By Veturi Srivatsa
It is now clear that most countries hardly care for the performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) when they pick their intertiol sides. One of all-time great West Indian fast bowlers, Curtly Ambrose, may have even spoken up for his board when
he said players cannot have best of both worlds and still walk into the tiol side whenever they wish to.
Ambrose has taken a moral view, that if a player howsoever high and mighty is not available when the team wants him the team cannot invite him with open arms when he wants to return to the fold just because he is free from lucrative contractual obligations.
Ambrose, who is now a bowling coach in the Caribbean, is obviously emboldened to speak his mind out only after his side drew the Test series 1-1 with England without someone like Chris Gayle, who had said soon after the World Cup that he was not fit for a five-day Test.
Ambrose questioning all those who made themselves uvailable for selection for the series is legitimate and fair to those who served the side well utilising the opportunities.
The point Ambrose, perhaps, missing is that at the age and stage of their careers Gayle and Bravo, if not Sunil rine, Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons, are clear that their future is in the Twenty20 tourments world over and they are prepared to rough it out as cricketing gypsies.
Ambrose, who has 405 wickets from 98 Tests in a 12-year career (1988-2000) held out a veiled threat, that the IPL stars from his regiol islands must bear the consequences of deserting their regiol side.
The Antiguan is turning out to be a vjot Sidhu. Like the former Indian opener, who spoke in monosyllables during his playing days and now a non-stop compulsive talker, the fearsome bowler was seen as a reticent person who only made the ball in hand talk. His autobiography was aptly med ‘Time to Talk’ and ever since his book came out, he has plenty to say about the incidents he rrated in the book.
He is to a great extent right, when the West Indies are trying to build the GenNext side under a 23-year-old baby-faced all-rounder Jason Holder, there cannot be any place for interlopers who want to pick the series they want to play and the tours they want to make.
The Australian, South African and New Zealand boards have no problem with their players making some good money so long as they are not fatigued and are available to play for their country whenever they want them to. Luckily for their players their domestic seasons do not clash with IPL unlike the West Indies and the England circuits.
What is IPL’s influence on the selection policies of various boards? The Indians seem to be taking it quite seriously, their explation being they could see the temperament of a player even if he is only bowling four overs and batting for some 10-odd overs by the mainline batsmen and five in the case of sloggers.
Quite a few have been lucky to force their way into the teams for shorter formats and a couple even into the Test side. Good thing is they are being persisted with even if they fail to come good in a couple of games. Axar patel, Mohit Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, man Ojha, Stuart Binny and Karn Sharma got into the reckoning on their IPL performances even though their domestic records have also been quite decent.
Australians like Glenn Maxwell and James Faulkner feel they got into the Australia’s World Cup squad on the strength of their excellent showing in the IPL. Practically the entire Australian side played in this year’s IPL, including their Test captain Steven Smith, One-Day vice-captain George Bailey, Shane Watson, David Warner, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Johnson and Shaun Marsh. Aaron Finch pulled his hamstring badly very early in the tourment and had to return home.
The South Africans had strong representation by their dashing captain AB de Villiers, Jean-Paul Duminy, David Miller, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Albie Morkel, Quinton de Kock, David Wiese and Rilee Rossouw.
The Black Caps had their highly successful captain Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee, Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Kane Williamson, Matt Henry, Mitchell McCleghan and Adam Milne.
The intertiol turn out proves the popularity of the IPL whatever may be allegations and the inherent ills. The Indians turally are at full strength and the rule of allowing four overseas players to play in the eleven helped many youngsters to blossom. In such company of great players, any performance by the young Indians is bound to show up.
Have the Indian selectors are guilty of overstressing the IPL performance at the expense of domestic showing. Perhaps, not, but the perception remains when new faces have also been big performers in the IPL.
The complaint is the tons and tons of runs scored in domestic cricket and the bagfuls of wickets do not seem to matter. The selectors must speak to these hard-working domestic stalwarts, unfairly dubbed as domestic Bradmans and Lillees and Warnes and explain why some of them don’t get picked.
This year’s IPL has again thrown up some fearless hitters and big-hearted bowlers and they feel this is the way to go.
(Veturi Srivatsa is a senior jourlist. The views expressed are persol. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)