About three-fourth of IPL II is over and it’s not a bad time to take stock of how the players have fared even as the battle for semifinal berths gets more intense. The list of batsmen resembles the list of goal scorers in the Indian football league with foreigners crowding the top. Things are strikingly Indian as far as bowlers go, at least in terms of strike rate.
In any league in any sport which has the provision of fielding a few foreigners, these recruits are expected to perform better than home grown players. They are better paid and hired because of their greater effectiveness. Things shouldn’t be any different in the IPL in this regard, but the gap between the levels of performance shouldn't be yawning because India possess some of the best cricketing talent in the world.
If cricket in general and T20 in particular is perceived as a batsman's game, it can be seen in IPL II that Indians are far behind their foreign counterparts in this department. There are four Indians in top 10, that too with three in the bottom half. Barring Suresh Raina and Yusuf Pathan to a lesser extent, nobody has made significant contributions consistently and match-winning efforts from Indians have been rare.
Compare them with foreigners to see that they have been far more effective in getting their teams to good totals batting either first or second. Indian batsmen say pitches in South Africa prevent them from getting into their groove. “It's not easy for us as the ball doesn’t come onto the bat as well as it does in India,” feels Virender Sehwag.
As result, the teams to have suffered most are the ones whose Indian batsmen have not delivered. Kolkata Knight Riders are first on this list with Bangalore Royal Challengers not far behind. Compare them with Delhi Daredevils or Chennai Superkings and it becomes clear why these teams are lying at the opposite ends of the points table.
Indian bowlers have done better. This is reflected not just in the list of wicket-takers but also in the position of their teams in the league table. There is no stirring surprise like last year when Dhawal Kulkarni or Manpreet Gony created waves but the young and experienced Indian bowlers have combined well to serve their respective teams. Goa left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati has been the sole surprise pack so far.
Before the start of IPL II, it was believed that bowlers would have a better time than last year. With the business end of the competition approaching, they have proved that notion right to a reasonable extent. Not all predictions in T20 go wrong after all and from an Indian point of view, there is reason to be happy. It’s just that things may change completely when the action shifts to the flat tracks of India next year.