The Indian Premier League teams may be attracting most of the moolah, but the rest of the sides in the Champions League are giving them a run for their money.
The three IPL participants-Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils-have all lost their opening group encounters and find themselves in must-win situations to advance in the tournament.
It's something Ray Jennings, the Bangalore coach, had predicted before the start of the Champions League.
“The sides that you play in Champions League are a lot better than IPL sides,” he had said. “Those team play together right through the year so they have a culture in place. But with IPL sides, there are players from around the world and that will be a problem.”
For starters, the Indian Premier League teams, a collection of international stars, gather together only for a month every year, while the rest play almost all through the season in domestic competitions.
Captains of the two English county teams here-Mike Yardy of Sussex and Justin Langer on Somerset-also agreed it was an edge their teams held over the IPL franchisees.
“The IPL teams have some big names,” said Langer, on Saturday after his team fashioned a dramatic last-ball victory over the Deccan Chargers.”
“They are more used to these conditions. But the advantage we have is that we spend so much time with each other, playing together week in and week out. We are a very closely-knit unit.”
Yardy’s take on the issue was, “We have been playing together for our club since the past many years. We know each very well whether it is off the field or on it. We definitely have a much better chance that the IPL teams.”
As opposed to other teams, Cape Cobras and New South Wales Blues are mostly made up of homebred talent and have been the most impressive teams so far.
Meanwhile Darren Ganga, skipper of Trinidad and Tobago, while acknowledging that it could play a part, said it would not be a definitive influence on the tournament.
“The chemistry within the team is very important. I know that they have players from other countries who come together only once a year, but if they have an understanding within themselves it should not be a worry. We play together so we know each other well, but that is not a marker in an international event where there are big international cricketers participating in it,” the West Indian said.
The IPL fraternity, though, is refusing to buy the argument. Recently appointed Daredevils captain, Gautam Gambhir, is relying on his team's international experience to bail them out.
“I don't think we are at a disadvantage,” the Delhi opener believes.
“The experience of our international players will work very well for us. Most of our international players have been playing one-day cricket and are in very good nick.”