shane Bond, Ishant Sharma, Charl Langeveldt.
Fielding: Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Angelo Mathews.
KKR bagged New Zealand quickie Shane bond, who after severing his ties with the rebel Indian Cricket League is now eligible to play for the Knights. He’s a pretty good buy and should reap his 6 crore worth returns. KKR are certainly my pick of the tournament and it is how Ganguly and whatmore function together will decide the fate of this wonderful side.

This year’s IPL has a lot to offer, in fact the IPL itself this year has a lot to offer. They have the Huge auction coming up later this year and also unveiling of the new franchisees mid way through the IPL. The IPL is back in its home nation and is set to thrill. With media playing its part in the form of hoardings and advertisements this year’s IPL promises to be an “enthralling” one to say the least.

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