IPL teams exposed, came off second best
With the three IPL teams - Deccan Chargers, RCB and Delhi Daredevils - getting knocked out in the Champions League, the event has lost a lot of zing and popularity stakes.
Critics are now also questioning the standard of the lucrative IPL which is part of the Indian domestic calendar. Has the Champions League exposed IPL in some ways?
One of the main reasons for the flop show of IPL teams, according to some players and officials of IPL teams, is the fact that while many foreign teams are playing like cohesive units because they spend a lot of time together, the IPL teams didn't have the advantage of being together for sufficient time.
"In an IPL team, players hardly get time to get used to their teammates so team bonding is difficult. For the Champions League, many key members of the three teams were busy attending national duty and were not available till one or two days before the matches started," a Daredevils player told TOI.
"To play as team, you have to develop an understanding of what the team exactly needs from you and how one can perform as a team. If we are not spending enough time together, then it's a problem. In the IPL it doesn't show because all the teams are more or less at the same level, but that's not the case in the Champions League," the player added.
That also explains to some extent why the IPL teams were looking less than prepared for CL. Several top players did not get enough time to plan and prepare for the T20 event.
Daredevils were also undone by injuries to key men like Daniel Vettori and AB de Villers. Meanwhile, RCB's bowling was weak while Deccan depended too much on a few individuals, like skipper Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds. Another reason was that some leading lights of IPL teams opted to play for teams from their own country, thus weakening the IPL units. All this negated the home advantage that the teams had.
The lacklustre show of the IPL teams have also surprised teams from abroad. "It's a big surprise. It's one of those things which no one thought when we came here," said Jean-Paul Duminy, the Cape Cobras batsman. But he added, "You got to give other teams the credit too. They have shown good form in this tournament."
Meanwhile, Cobras coach, Shukri Conrad opined, "We thought the IPL teams were going to be the favourites at home. So, obviously it's big surprise but T20 is such a game that no one is really favourite. I think the massive crowd added to the pressure of the Indian teams."