IPL 5 lacks in quality

The likes of Dravid performing will no doubt please the franchisees and fans but it hardly helps the future of Indian cricket.-AKHILESH KUMAR

The consistency shown by Sehwag, Gambhir, Rahane and Dinda will delight the Indian fans but in the overall scenario, most of the players who figured in the tri-series in Australia and the Asia Cup have flattered to deceive.

The IPL is getting into the final stages with the points table suggesting that there are no clear favourites (at the time of writing) as far as the top four slots are concerned with the difference between the teams in terms of points being very slender.

This will help in bringing crowds to the venues besides retaining the excitement aspect of the IPL. Of course, several games went down to the last over if not the last delivery to provide a lot of thrills but one has to say that the quality of games were not necessarily of the highest order. I suppose one of the reasons for the quality of games being slightly below par is due to the fact that some teams are over dependant on foreign players.

This might suggest that spreading out of talent too thin as a result of the addition of two teams a couple of seasons ago has not helped in certain ways. The axiom “more the merrier” may not be relevant as far as IPL is concerned and more importantly this IPL edition has not brought forth any promising talent which was primarily what the IPL was expected to do. The tournament thus far has been dominated more by the South Africans and Australians which only is an indication that Indian cricket per se has not benefitted.

The consistency shown by Sehwag, Gambhir, Rahane and Dinda will delight the Indian fans but in the overall scenario, most of the players who figured in the tri-series in Australia and the Asia Cup have flattered to deceive. The likes of Dravid and Tendulkar performing will no doubt please their franchisees and fans but it hardly helps the future of Indian cricket.

The IPL is a platform for aspiring cricketers to make their presence felt and along those lines there are many who have squandered away almost three quarters of the tournament. There have been some odd sparks emanating from Veer Pratap Singh, Maneria, Mandeep Singh to name a few but these youngsters are still a few miles away from the National reckoning. Nonetheless, they need to be watched with more than passing interest as they have shown some ability amidst the superstars of the tournament. These guys are playing to prove their worth and hopefully they will keep their drive in tact in the future as well.

On the other hand, the most sought after young cricketers like Sourav Tiwary, Uthappa, Vinay Kumar and Manish Pandey have let their teams down apart from denting their reputations. This clearly suggests that ability and attitude generate performances and it is not the huge salaries that guarantee results. If at all, inherent attributes like talent can be corroded by the fantastic sums some are paid. I am not lamenting about cricketers making money but more about the fact that financial security is being converted into weakness when it should be the biggest strength.

A lot of youngsters have faded away as well after the initial success in the earlier editions of the IPL which again only proves that cricketers can lose sight of their priorities rather easily if they are not careful. The skills required for succeeding in IPL can be different to that of those required to succeed in other formats, a point that perhaps escapes some players.

An ideal example of this is Murali Vijay who went about changing his style of batting completely after getting big runs in the IPL. The last couple of seasons have been extremely challenging for him and it was good to see him employing the conventional methods in his batting in the game against Mumbai Indians. By this I mean that he was looking to hit through the line rather than across it. The thought of getting quick runs for the team's cause is alright but it cannot be done by adopting methods that are alien to one. The Husseys, Tendulkars and Dravids have proved time and again that playing to one's strength is the key to success in all formats. In other words, they are aware of their limitations and play within them.

The IPL does pose some intriguing challenges in more ways than one but at the same time, it can also help players to evolve and become more knowledgeable about their own game. The ability of a player to think is really tested during the tournament as also on either side of it. During the tournament things happen too fast which means that one needs to be thinking on his feet to hold one's own. On either side of the tournament the players play different formats of the game and as such, it requires revision of thought process as well as adaptability. I think some of the Indian players are finding it difficult to find a balance between what is required to succeed and how they utilize their inherent qualities to perform for the IPL. Hopefully, the last quarter of the tournament will see the Indian players performing at their best to make IPL 5 an absolute success.