Senior Players are Assets to Youngsters in IPL (A Rebuttal)

Rajat JainSenior Analyst IMay 5, 2009

India have won two cricket World Cups, in 1983 and 2007, and both have been the biggest upsets in the sport’s history. While the first World Cup was the tale of a lowly placed team defeating, arguably, the mightiest cricketing side of all times; the second World Cup was the story of a group of unknown young players defeating the world’s established ones. 

The 2007 T20 World Cup also highlighted the need of phasing out the senior members of the Indian side, and breed the next generation. The lessons learned were applied to the ODI team, when all seniors except the Little Master were left out of the team.

The move has paid rich dividends since then. The new and fresh ODI side has slowly healed the wounds of the dismal ODI World Cup 2007. The team has registered significant victories at home and abroad, and had been threatening the world’s best teams.

The selectors and fans are confident that YOUTH is the future of Indian Cricket. The newly announced squad for the T20 World Cup, 2009 confirms the theory.

The announcement for this squad has since sparked the debate of the inclusion of seniors in IPL. After all, IPL is supposed to be the breeding ground for youngsters and the senior players have blocked the way of some exciting young talents, who could have proved their mettle in the international arena.

Through this article, I present my case against the above thoughts presented by a fellow B/Rer. 


The case of IPL 

IPL has been designed to be a global tournament by the inclusion of players from every country. The globalization is the key to this tournament, since it provides the players an experience of playing an international contest.

Players of the caliber of Gilchrist and Jayasuriya demands a lot of money, which can be only generated by sponsors. Lets face it. The sponsors require adequate publicity of the game, and the tournament without Sachin and Ganguly would not attract enough interest in the game, which in turn would not entice the sponsors.

Sponsors are the necessary evil in this tournament.


Lack of opportunities to youngsters 

In my opinion, seniors have not blocked the way for the youngsters. Let me present an objective analysis.

Each franchise is allowed a maximum of four non-Indian players in the final eleven. If we exclude them, it leaves us with at least seven Indian players per franchise. Multiply it eight times, and you end up having Fifty Six Indian players in the IPL!

If we further ignore the final 16 of the T20 World Cup, and the five senior players (Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman and Kumble), we end up with a total of THIRTY FIVE new youngsters who have been given a chance to prove their mettle – that is a whopping 41 percent of the team composition!

The fact that forgotten test players like Wasim Jaffer, Sanjay Bangar and Akash Chopra have managed to sneak into various franchises only strengthens my argument.


Seniors as mentors 

I present two situations to highlight the importance of these oldies.

1.   Yuvraj Singh happily waved the bat towards Tendulkar after scoring a century against the likes of Murali and Mendis in Sri Lanka. He dedicated the century to Sachin after the latter provided him useful suggestions to counter the spin wizards.

2.   Ganguly was single-handedly driving Knight Riders towards victory, with the inexperienced Yashpal Singh for company. Yashpal Singh was constantly enlightened by the wealth of ‘Dada’ during the crucial end overs of the game. He did not follow Sourav’s advice for two balls, and got out on the third. Ganguly was furious, and Kolkata lost the thriller.

It is not for nothing that experience is the most prized asset in international sports. The mere presence of these legends is enough to pump up the adrenaline in the inexperienced, and lays a platform to learn playing in critical situations.

To cut the story short, the quality of mentoring provided by the legendary five players to thirty five prospective talents is much more valuable than fielding forty young players left to themselves.


I rest my case.