Two-and-a-half weeks into the IPL and it’s time for the teams to restrategise. Some have lost their key players with the England versus West Indies series coming up shortly and it’s time for them to rethink their plan of action.
The worst hit has surely been Team Hyderabad, and the attack which looked so potent with Fidel Edwards around is not half as effective.
Team Hyderabad skipper Adam Gilchrist acknowledges that Edwards’ departure is a big loss. “He has been absolutely brilliant for us, giving us those starts,” Gilchrist said, but is quick to point out that the team had lost even when Edwards was around.
“It’s more of a hiccup than anything else, and with back-to-back games, things can turn around very fast,” Gilchrist tried to sum up the situation.
But Team Chennai skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no doubt whatsoever that without Edwards Hyderabad are not the team they used to be.
“A bowler who can consistently bowl at 140 K does make a huge difference. In this format, the only way to stop the opposition from getting the runs is to take wickets and Fidel could do that,” Dhoni said.
His team, too, has been affected by the loss of Andrew Flintoff, and even though Dhoni has maintained that he would have liked Flintoff to stay on for the whole tournament, sources in Chennai ranks insist that they now know what their exact composition is.
“Flintoff is obviously a great player, but he was probably not at the top of his game. Now, it’s down to Albie (Morkel) and (Jacob) Oram and they know what is expected of them,” the source pointed out. But what the team management is a touch wary about is the injuries that may crop up from here.
“Albie bowled with a strapped knee on Monday, but we’re hoping he’ll be fit. It’s crucial for us that no one gets injured now,” the source added.
Another team to have coped well with the departure of their star is Royal Challengers. They have won back-to-back games under Anil Kumble after Kevin Pietersen left.
“We knew KP won’t be around and we were ready for it. It was my decision to make Anil Kumble the captain and the team has responded well under him,” team owner Vijay Mallya said. Kings XI Punjab, too, have suffered a blow with Ravi Bopara leaving for the Test series. Shaun Marsh, too, is not available and the opening combination is a bit of a worry for Yuvraj Singh’s team.
“Ravi had settled in beautifully with the team. But at the end of the day, it’s a call-up from the national team for Test cricket, and there’s not much you can do about it,” coach Tom Moody sounded a little worried.
The opening combination will also give a few sleepless nights to KR coach John Buchanan with Chris Gayle leaving for West Indies duty. With Buchanan reluctant to use Sourav Ganguly as an opener, it’s to be seen how he works out a formula to fill in for Gayle. “Chris is a matchwinner and we’ll have to find a replacement. But, then, McCullum is also not in the best of form,” he said.