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Conventional wisdom takes a beating

The IPL is about fresh legs, energy and enthusiasm but also about wise heads, smart thinking and cool heads. Which is why Gilchrist, Hayden and Warne are priceless, as is Anil Kumble, a remarkable picture of poise, dignity and hard professionalism, writes Amrit Mathur.

cricket Updated: May 28, 2009 00:20 IST

IPL-II is done, the lights dimmed, the music switched off. The hungama over, players are already on the road — the Indian stars are headed for the T20 World Cup. The IPL surpassed all cricket and commercial expectations, the numbers are staggering and the event now is truly global.

India was always a commercial giant from a cricket standpoint but now, post South Africa, there is a new respect for delivering something that is outstanding in quality — from the time we started playing Tests 75 years ago, the IPL is India's single most significant contribution to world cricket.

The players are rapidly adjusting to the changed demands of a commercially driven tournament. Sehwag, normally so stress-proof, spoke about the special challenges of the IPL; other seniors (Ganguly and Laxman) too realised that this is an entirely different game.

One person amazed by this transformation is veteran Rameez Raja. The unique feature of the IPL, he says, is the total lack of respect — big names count for little and reputations don't matter, a fact underlined by the savage thrashing handed out to Andrew Flintoff by Mumbai's Abhishek Nayar. Players don't care who is at the other end.

In the new dynamics of cricket, conventional wisdom is changed, or discarded. As part of this new thought process, teams prefer to chase targets junking older theories which suggested that, in crunch situations, it is better to put runs on the board and apply pressure. Rameez is also at a loss to understand why a legend like Glenn McGrath can be made to sit out 15 matches and not get a single game.

Nor can he explain why, when a side is two down for zero, Dilshan walks in and hooks a short ball for six, a shot which barely eludes fine leg. Such great stuff shows cricket will never be the same again.

The IPL is about fresh legs, energy and enthusiasm but also about wise heads, smart thinking and cool heads. Which is why Gilchrist, Hayden and Warne are priceless, as is Anil Kumble, a remarkable picture of poise, dignity and hard professionalism.