Mahela Jayawardene: IPL helping India churn out talented players

“It (IPL) has not stopped producing young talented cricketers for the Indian set up. The process has been much far and quicker compared to other countries,” the Mumbai Indians coach said.

“Currently, we (Mumbai Indians) are focussing on one game at a time.”   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene believes India’s domestic structure has improved significantly in the past 10 years and thanks to the Indian Premier League (IPL), the country churns out talented players faster than others.

“It (IPL) has not stopped producing young talented cricketers for the Indian set up. The process has been much far and quicker compared to other countries,” said Jayawardene, who is coaching Mumbai Indians in the ongoing IPL. “They get exposure through IPL having international cricketers come over here, so most of the guys have done well in the IPL to represent India,” he said ahead of his side’s match against Delhi Daredevils on Saturday.

“It (IPL) obviously pays, but at the same it has got things to do with the way the Indian domestic structure has evolved in the last decade or so. When you go to the states you see facilities have come a long way in the last 10 years. It has also contributed,” said the Sri Lankan great.

Among the current crop of talented players, Jayawardene is especially impressed with left-hand batsman Rishabh Pant. Mumbai Indians will have to find a way to contain Pant in its match against Delhi Daredevils here on Saturday. The tournament has also seen senior India players and Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma return from injury.

Asked how Rohit is shaping up ahead of the Champions Trophy next month, Jayawardene said: “In Rohit’s case, he came back from a very serious injury. We wanted to make sure we get him on the park, he gets that feel of playing cricket. In the first few games we were careful about how he goes about [things]. He has not played any competitive cricket and came for IPL. He has been a great leader for us, he has taken lots of responsibilities and different roles this year. At number four, he has been brilliant. He has led the team the way we wanted and gradually he is getting better in the second half of the season,” he said.

‘Too far ahead’

Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja also recovered from injuries before playing in the IPL.

Asked whether IPL is the reason for injuries ahead of Champions Trophy, Jayawardene said that would be looking too far ahead. “Well (laughs), that will be like thinking too far ahead. Champions Trophy is still almost one month way. See, Virat had a long summer, he has been playing non-stop cricket and needed a break and came back. For us looking from outside, the first game he came back to play against us and scored a 40-ball 74. He just batted beautifully, while Bangalore as a team has been up and down. This is hard to say. These big stars will have to perform day in and day out, they are humans. You need to give them a bit of leeway, they are all match winners on their day,” said Jayawardene.

He also spoke about the mindset of Mumbai Indians, which became the first team to qualify for the playoffs with eight wins from 10 games. “Currently, we are concentrating on one game at a time. Just trying to make sure we get into good habits. We have Hyderabad to come (at Wankhede), then two more good games,” Jayawardene said.

“[We want to] make sure we keep the ball in the right areas and see the areas where we need to improve. And make sure we are consistent in areas where we are doing really well. We have not really gone too far ahead of us. IPL is like that, you have to live in the moment rather than go beyond it.”

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :