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IPL experience will boost India’s chances in England, believes Ian Chappell

IPL has had a great impact on playing standards and India’s aggression in approach is best reflected in their fielding.

cricket Updated: May 28, 2018 00:02 IST
IPL,Indian Premier League,IPL 2018
Virat Kohli (R) will be looking to improve his Test batting record in England in the upcoming bilateral series.(BCCI)

The IPL has enjoyed another highly successful season featuring numerous nail-biting last-over finishes and a tension-building scramble amongst teams vying for a place in the final.

In its eleventh season the IPL has certainly not lost, and if anything only gained in lustre. Players from all round the cricketing world are desperate to win a contract and become involved in what is widely considered the most glamorous and definitely the most rewarding of all the T20 leagues.

In addition to the financial benefits the IPL has brought Indian cricket, the league has had a huge positive effect on playing standards. Since the advent of the IPL, Indian teams are more confident and aggressive in their approach to the game and nowhere does this better show up than in their fielding.

The overseas influence on Indian cricket through the IPL has resulted in a more combative national team, confident in its ability to match it with any opposition. There’s nothing like playing with and against international stars on a regular basis to help young players discover that, despite their great skill these lauded individuals are still vulnerable to a good delivery or capable of bowling the odd bad ball.

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The young Indian cricketers who once grew up revering players from other teams like Australia, England and the West Indies have been replaced by those who idolise the likes of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni. Where a young Indian player in the past often lusted after a meeting with his idol from overseas, now they dream of replicating the deeds of Kohli and Dhoni.

Indian cricket is now at a point where there is serious competition for places in all the national teams and it’s a matter of perform or perish. Gone are the days when a player --- selected to play in a Test against Australian tearaway Jeff Thomson --- exclaimed; “Why me?”

Or the times when rather than wanting to compete at the highest level, the ambition of some young Indian tourists went no further than attaining a cap and blazer to proudly display to their friends back home.

India is now the envy of the cricket world when it comes to producing skilful young batsmen. It’s going to be an interesting clash when India meet England later this year; while the tourists are spoilt for batting choices the hosts are stumbling from one top-order collapse to another.

There was a time when an Indian tour would’ve been warmly greeted by England batsmen as an opportunity to find form. With India now producing not only bowlers of pace but those who are also seam savvy, they’ll relish the opportunity to cause further disarray among England’s top-order.

READ | IPL stops players from growing in first class cricket, says Andy Flower

This highly anticipated clash will also be one of diverging cricketing cultures. While India is riding high on the back of IPL riches and success, England is trying to forge a path like a blind man wielding a white stick. The next addition to an England summer schedule that already resembles a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey is a 100 ball competition that has the backing of few outside an administrative clique.

While there appears to be great uncertainty among players surrounding this competition, there can be no doubt that the scatter-gun approach to England’s domestic cricket schedule is having an unsettling effect on the country’s batting prospects.

The fragile England batting will be further tested by Kohli’s captaincy, which features a strong desire to seek victory from the outset. By constantly probing for a win, Kohli is also challenging his own players to produce their best in tight situations. The fact that the Indian players are now constantly facing tension-filled situations and dramatic close finishes in front of big crowds at IPL matches has helped to hasten this learning process in the international arena.

There’s no doubt India can be thankful for the high-profile IPL and the positive influence it’s had on the national team. This extremely successful venture could be about to pay even bigger dividends in the UK.

(Ian Chappell, former Australia cricket team Test captain, writes for Hindustan Times exclusively.)

First Published: May 27, 2018 12:29 IST