There's something about the Australians that the Indian Premier League (IPL) loves! The franchisees are not only keen on having players from Down Under, but many build the core of their teams with the Aussies and hire Indian domestic stars for a balanced squad.
Kings XI Punjab are a key case in point, where experts from Australia figure not only on the team sheet but also among the elaborate support staff -- from ex-international Adam Gilchrist who is the Kings' captain to newly appointed coach Darren Lehmann.
The prime reason why the set-up works for the Kings is simple. "Pitches at both our home venues- PCA Stadium, Mohali (SAS Nagar), and HPCA Stadium, Dharmasala - are conducive to the Australian style of playing. These are the fastest pitches in India, and as such the foreign players don't have to make many adjustments," KXIP chief operation officer Col (retd) Arvinder Singh said.
The theory seems to hold true if one mentions left-handed batter Shaun Marsh, who arrived in the first IPL as an unknown entity and went on to play for Australia on the back of his performance here. He remains the most valuable player for the Kings.
The others from Kangaroo-land are David Hussey, the recently re-inducted Luke Pomersbach and Ryan Harris, who form the core group. The support staff led by Lehmann also has a heavy Aussie presence -- fielding coach Mike Young to current India bowling coach Joe Dawes, who has the same role for KXIP, and team physio Pattrick Farhart.
"If you see the records of Gilly and Marsh in Mohali, you will see they have scored heavily in these conditions," Col Singh added.