Twenty20 contract alone is not a ticket to stardom
For a young Indian player, especially if he happens to be a batsman, success in the league comes only if he ticks a few boxes. Aakash Chopra writes.india Updated: May 23, 2013 00:20 IST
The T20 league is considered a platform, which has the ability to catapult a young player's career. The number of eyeballs watching every game ensures that one solid performance makes a 'nobody' into a 'somebody' overnight. Yet, a contract doesn't necessarily translate into a ticket to stardom all the time. For a young Indian player, especially if he happens to be a batsman, success in the league comes only if he ticks a few boxes.
Bat in the top 4
Unless the pitch has a lot in it for the bowlers, 120 balls aren't enough for six quality batsmen to consume. It's the top 4 who get the lion's share of the overs, including the lucrative Power-play overs, and only when they fail, the rest get a look in.
Now, if the young Indian batsman in question isn't a top-order batsman, chances are that he'll be getting not more than 15 balls to play on an average. While some would argue that even 15 balls are enough to show glimpses of one's ability, you've got to bear in mind that the only way to succeed in the death overs is to play fearless cricket, which in turn stems from feeling secure about one's spot in the side. If a player's career depends on a couple of innings, he'd be struggling to strike the balance between playing for the team or himself. Most end up playing for the former, which results in sacrificing the latter.
The weaker, the better
It's unlikely that the likes of MI, CSK, DD or RCB would give a young Indian batsman a decent run at the top. Generally, in these teams, a young player is only a couple of failures away from being axed. But that isn't the case with the lesser fancied teams, for they don't have big enough overseas or India names to occupy key positions. The likes of Mandeep Singh, Hanuma Vihari, Manan Vohra, etc are not only getting ample opportunities but also getting to bat at the right number. Hence, playing for a weaker unit is a blessing in disguise for a young Indian batsman.
While there aren't many 'uncapped' Indian batsmen who've made a lasting impression, Indian bowlers have managed to hold their own. The likes of Sidharth Trivedi and Shahbaz Nadeem, have done well enough to merit a place in the starting XI regularly. Since there are five bowlers consuming 20 overs, the captain always has the luxury of using the Indian recruits in slightly less pressure situations.
The writer is a former India opener