CAPE TWON - The Champions League T20 is in full swing, but there is a burning question on everyone’s lips: why are the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams struggling so much?
The four teams from India – Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils – have only one victory between them from six starts, which was achieved by Delhi against KKR.
The idea that too much cricket is being played is always at the forefront of any debate about sub-standard performances, but why then are the likes of the Lions, Titans and Auckland Aces performing so well?
It could be argued that the Lions and Titans are playing on home soil and know the local conditions better than any other team. Yet the same cannot be said for Auckland, who are more used to playing on the low, slow wickets that are produced in New Zealand.
Former Proteas, and now Delhi Daredevils coach, Eric Simons, said that he is not surprised at the situation.
“Success depends so much on combinations and the IPL guys do not play a lot together and there is not a lot of time to prepare,” Simons told supersport.com.
He did state, however, that the South African pitches also have had a role to play.
“When you have grown up playing in certain conditions then your reactions are instinctive. It is obviously also an advantage that Titans and Lions players are so familiar with the stadiums, the people…everything. It would have been a surprise if they had not performed well,” Simons said.
One could assume that when these “less fancied” teams tackle an IPL team, they lift their game and play above themselves.
Is it perhaps a fact that the IPL players are merely playing for the money and not for the pride of the franchise they represent?
The fact that the IPL teams can play four overseas players against the two for non-IPL teams, gives the IPL teams a distinct advantage. This advantage is enhanced even further with the IPL teams being able to pick their players from any other team.
“I agree the IPL teams have advantages, but I refute the idea that IPL players are only interested in money – certainly not at the Daredevils.
“People said that Kevin Pietersen was playing for money but he has been the model professional for us, completely committed to the team. From what I’ve heard from other coaches, they say the same thing about their superstars.”
Simons, who spent 18 months as bowling coach of the Indian national team under Gary Kirsten, dismissed speculation that television ratings in India could drop drastically with the likes of Chennai and KKR on the brink of elimination.
Should Mumbai lose against Yorkshire on Thursday, they too could face early elimination, leaving only Delhi to carry the Indian flag.
“People just love watching good cricket, that would not affect it at all”.
When asked if his local knowledge was the reason behind Delhi’s success so far, he responded: “Not at all, the make-up of our side is more suited to the South African conditions, with our bowling attack and our stroke-makers at the top of the order, it has more to do with that than me.”