Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sachin Debuts in IPL

Sohaib Akhtar made a dream debut in IPL for the Kolkata team; can Sachin do the same for the Mumbai Indians?

Mumbai Indians currently ranked seventh in the IPL T20 points table. They desperately need to win if they want to stay in reckoning for the IPL semifinals.

Mumbai Indians will value Sachin Tendulkar’s presence more than his contribution with the bat or ball in Wednesday’s tie against Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium. He is the team’s third captain in eight games; his match fitness is a grey area.

Tweny20 can be cruel on seniors depending on reputation to assert themselves, instead of winning a place on the basis of their utility to the team. Time has come that they prove themselves.

Chennai Super Kings bowlers will not allow Tendulkar the breathing space to get into groove in Wednesday’s tie at the Wankhede Stadium. Time has come to for his to claim his reputation.

The batting legend can be useful in a holding role at the crease, allowing the stroke players from opener Sanath Jayasuriya to number six Abhishek Nayar to push up the scoring rate.

Tendulkar, the skipper, making an entry into the IPL at the halfway stage is a different issue. T20 captaincy requires quick decision making to change the fortunes of a game.

Shaun Pollock slipped into that role smoothly and is best placed to carry the momentum forward, building on the experience of last four matches, winning three of them. The South African’s all-round ability helped him assume leadership in the bowling department and backed it up with valuable knocks lower down the order.

The players knew he was in control and responded to his way of getting things done. Now after a working relationship has been established, Mumbai Indians players are being asked to follow a new leader.

Tendulkar is getting used to the dynamics of T20 cricket from the dugout, watching the team come through a trial by fire under Pollock, winning home ties against Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals to develop into a side worthy of respect. Chennai Super Kings coach Kepler Wessels, asked about the prospect of facing Tendulkar in an away game, said: “Our team is looking forward to the game. It is a privilege playing against one of the game’s greats.”

Stressing on the value of captaincy in T20, the coach explained: “Captaincy plays a very important part in Twenty20 cricket. Sachin is a very experienced player and should be able to handle the situation.”

Its crunch time for Mumbai IPL team. Only time will tell if Sachin comes through in the Twenty Twenty format and makes his mark in the Indian Premier League (IPL)

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