Last year when the Champions League was played in South Africa, the Indian franchise teams that qualified for it had a tough time negotiating the pitches there.
Like in India now, it was the early part of the cricketing summer there and so the pitches were fresher and harder and so had a bit more bounce. The Indian franchises also had their quota of overseas players, so it was not as if they were all from India but they did struggle to cope with the pitches there and went out of the competition early.
There were plenty of snide remarks from the South African media about the Indian franchise teams’ inability to adapt, and even one overseas player playing for an Indian franchise was smirking on TV about his Indian teammates’ failure to play on the surfaces there. He forgot that just the season earlier, his national team had been bundled out for under 50 in a Test match there by the South African pace battery.
While the Indians at least have an excuse that they don’t play on fast bouncy surfaces at home nor do they have express bowlers in their domestic cricket and so are unused to playing pace and bounce, what about the teams that have similar pitches and have strapping fast bowlers in their domestic cricket? What excuse do they have for getting dismissed for under 50 in a Test match?
This year three of the Indian franchises are in the semifinals. So now that teams that play on hard bouncy pitches are out of the semifinals, should we be also be dismissive of them like the South African media was, or that international player was of Indian franchises last year?
Should we be poking fun at them for the inability to play the spinning ball? Fortunately we are not made that way, but there is no harm in reminding that doing well on all surfaces is what makes great players and great teams and not just on their kind of surfaces.
Trinidad and Tobago are a team that traditionally have spin bowlers in their cricket, and so they are used to playing spin bowling and that’s why they have done well in all the Champions League games so far.
Their win over Chennai Super Kings in the last of the group matches was a magnificent one, and if they play at the same level, then Mumbai Indians will have a tough fight on their hand.
Mumbai Indians have won the Champions League earlier, so they know how to get out of tough situations and that was evident in the IPL which they won earlier this year. It promises to be another thriller.
Professional Management Group