Many have criticised the Indian Premier League as being less about cricket and more about entertainment. But it is very serious cricket business that is played by cricketers from which we can all learn lessons.
So, on the cusp of IPL 5, I take a look at some of the superstars of the game, and how you can match the players in your Twenty20 team to similar roles (even if the talent levels are not as high).
Here are my top Twenty20 roles:
Sachin is the opposite of the clichéd view of a Twenty20 player. He plays proper cricket shots all round the park. The only difference between his first-class and IPL game is that he scores off more balls.
This is good to know for the ‘classical’ batsman who plays at club level and worries he needs to bash it to be a success. As long as you know how to drive straight, play well through the leg side and rotate the strike then you will be able play your natural game in T20.
Equally as box office as the little master, Pathan is a far more typical T20 player. His clean strike of the cricket ball is the biggest of his all-round strengths. He takes the game away from the opposition.
If your side is blessed with a player who has a great eye and a long handle then you can use him like Pathan. Don’t worry about his technique, ugly runs are still runs. Make him your impact player, give him free reign to bash it and avoid complaining when he fails (as he is more likely to do than classical batsmen).
Really fast bowling is a double edged sword in Twenty20. With a new ball swinging around, close catchers in the opening overs and uncomfortable pace your fast man can get you early breakthroughs which can destroy an innings.
On the other hand, the ball can fly off the bat and give your opponents a great start. So like Lee you need a bowler who can switch from wicket mode to defence mode. Give him the new ball and see what happens but if he doesn’t come off then make sure he has a decent Yorker and bring him back at the end.
Every cricket team in the world has the guy who plays an unorthodox game, but they play it so well they get away with their differences. This guy is your Kevin Pietersen.
Give him the freedom to put the ball into unusual areas (wherever that may be) and he will have confidence that rewards you with runs. If you want to know more about playing the KP way, click here.
It’s impossible for any Indian player to be under-rated - the hype around every one is astounding - but Praveen Kumar is certainly close. He bowls seemingly innocuous medium-pacer swingers that shouldn’t worry anyone but has such drive and nous that he is incredibly effective.
Street-smarts combined with control go a long way to overcome a lack of pace. As most bowlers at club, school and Academy level are not terrifyingly quick, you have a chance to mould them into Kumar style bowlers.
Learn to swing the ball, learn to read the batsman and learn how to bowl the perfect yorker and you have a great T20 bowler, even if he isn’t searing the ball past people’s noses.
Ryder’s problems have been well documented alongside his talent. And while I hope nobody has issues as serious as Jesse has seen before returning to the IPL, there is every chance you have the talented player who is distracted by other things too.
Manage this player as well as you can, realising that he has other priorities and you can’t do anything about them. It helps if the captain can build an environment in the team that makes him want to be there. Twenty20 is good for that because it’s all over much faster.
For more ways to coach and play Twenty20 cricket, enrol on the online coaching courses in Revolution: Twenty20 Playing and Coaching Bundle, available now for clubs, schools, Academies and players to get instant access.