South Africa players might not have the last laugh in IPL

Kings XI Punjab have no players from South Africa in their squad but Preity Zinta’s fears, it seems, are unwarranted. The team owner had expressed dismay that her team might lack knowledge of local conditions after franchisees packed with SA cricketers and coaches came out patting themselves on the back following IPL’s relocation.

Royal Challengers have most number of SA players – five – and even an ex-South African coach in Ray Jennings, while Chennai Super Kings follow with two players. Mumbai Indians too have a South African coach in Shaun Pollock. Some other teams, though, have now come out saying SA-origin players might not prove to be such an advantage in a multi-starring league. ‘‘It’s flawed logic to suggest SA-based players might help,’’ TA Sekhar of Delhi Daredevils told TOI. The Daredevils have the power-packed AB De Villiers in their squad.

‘‘Just look at the quality of the league,’’ Sekhar suggested, ‘‘Each team has at least five or six big names, if not more, who have played in South Africa before and done well. Do you think a Ricky Ponting or a Virender Sehwag will perform worse or better than an Albie Morkel or Van der Merwe? ‘‘Of course, knowledge of local conditions is required but remember, India won the T20 World Cup in SA and most of those players are in one team or another. Besides, this is a T20 game which can go any which way.’’

Earlier, Shaun Pollock had told a website that Bangalore has a ‘‘slight advantage’’ since they have five players from SA. Ray Jennings, too, was quoted as saying: “Our team may have more of a home base as we have six players if you count Kevin Pietersen, the captain’’.

However, a Delhi player said: ‘‘Cricketers these days are expected to play in all sorts of conditions. Last year some big SA cricketers drew flak for their attitude. Many thought they were not serious enough about the IPL. This year they will have to pull their socks up since they are playing at home and the spotlight will be on them. So will it be that much of an advantage?’’

SA players in each team

Royal Challengers Bangalore: 5 (Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn, Dillon Du Preez, Roelof Van Der Merwe)
Chennai Super Kings: 2 (Makhaya Ntini, Albie Morkel)
Delhi Daredevils: 1 (AB De Villiers)
Deccan Chargers: 1 (Herschelle Gibbs)
Mumbai Indians: 2 (JP Duminy; Ryan McLaren)
Rajasthan Royals: 2 (Morne Morkel, Graeme Smith)
Kolkata Knight Riders: None
Kings XI Punjab: None

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