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T20 league proves apt springboard

The controversy surrounding the spot-fixing saga in the Indian T20 league has led many to chastise the event and the cricket on offer, but for the players it wasn't just a two month party. Rohit Bhaskar reports.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2013 01:18 IST
Rohit Bhaskar

The controversy surrounding the spot-fixing saga in the Indian T20 league has led many to chastise the event and the cricket on offer, but for the players it wasn't just a two month party. Form and confidence are two vital factors for any cricketer, and runs and wickets in the league often translate into success at the biggest stage.

If the Champions Trophy warm-ups are any indication, the players' words aren't just bland, PR-driven statements made to protect the interest of the lucrative money-spinner, but rather an indicator of the vagaries of form.

Dinesh Karthik owes a lot to the league. A vital cog for champions Mumbai Indians this year, it was his brilliant form in the tournament that led to a recall to the national team. After finishing in the top-10 in the T20 league's scoring charts, he carried on that form into the first match and struck a belligerent 81-ball 106. Teammate Virat Kohli was the highest Indian run-getter in the league this season (third best overall) and was the top Indian scorer on Saturday, striking 144 against Sri Lanka.

Bouncing back
Shane Watson, who only a few months back looked woefully out of sorts when Australia toured India for a four-Test series, was the man of the tournament. He has extended that purple patch with a century in the first warm-up match against West Indies.

His skipper, Michael Clarke, who opted out of the T20 league to rest his injured back was of the belief that confidence, even if gained in the league, remains a vital ingredient for success.

"I believe that confidence - scoring runs or taking wickets - breeds confidence, so I don't think it matters what form of the game you play. If you're performing well, you'd rather be in that position coming into a big tournament than not performing well," he said, batting for the league.

West Indies skipper Dwayne Bravo, this season's leading wicket-taker, was equally effusive. "What I feel it actually does for us is give us some confidence playing against different oppositions. Now we have the opportunity, having done well in the league, to come together in one team and take the good form that we have from the league and transfer it into the longer form of the game," he said.

Counting positives
India skipper MS Dhoni may have shied away from speaking on the spot-fixing controversy but he still batted for the league, even when asked about the negative impact it had vis-à-vis India's woeful performances over the past six years in international matches immediately following the league.

"You have to look at the positives. If you look at the positive you can say the players that are playing in the league, they had good exposure to international bowlers because bowlers from all over the world, they come and play, right from Dale Steyn, the best that the world has to offer, which means most of the players are in touch. They are in good rhythm. What you have got right is the stats where they say after the league we have not done really well. So that's one thing we'd like to set right by doing well in this particular tournament. But I don't think the T20 league is to be blamed for that record."