IPL 2016: This tournament is a marathon, not a sprint for the cricketers

  • AB de Villiers
  • Updated: Apr 21, 2016 19:11 IST
AB De Villiers of Royal Challengers Bangalore plays a shot against Delhi Daredevils. (PTI Photo)

One of the most useful skills in life is the ability to turn challenges into opportunities.

When something unwanted happens, it is easy to be defeated and resigned to a negative outcome, but it is so much better to be smart and innovative and find a way of creating a positive effect from a difficult situation. In cricketing parlance, when you are bowled a bouncer, you should try to hook it for four.

The organisers of the IPL found themselves in a difficult position when two established and former champion franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, were suspended, but I believe they deserve credit for their swift and effective response.

Ten days into IPL 9, it is clear the two new franchises have significantly freshened up the event.

Rising Pune Supergiants have a strong CSK flavour and any team captained by MS Dhoni is always going to be competitive. A top five of Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Kevin Pietersen, Dhoni and Steve Smith is certainly going to score runs, and the bowling attack looks well-balanced.

The Gujarat Lions have also loaded their squad with world-class batsmen, and their top-five batters are already producing competitive scores --- Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja won’t take a backward step to anyone.

Some of the ostensibly stronger franchises may have made a relatively slow start but every team is competitive and this tournament is a marathon not a sprint. You have to approach the challenge game by game, match by match. Franchises that look too far ahead invariably trip and fall.

It is impossible to overstate the value of experience in T20 cricket, a format where everything happens at high speed and where matches can be won and lost in the space of a few frenetic deliveries. Every team needs a few wise heads to stay calm in any situation and find a way to win.

Zaheer Khan is an outstanding example. He made his international debut in 2000 and has been a world-class cricketer ever since, representing India in 92 Test matches and 200 One-day internationals. Now, at the age of 37, he is proving to be an excellent captain for Delhi Daredevils.

From RCB’s perspective, we were disappointed to lose to Zaheer and his team, but we understand what is required to be successful in IPL 9.

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