So the second edition of the IPL is set to begin soon and the final team make up of each and every team member is slowly falling into place. We at i3j3cricket carried out a thorough review of each team’s chances in IPL-2. So, if you are in charge of picking the players for your team, who would you pick (leaving the $ side of things aside)? To rephrase the question, what criteria would you apply?
Here is a bunch of things, that I would consider.
Prefer availability over ability
For the team to perform consistently, you need the same players to be around for the entire tournament – even if you are rotated out/rested from the team. It allows the players to settle down into a role lot more easily and the team to play around them. Teams like Chennai started with a bang and started to struggle once Hussey and Hayden left. It took them a while to get back the rhythm, where as teams like Rajasthan which had Warne and Watson play through the whole tournament had a lot more consistency. There are a few people (from England, Australia and West Indies) playing in the IPL this year too, who will partially be away on national duty and this will affect the teams a fair bit, I think.
Prefer strike rate over average
Unlike other forms of the game where consistency and high average would rank very high as a selection criteria, I would be looking for people with a good strike rate who can come in and score 30-40 runs if required. Obviously, people who can score hundreds would be terrific. If you score a hundred in a 20 over game, you probably have a high strike rate too – but I am being realistic here. A quickfire 30-40 is good enough in this game and that is the reasons I rate Sehwag very highly in this form of the game – he had a strike rate of around 185 in the last edition of IPL and still managed to score over 400 runs (in 14 games). So, what would be a good strike rate? I reckon anything above 150 is phenomenal if you have an average of over 20. Obviously, average is important too – if you have a strike rate of 300, but average just 6 runs every game (first ball six, second ball out), that is not very good. If you average 40+, then any strike rate of over 100 is good.
Prefer economy rate over wicket taking
I put economy rate ahead of wicket taking mainly because a good economy rate usually leads to wickets themselves. There are people who take wickets in every game, but end up leaking a lot of runs – they are not really well suited for this form of the game. So, what is a good economy rate? If you bowl 4 overs every match and concede less than 6.5 runs every over, I consider that as very good. If you take 2 wickets per match in addition, I would have you play every game 🙂 – Only Sohail Tanwir was able to achieve the feat of conceding just 6.46 runs/over and averaging 2 wickets a match in last year’s IPL – I think this may be a bit hard to beat. On a realistic note, any bowler who concedes under 7.5 runs would be a good pick, particularly if he can complete his entire spell every match.
Right mix of specialists and bits & pieces players
Every team needs a couple of players who can swing the bat a bit, bowl a couple of overs and field really well. These players do not have to be genuine all rounders (like Flintoff or Watson, although I’d take them too), but people who can be thrown in the deep end and be expected to play any role that is given to them – like the Pathan brothers (although I wouldn’t call their fielding electric). At the same time, you need a mix of genuine specialists in your team – like a Gambhir with the bat or a Murali with the ball – who are good just in one role.
So, what would you consider?