Dhoni busts IPL myth, questions its standard | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Dhoni busts IPL myth, questions its standard

cricket Updated: May 11, 2010 02:32 IST
Anand Vasu
Anand Vasu
Hindustan Times
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Lalit Modi's off-field problems mount every day, but the biggest blow for brand IPL will be the Indian captain’s admission that the league falls well short of international standards in terms of overall quality of players. While this has been much talked-about, players have done their best to avoid saying so in as many words, perhaps, carried away by the frenzy of IPL mania.

Shane Warne, for example, called Yusuf Pathan’s IPL century the best innings he had ever seen.

That this is blatantly dishonest was assumed, but when a senior player says something you sit up and take notice. This is precisely why Dhoni's words carry weight.

“The IPL is very different from international cricket. You have four foreigners and don't always have the best bowling attack, you have to keep your side balanced,” Dhoni said. “Most of the sides have maybe one bowler who bowls really good, really quick, but apart from that you try to target the weak links.”

In effect, Dhoni has busted the myth that playing the IPL in the lead-up to the ICC World T20 was the perfect preparation.

What it has done is lull many players into a false sense of confidence, giving them plenty to think about when facing a world-class attack.

The bigger problem though, is the toll taken by the sheer volume of matches, sandwiched between travel, parties and practice sessions. The players insist that despite all the action, they are neither tired nor jaded. Can it then, be just a coincidence that Australia, whose players had the least involvement in the IPL, appear most primed to do the job here?

Just looking at the facts, the IPL appears to have impacted India's chances in this tournament. Virender Sehwag did not even make the trip, while Gautam Gambhir arrived weakened by fever and suffered further thanks to a stomach bug. That Gambhir hasn't yet hit his stride has created a gaping hole at the top of the order.

Yuvraj Singh played through the IPL with a wrist that was still on the mend. That he generates a lot of his power by locking the wrist of his bottom (left) hand, is something any coach will tell you. Rest and rehabilitation, rather than repeated humiliation for the Kings XI Punjab might have given Yuvraj a better chance to succeed at this tournament.

Zaheer Khan came to the West Indies supposedly fully fit, but yet was rested after playing just one match. The team management chose to bench Zaheer, rather than Ashish Nehra or Praveen Kumar, and offered no real explanation.

India going on to win the tournament is still a possibility, but this will be despite enduring the IPL before this tournament, rather than because of what they have gained from it.