Aakash Chopra Draws Focus on 4 Trends of IPL 2017

Indian bowlers being used in death overs.

Updated
Opinion
3 min read
Mumbai Indians with the IPL trophy. (Photo: BCCI)

Tenth edition of the Indian Premier League will be remembered for various things – two best teams in the league phase making it to the finals, two teams participating for the last time, Warner’s consistency, Dhoni finishing in style, Kohli’s six over covers, Afghan presence, some breathtaking fielding efforts, liberal usage of the knuckle ball and more.

Here are the four things that stood out for me in this edition.

1. Reverse Swing

Out of the top ten wicket-takers in this IPL, 7 are fast bowlers. It’s quite a departure from how things used to pan out in earlier editions, for spinners were increasingly having a bigger say with each passing edition.

Since the pitches are tired and dusty by April-May, conditions were always conducive for spinners to play a bigger role. So, were the conditions a lot different this year? Didn’t we have the same quality of spinners in this edition? As far as the pitches are concerned, there isn’t a radical difference from what we witnessed in the past. In fact, this season we’ve seen spinners having a major role to play at the traditional feather bed in Chinnaswamy. And barring the absence of Ashwin, we haven’t missed any of the top-flight spinners too.

The key factor that has titled the balance in seamers’ favour is the presence of reverse-swing. Earlier the ball wouldn’t tail back in as sharply in the latter half of a T20 innings but this edition has been different. While the reason of bowlers extracting more reverse-swing is unknown, its presence and effect can’t be denied.

Jaydev Unadkat was instrumental in Pune reaching the final. (Photo: BCCI)
Jaydev Unadkat was instrumental in Pune reaching the final. (Photo: BCCI)

2. Indian Bowlers in Death-Overs

For the first 9 editions of the Indian Premier League, team selection was based on finding overseas bowlers to bowl in the death overs. In the past, there were only few Indian fast bowlers who could be trusted with bowling the final overs but this season there’s been a visible spurt of Indian seamers bowling in the death overs.

While Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah have continued to shoulder that responsibility, it’s the likes of Thampi, Siraj, Kaul, Unadkat who’ve taken this IPL by storm. Their presence and contribution is not only good news for the IPL but also, great news for Indian cricket.

Yusuf Pathan was left in the dugout by KKR in the play-offs. (Photo: BCCI)
Yusuf Pathan was left in the dugout by KKR in the play-offs. (Photo: BCCI)

3. Change of Guard

The second eliminator between MI and KKR not only decided who earned the right to play against RPS in the finals but also, served as an indicator of the times to come. Both MI and KKR benched their two key Indian players (Harbhajan and Yusuf Pathan), and that marked the beginning of a significant change in guard in the IPL. Till a few years ago, even the thought of benching key Indian players for important games was considered preposterous, but not anymore.

This year also saw stalwarts like Gayle, Smith, Faulkner, Angelo Mathews etc. getting dropped at various stages of the tournament. The newer Indian and overseas players have started taking centre-stage and it’ll reflect in next season’s auction too.

(Photo: BCCI)
(Photo: BCCI)

4. Ordinary Umpiring

Umpiring becomes the talking point only when it’s substandard and it’s unfortunate that there’s been a lot of chatter about the umpiring decisions throughout the IPL. While there’s indeed a dire need to raise the standard of Indian umpires, there’s another a case to take a giant leap in providing the right assistance to the on-field umpires.

On many instances we witnessed a wrong umpiring decision made and the replays verified that the mistake has been committed even before the next ball was bowled. Now, commonsense should allow the third-umpire to communicate it to the on-field umpire and therefore change the decision. Unfortunately, there’s no provision to do so and that’s why an error, however blatant, isn’t rectified. Since IPL is a domestic tournament, it can bring about a radical change in everyone’s mindset. If the ICC sees merit in what’s happening in the IPL, they’d be obliged to make the change into a new law.

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