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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Cricket Columns

Imports vital for league
Javagal Srinath
April 23, 2013
First Published: 23:31 IST(23/4/2013)
Last Updated: 09:49 IST(24/4/2013)

The performances of teams in the T20 league depend, to a large degree, on contributions by Indian players because they form seven of the eleven players in the team, but there is no exaggerating the value of overseas players, especially the experienced ones who bring their vast knowledge and skills honed in different parts of the world.

Already this year, veterans like Mike Hussey, Shane Watson, Chris Gayle and Jacques Kallis have proved their worth time after time. There was a time when players from Australia and England in particular found it hard to tour India because they were unfamiliar with the conditions and due to the fact that these teams came only every five or six years.

Financial hub
With India becoming a strong cricketing entity and financial hub for the game, England, Australia and South Africa tour more regularly and a lot of their players have bought into the Indian culture. That helps them perform to their optimum. On Monday, Watson and Hussey showed how much at ease they are in Indian conditions.

Watson kick-started his international career following his successes for Rajasthan Royals in 2008. Now, with his career at the crossroads, he is again taking the league route to bigger things. His hundred in Chennai would have been a match-winner eight times out of ten. However, CSK had their own hero in Hussey, who has for six seasons now been an integral part of the side and also mentors young Indian cricketers.

Match winners
It is this role embraced by the likes of Hussey and Kallis in particular that makes them special. They are match-winners but by also guiding the youngsters, they are adding greater value to the franchise in particular and Indian cricket in general.  Look further and you also have such accomplished veterans as Muttiah Muralitharan, Brad Hodge and Brad Hogg.

Others like Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist haven't yet found their bearings this year but their franchises will still derive pleasure from the off-field contributions of these legends that, even in international retirement, have so much to offer to the game.

TCM/Hawkeye
The writer is a former India pacer


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