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IPL and Ranji: Of Re-Slotting and Mumbai's Early Exit

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - SEPTEMBER 24: Anul Kumble of Royal Challengers bowls during the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 semi final match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on September 24, 2010 in Durban, South Africa (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
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Linus FernandesAnalyst IIOctober 30, 2016

If you don’t like the bracket you’re in, you can re-slot yourself in a higher one. That’s the message Saurav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble have sent out.

The four were initially categorised into the 200,000 USD fold. IPL rules allow players to increase their base price and the members of the Fab Five (Tendulkar is the fifth) have chosen to do so.

None of the four were retained by their teams. Speculation as to why the four were not in the initial top bracket is useless. The IPL has done little to enhance reputations. VVS Laxman has struggled, Ganguly shone amidst his team’s inconsistency and Dravid is just coming to terms with T20 cricket.

Dravid has averaged 24.27 in 37 innings, Ganguly 27.13 in 38, and Laxman a measly 14 in 17 bats. It is fan power that will get them the franchisee’s vote. Can that alone ensure better performances?

Mumbai have only themselves to blame for being knocked out of the Ranji Trophy by new entrants to the Elite Group, Rajasthan, in the quarterfinals. The 2010 champions crashed to a first inning 252. Their opponents batted them out of the match amassing a huge 589 in reply. The 290 for one in the second innings was little consolation.

The 39-time champions tried out 23 players this season—never a good sign. Wasim Jaffer believes that although Mumbai did not have a strong enough bowling attack (the bench was mediocre), it was their much vaunted batsmen who let them down.

For Rajasthan, the victory is a vindication of their detailed planning and an indication that the gap between the top teams and those on the fringes has narrowed significantly.

With players from second-string teams making the national side (MS Dhoni is from Jharkhand) and much needed exposure in the IPL, the spread of cricket beyond the big cities to the mofussils has never been more evident.

 

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