It is to the Big Bash in Australia that Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) owe their big bang starts with the bat this time. Chris Lynn’s six-hitting abilities earlier in the year for Brisbane Heat --- he hit 11 in one game --- didn’t go unnoticed at KKR and neither was Sunil Narine’s ability to bat up the order for Melbourne Renegades. The idea was to look for ways to try and win that phase of the game, said KKR assistant-coach Simon Katich.
But that’s just one competition the support staff of IPL teams watch closely. Given that the format, according to Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody, is still evolving watching all T20 leagues becomes very important. Because it can help teams steal an over in a game where there’s only 40.
“I think in T20, you need to be alert to the possibility of anything; be it a spin bowler opening the bowling or a spin bowler opening the batting. One of the key tactics is to try and catch your opponents by surprise…especially with so much data available and some consistent patterns emerging. Even if you can steal an over with the bat or the ball, it can make a difference,” said Moody.
And that is why Moody, who was director of cricket at Renegades, his captain Warner and Katich were not surprised by Narine’s swashbuckle on Thursday night.
“We obviously have to watch all competitions around the world. Not just the Big Bash League (BBL) but the Caribbean Premier League too because the wickets there are now similar to ones in India where the spinners often play a big role. The Pakistan Super League too is taken into account given that it is held in similar sort of conditions,” said former Australia opener Katich who won the BBL in 2014 and joined KKR’s staff next year.
In Trinbago Knight Riders, KKR owners have a team in the Caribbean Premier League and before the start of IPL 10, Knight CEO Venky Mysore had spoken of integrating the teams.
When asked how much IPL teams in general or Sunrisers Hyderabad in particular draw from the BBL, Moody said: “There are some similarities between the two tournaments but there’s also quite a bit of difference. The grounds in Australia, for instance, are far bigger and the wickets are different. Then, you can only play two overseas players in BBL while you play four here.”
What is also different is that owing to international cricket’s scheduling, top Australia players such as Warner, skipper Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc missed the BBL 2017. In 2016, Glen Maxwell missed the BBL final because he was touring India. Big Bash chief Anthony Everard had been quoted as saying in the Herald Sun that having all Australia players available is not crucial to the competition’s success.