CLOSE-IN: Gavaskar Can Help IPL Regain Glory

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CLOSE-IN: Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory
By [/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Yajurvindra+Singh Yajurvindra Singh]
Published: 23:18 BST, 13 April 2014 | Updated: 23:18 BST, 13 April 2014
[ ] [ ] [ ] </a> [/indiahome/indianews/article-2603864/CLOSE-IN-Gavaskar-help-IPL-regain-glory.html#comments
comments] BCCI interim head Sunil Gavaskar seems calm about the task ahead

The most popular and controversial cricket tournament, the Indian Premier League (IPL), will shortly commence in the Middle East.

The richest cricket carnival, in its seventh edition, has now matured and runs like a well-oiled machine.

The professional approach by each franchisee has created a platform for skilled support staff in every area of operation. Each one of them has set targets and a measurable return on investment.

This has, therefore, made the IPL a unique India-centric property that is now being followed by other Indian sports like hockey, badminton, tennis, football and kabbadi.

By nominating Sunil Gavaskar to head this year's IPL, the Supreme Court of India has given the league that added flavour.

Sebastian Coe did wonders as a sporting hero and made the 2012 London Olympics a resounding success. And our cricket legend has abundant acumen and experience to do the same with the IPL.

An accidental meeting with him a few days ago was truly heartening.

Sunil seemed calm, collected and proud to have been recognised and singled out to rebuild the dwindling image of Brand IPL.

His comment to me was typical of the way he batted when India needed him the most.

"I am batting with a straight bat," he said with a smile.

He had said the same thing when he went out to score one of the most technically-perfect innings of 221 against England at the Oval, London, in 1979.

This year's IPL will be very competitive as each team has been well-thought-out and structured.

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players.

Teams have realised the importance of the seven Indian faces that actually are the differentiators around the four 'foreign' pillars.

This has augmented very well for the young and the established Indians who over time, one hopes, will exude the aura and confidence that we now see in Virat Kohli.

Kohli will be leading the RCB and along with him are some of the most destructive T20 players in Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Yuvraj Singh.

SunRisers Hyderabad, who possess the likes of Dale Steyn (left) and Darren Sammy, have the potential to win IPL 7

Every opponent will have one major problem and that would be to set a target for these four formidable opponents.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians do not look as threatening this year. They have some aging performers and two talented all-rounders in Corey Anderson and Kieron Pollard, and both are recovering from major injuries.

KKR seem to be weak in their batting as most of their batsmen are not in the best of form and Kallis after his retirement may not be a major threat.

KXIP have some dynamic pinch hitters in the Australian duo Bailey and Maxwell and will need Sehwag and Pujara to fire to make them successful.

Rajasthan Royals have done well in the past because of their Indian talent pool but with matches this year being away from Jaipur, they will need to get their act together in alien conditions.

Daredevils, under the captaincy of the flamboyant Kevin Pieterson, can be a forceful side this year, as apart from Duminy and Ross Taylor they have Dinesh Karthik and Kedar Jadhav.

The team that did reasonably well last year and looks to have the potential to be the champions this year is Sunrisers Hyderabad.

They have a good bowling outfit in Dayle Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma with Mishra and Rasool as spinners and Irfan Pathan and Darren Sammy as bowling all-rounders.

Having Dhawan, Warner and Flinch as their top order batsmen, they seem likely to be one of the leading contenders, if they can curtail the RCB batting.

(The writer is a former Test cricketer)