This Indian Premier League won’t be just about winning the trophy. The feedback of this tournament will travel far beyond just the franchise analysts because the support staff of most international teams would be eagerly following the IPL.
Some of them are even here in various capacities. And then there is the insight the imports would provide once they return home. All this could very much shape the tactics teams would use to approach the World T20 that would be hosted by India from March 11 to April 3 next year.Such is the calendar for the next 11 months that hardly any team will have adequate T20 Internationals to get their combinations right. Barring a T20I each that Pakistan — whose players are banned from playing the IPL — and South Africa get to play in Bangladesh this summer, the other teams don’t get much practice in the subcontinent. The IPL is a good alternative that way.
At the onset, the timing of the World T20 would be of immediate help. Indian pitches are generally worked upon from June to August. But months of pounding inflicted by the domestic season starting October will ensure most will be devoid of any life by the time March arrives. Some would be bone dry, which according to a BCCI curator, could be the norm in the World T20.
This means pacers might not trouble batsmen as much but spin could come handy which is where the IPL could provide good practice. “As the tournament (IPL) goes on, it starts to spin a bit more. Eden Gardens helps spinners. Chennai spins a bit. Mumbai has a bit of bounce. If you get it wrong, it can travel but there is some turn at Wankhede,” said South African spinner Johan Botha.
While Bangalore, expected to host some World T20 matches, can be strokemakers’ paradise under lights, dew can be a factor at high humidity venues such as Eden Gardens.
All this and more will be jotted down by South Africa bowling coach Allan Donald who is also with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
With time, even the brains of Ricky Ponting (with MI), Mike Hussey (CSK) and Daniel Vettori (RCB) could be picked while the likes of AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum, David Warner and Dale Steyn would want to brush up their skills here one last time.
Indians too have a lot to experiment and prove. This will be the last opportunity, if at all it comes his way, for Yuvraj Singh to show that slumberous innings against Sri Lanka in the 2014 World T20 final was one-off.
To get back in the midst of a stiff competition among pacers, Ishant Sharma has to be economical first. Ravindra Jadeja needs to stay on the radar by winning some matches with the bat. And to make him uncomfortable would be Axar Patel who can only mature more.Maybe even Mahendra Singh Dhoni would want to work on his Midas touch. At the end of the day, one franchise might win this IPL but many countries could stand to gain from it.