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SA players will prove utility

india Updated: Apr 22, 2009 09:53 IST

Early impressions, but a few pointers are unmistakable. Teams reliant on their Australian, English and West Indian stars could struggle. Soon these men will be part of the English summer cricket. Of course, one is not discounting retired superstars such as Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden or young dynamos such as David Warner, yet the principle more or less holds. Overseas presence would be reduced to players from Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand. There are but only five Kiwis in the fray and two of them, Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder, are with Bangalore.

That leaves us with the men from Sri Lanka and South Africa, of whom there are aplenty. When the fresh signings were done in Goa, nobody knew the IPL would be relocated to South Africa. Now that it has, teams with good South African cricketers would have an advantage.

Indian batting stars would be no less critical. All those in the Test team, the Dravids and Laxmans, Gambhirs and Sehwags, Sachins and Yuvrajs, and those in the shorter format, such as Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma, would have to pull their weight in gold.

The Mumbai Indians would have a quiet smile as not only do they have India's two best bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, they also have the best of the Sri Lankans and South Africans-Sanath Jayasuriya, Lasith Malinga and Jean-Paul Duminy. And there is Sachin Tendulkar! It's also interesting that Tendulkar is crediting two of his support staffers, Shaun Pollock and Jonty Rhodes, for their invaluable inputs.

Much will be called upon from the promising youngsters of first edition. It wouldn't be easy for the conditions here are vastly different from back home, more so when the winter is settling in.

I could be wrong, and for the sake of IPL-2 I hope I am, but Kolkata, Jaipur and, to a lesser extent, Bangalore would have to pull up their socks early. Chennai and Delhi are promising. Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers also stake serious claim.

Kings XI Punjab have bowling woes. Pacers and spinners are on a level-playing field.