We are through 17 matches in the 60-game extravaganza called IPL and we are yet to see a few young Indian players striking a name for themselves or announcing themselves with a big bang.
Except for Mumbai Indians – where Shikhar Dhawan, Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu and R Sathish have had modest but consistent contributions at every opportunity – none of the teams matches have seen the fringe guys make an impression beyond the odd match. Manvinder Bisla got a half century but players like Pradeep Sangwan (Delhi Daredevils bowler) and T Suman and Jaskaran Singh (Deccan Chargers batsman and bowler) have failed to cash in on the numerous chances their captains have given them. Only Praveen Kumar and Virat Kohli have shown the spark but they have already made their mark in the Indian team.
The contribution of the non-international players remains vital and that has kept the Mumbai Indians on top of the table – with the masterly Sachin Tendulkar, of course – despite the failures of Sanath Jayasuriya, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, the richest signing of IPL.
Which prompts one to ask, Tendulkar has fired on three occasions from four and one can’t see anyone as captaincy material in his absence. What happens to MI when Tendulkar hits a lean patch or is injured. Can they afford to give him a rest simply to recharge his batteries? Don’t think so.
While it is important for the costliest franchise, before Pune and Kochi join the bandwagon, to reach the finals at least, it is also important for the grand old man of cricket to preserve his body for the future. Thankfully, from his own point of view, he does not have to play in the Twenty20 world cup that follows immediately.