The teams have begun to take stock of their gains and losses as the Indian Premier League enters an interesting phase. Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors can see the dead end not in the far distance.
They will have to perforce go through the motions with little gains from their experience thus far.
These two teams have struggled to stay afloat. The stalwarts have not delivered and that has hurt the team’s chances hugely.
In terms of investment for the future too there has been little progress as foreign recruits have excelled and served the teams better.
The domestic ‘talent’ has withered after blossoming early. Manan Vohra, Manpreet Singh Grewal, Siddharth Trivedi, Mandeep Singh have managed to shine once, which, by any standard, cannot be rated high.
Inconsistency has been a consistent feature involving the Indian ‘stars’ and fringe cricketers, like the much-hyped Ambati Rayudu and Unmukt Chand, have looked out of place against quality bowlers.
Overseas players have shown greater commitment and winning form.
Michael Hussey, with four Man-of the-match performances, has propelled Chennai Super Kings while Chris Gayle has guided Royal Challengers Bangalore with three Man-of the-match trophies thus far.
But the most pleasing show, from the Indian perspective, has come from leg-spinner Amit Mishra and young stroke-player Hanuma Vihari, both keeping Sunrisers Hyderabad in the fray.
At 30, Mishra, a wily leg-spinner, is an enviable combination of rich experience and talent to fox batsmen. With 14 wickets in this IPL, the Haryana bowler is enjoying his cricket.
“It is important to perform when the team has such faith in you. For me, individual awards don’t matter if the team doesn’t win. The winning moment is important for me,” said Mishra, who has hardly received recognition for his brilliant show all these years.
Mishra, Man-of the-match thrice, has become more innovative.
“You have to be fresh and have to come up with new ideas. I do all that a spinner can do. I vary pace and flight, use the crease, because my strength is taking wickets. I like beating the batsman by flight. You can see the spinners have matured in the IPL with experience and have come to command respect,” noted the leg-spinner.
For 19-year-old Vihari, the IPL platform is a medium to showcase his talent to a big audience.
Two match-winning roles have endeared him to his team management.
In the opinion of V.V.S. Laxman, the youngster is worthy of “investment” for the future.
“He has very good temperament and that is very essential to succeed as an international cricketer. He also has the right technique to play spin and fast. He’s got a lot of potential,” said Laxman.
As the IPL gains momentum, attention will be focused on performers like Mishra and Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja and Rohit Sharma; even as the domestic talent spread over nine teams looks to make some impact in this edition of the IPL where bowlers have compelled batsmen to share space.
The bat-ball battle is set to intensify.