Champions League 2013 September 16, 2013

Tendulkar and Dravid's limited-overs farewell

Rohan Sharma
Five things to look forward to in the fifth edition of the Champions League T20

Tendulkar, Dravid sign-off in coloured clothes

If there ever was a reason to tune into the Champions League, then consider the fact that this will be the last time Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid feature in a limited-overs tournament.

Dravid will have extra incentive to sign off on a high, not only for himself, but for his much beleaguered Rajasthan Royals franchise. Tendulkar, on the other hand, will be buoyed for different reasons as his Mumbai Indians franchise enter as IPL champions, and former winners of the tournament. Expect added intrigue when both batsmen mark their guard, with the home crowd leading the tributes.

Sangakkara for Kandurata
In what became an extended soap opera, Kumar Sangakkara, who has been an IPL regular since its inception, was put on the spot by the SLC to decide on whether he would represent his Sri Lankan franchise, Kandurata Maroons, or play for Sunrisers Hyderabad. In the end, he appeased the Sri Lankan board by choosing Kandurata.

With the addition of Sangakkara, Kandurata now boasts of a strong T20 squad. Nuwan Kulasekera is a dependable opening bowler, while Rangana Herath has experience and guile. Their biggest threat, though, is Ajantha Mendis, who holds the record for best T20I figures.

Misbah in a T20 avatar

After being dropped from the national T20 squad following Pakistan's series loss against England in the UAE, Misbah-ul-Haq has become one of the most consistent batsmen in limited-overs cricket. Since his last T20I in late February 2012, Misbah has scored 1306 ODI runs in 34 matches at an average of 52.24. Prior to that, his average was 10 points lower, at 42.31. He has also hit 13 half-centuries in that period, which is sizable when you consider he has 31 in all.

With Faisalabad Wolves qualifying, this tournament will provide a chance for the Pakistan captain to stamp his authority on the shortest format, and hopefully find a route back into Pakistan's T20I team. His domestic record this year highlights his form, as he finished as top scorer of the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup. He was the only batsman to crack 200 runs, and managed to score them at a healthy strike rate of 140.

Trinidad & Tobago bring the flair

Trinidad & Tobago enter each T20 tournament as one of the favourites. This time, they also possess the number one ranked T20I bowler in Sunil Narine, while also harbouring some dynamic batsmen as well. A top order of Adrian Barath, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo can be a handful for any bowling attack, while Samuel Badree, the legspinner, can open the bowling with competence.

T&T's recent tournament record has not been good, having failed to make the semi-finals over the last few years, but they did feature in the inaugural final. With the confidence of West Indies' T20 World Cup win, and a number of those players representing T&T, they start the tournaments as strong contenders.

South African franchises bolstered

With some premier IPL teams not making the cut, a number of South African players, who would otherwise have been first-choice picks for their respective IPL franchises, now find themselves back in their domestic sides. Titans and Lions represent the South African contingent this year, with both sides featuring a number of accomplished players.

However, the failure of Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore to qualify for this year's tournament means that players such as AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel are available for selection. Titans will be boosted with the arrival of de Villiers and Morkel, while Lions will enjoy having Quinton de Kock and Lonwabo Tsotsobe back in the fold. This provides a huge bonus to their chances at progression into the semi-finals, as most of these players have the ability to turn the course of a match.

Rohan Sharma is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chetan on September 17, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    Joy and excitement to watch these players when they come out to bat will be missed. Already missing Sachin coming out and open to bat in One Day Internationals. Sadly this day has to come one day.. Thank You for the entertainment and best of luck in the future...

  • Roshan on September 17, 2013, 17:42 GMT

    I am truly amazed to see how many people are bidding their fond goodbyes to Rahul Dravid, many more in this comment stream are doing that then saying their goodbyes to Tendulkar. Dravid truly is my cricketing hero - India would not be where they are today without him.

  • Kaushik on September 17, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    I have no words for them. One is TRUE WALL. I just idolize him, adore him. he has given so many jovial moments. And about the other: the generation to come (say after 100 years from now) will be shocked to know that a once upon a time a person with such talent actually walked in this planet in blood and flesh.

    A warm hearted salute to you.

  • gurinder on September 17, 2013, 13:02 GMT

    farewell to legends of the game . enjoy ur retirement mates. u served INDIA and world cricket well./ good luck in future. want Dravid to head bcci in near future. he will be an able leader.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    As in the picture, Dravid always stood tall than the master but he was shadowed with the glitter of tendulkar. Both are great players, but i admire Dravid way higher for his self-less style through out.

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    Anxious to see how Sangakkara performs in this year's Champions League T20 for his domestic side; Kandurata Maroons. With his current prime form he will surely be the one to watch out for by the opposition teams in the qualifying stages and it does'nt stop there as the team is jammed with power packed T20 players. #GO-KANDURATA.

  • Vikram on September 16, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    Dravid was the highlight of the last IPL, with his inspiring captaincy in leading a group of novices and his own un-selfish performances. People like Shane Warne and Dravid are hard to come by!

  • Dummy4 on September 16, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Two great legends batting for the last time in colours......will be a treat to watch Go well Sir Dravid and Sachin .U have been great ambassadors of the game.

  • Tushar on September 16, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    If their ever was a person who inspired people to fight and overcome the odds, it has to be Dravid. His transition from a "test-only" batsman, to an ever reliable limited overs WK batsman who scored 11000 runs, to a T20 player (Not to mention captain in all the three formats) has to be one of the great success stories of Cricket. He is my Idol, and it will be hard for me to believe that he will never take the field after this tournament, as hard as when he announced retirement from Intl's. I just hope the young and unfancied RR unit gives everything they got so that a legend, a humble servant of Indian cricket, and the true gentleman in every regard, can finish off a magical journey with a happy ending..

  • Pradeep on September 16, 2013, 13:23 GMT

    Wall is closing in on the cricket field, Just one last time !!! Thank You....Rahul Dravid.