05 February 2009

The Royal Conundrum?

In the IPL’s first year, the unheralded Rajasthan Royals, a coalition of hardened professionals and fearless youngsters, demonstrated the value of team work over individual brilliance and experience. In a format that often rewards individual brilliance with a win, the Royals marched to victory on bits and pieces contributions from the mighty Australians, the temperament Pakistanis, the Goans and the powerful Pathans.

The lack of expectation would have gone a long way in the Royals being able to play their brand of cricket. As would have the leadership qualities that Warne demonstrated - the heart of a gambler helps- he was the adhesive that held together and strengthened the coalition.

But, would the Royals would have won without the performances of Pakistan’s best fast bowler or the world’s best all-rounder in Shane Watson – definitely not. Yet, as the IPL juggernaut completes an entire circle, the Royals start this season as defending champions, a title that will force each and every member of that outfit to carry a tremendous burden. Champions that would otherwise have carried this pressure for the Royals have been forced out by injury (Watson) and ridiculous political posturing (Tanvir) by Pakistan, leaving only the experience of Warne, the guts of Salunke and the power of Pathan to battle the might of other cash rich franchises.

The Royals need atleast one of the world’s most explosive batsmen and one of the world’s canniest bowlers if they are to launch a viable defense. Peterson’s flair and relationship with Warne would undoubtedly allow the Royals to mount an Arsenal like challenge, but like the addition of Arshavin to Arsenal, it is not going to be enough to hold the fort. In any event, he is too popular and too expensive for the Royals. Freddie perhaps- a man who is second best only to Watson and would without doubt, form permitting, elevate the Royals to the status of title contenders? Or Duminy, Stuart Clark or Samit Patel?

It does make for an interesting auction tomorrow and I for one can’t wait to see who Warne wants. Whoever it is, Warne will be in his element, for he will be betting close to a couple of million dollars over performances on which he will eventually have little control!

As an aside, since there is a two million cap on each franchisee, what happens if more than one franchisee bids two million for the same player?


John said...

Thankfully, the insanity stopped at 1.55. Trust you to point that out.

TM said...

Its amazing what corporate law can do to a guys head. They were both probably worth it though. But Henderson is probably the smartest buy of the lot - his batting and bowling for Middlesex were superb and he can field. Plus, being a small name, he should fit into the Royals. All said though, Chennai is going to be too strong to beat this year - maybe an upset in the finals, but nothing is going to stop them from getting there