Proteas not a big factor needed to win IPL
Having a few South Africans in the ranks may help but it's not a must and whichever team plays best would win this year's Indian Premier League according to King's XI Punjab seamer Irfan Pathan.
The Mohali-based side does not have a single Protea in their ranks but Irfan does not see it as a huge disadvantage.
"Of course it would help if you have some South Africans in the side, for the event is taking place here. But I don't see it as a huge handicap for us," the left-arm seamer said.
"We played the Twenty20 World Cup here and won it, South Africa did not. So I don't think you necessarily need to have South Africans to win IPL this time," the Baroda all-rounder said.
"At the end of the day, whichever team plays better will lift the title," he added.
Irfan also dismissed suggestions that gelling with teammates would be a problem this year as the side got too little time to camp together.
"On the contrary, I think we had more time this year, at least 10-12 days to mingle with each other. Besides we have played nearly two months together last year," he said.
Irfan's brother Yusuf said he would miss playing before home crowd but was still braced up to give his best to the tournament which proved a turning point in his career.
"Of course I would miss the home crowd but IPL gave me the name and fame that I have today and it's coming again. So I just cannot wait to get into the action," said the all-rounder who played a crucial role in Rajasthan Royal's triumph last year.
Asked if Rajasthan Royals captain Shane Warne had already assigned him a role, like the Australian had done to all his teammates last year, Yusuf said, "Not yet. First we would get a good idea of the wickets and conditions before roles are assigned."
Like him, Irfan too said he would miss the frenzy that surrounded the inaugural edition of the Twenty20 extravaganza but was still happy that the tournament was finally getting underway.
"When I heard that IPL is being shifted to South Africa (after it clashed with Lok Sabha elections), I was relieved at least it's taking place. But I did feel for the fans as well," Irfan said.