IPL 2013

Local, low-profile and effective

While several IPL teams focus on roping in big names from across the country to fill their Indian players' quota, the Hyderabad franchise, for one, has shown this season that a strategy built around promising locals can work

Amol Karhadkar

April 21, 2013

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Hanuma Vihari sets off on a run, Sunrisers Hyderabad v Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL, Hyderabad, April 7, 2013
Hanuma Vihari is yet to make a name for himself on the Indian domestic circuit, but he is still key component for Sunrisers Hyderabad © BCCI
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There are many ways to describe Friday night's game between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. A battle of sub-standard batting, a duel between low-profile teams, a test of nerves... While all these tags can be debated, what cannot be argued is it was a tussle between two IPL teams who have continued to back local talent.

One of the main objectives at the time of floating the IPL was to promote local talent. As a result, rules like presence of a minimum of four players from the catchment area and as many under-22 players in the squad were introduced. But as the tournament started evolving and the stakes were raised higher and higher with every passing edition, success on the field overrode these idealistic undertakings for virtually all the teams.

As a result, the number of players from the BCCI's affiliated state units that the IPL franchises are based at was steadily on the decline, especially following the big auction in 2011. While most of the teams have preferred to sign-up Indian players of repute from various parts of the country instead of looking at their own backyard, three teams seem to have got the balance right.

Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab and the Hyderabad franchise have always leaned towards home-grown domestic players. More importantly, while other teams have preferred to make several of their local players warm the benches, these three teams have made effective use of the local talent at their disposal.

With R Ashwin, M Vijay and S Badrinath having earned India caps, Super Kings hardly have a slot for another local who can be drafted in to the squad. However, despite the absence of big names - not only on the international stage but even on the domestic circuit - the Hyderabad and Mohali-based franchises have consistently allowed local talent exposure on the IPL's big stage. While Delhi Daredevils have just four players, including Virender Sehwag, from Delhi in their squad of 27 this year, Kings XI's squad of 25 includes nine players from Punjab and Haryana.

Thus players like Manan Vohra and Gurkeerat Singh, and Hyderabad's Hanuma Vihari, Akshath Reddy and Ashish Reddy - who are far from having established themselves as a force on the domestic circuit - have risen in confidence over the past two years. So what is it that has kept these two teams backing their local talent?

"We cannot forget that it's a Kings XI Punjab team, so talent from the catchment area is of paramount importance for us," Arvinder Singh, Kings XI's chief operating officer, says. "And it's not just for the heck of promoting the regional cricketers that these players are on board. These guys have shown they have the potential. And home conditions is something that all of them are used to."

"I feel it's time to encourage local talent. And eventually we should reach a stage wherein, while the international players remain important, the seven local players end up being the decisive factor in the IPL." Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor VVS Laxman

Sunrisers mentor VVS Laxman feels it's time the teams recognised that the key to success is the seven Indian players in the side. "The seven Indian cricketers that are in the team need to perform for the team's success. While you have four overseas players, it's so important for your domestic players to perform," Laxman says. "We're really lucky that we've got some young players from Hyderabad who can be match-winners for the franchise - not only now but in future too. These are players who have everything in them in order to serve the franchise with great distinction.

"I feel it's time to encourage local talent. And eventually we should reach a stage wherein, while the international players remain important, the seven local players end up being the decisive factor in the IPL."

With very little time to prepare with the whole squad together ahead of the IPL season, the presence of local players helps in building a conducive team environment as well. "It always helps when an IPL squad includes a decent number of local cricketers. Not only do they know the conditions very well, they help a great deal when it comes to team bonding," former Mumbai Indians coach Lalchand Rajput says. "Look at Chennai Super Kings. Since many of their players play together round the year, it doesn't matter whether they've have spent enough time together in the Chennai Super Kings camp."

Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors have emerged as teams who have bothered little about local cricketers, especially this year. While Pune Warriors haven't signed a player who represents Maharashtra, Mumbai Indians have so far opted to bench four of the Ranji Trophy-winning cricketers who are a part of their squad this season.

Despite having star-studded line-ups, both the Mumbai and Pune teams are yet to find consistency with their performances. The Hyderabad outfit, on the other hand, despite having the weakest batting line-up on paper, finds itself sitting atop the points tally. When they face Warriors on Sunday, will Kings XI also prove that under-rated locals are indeed more valuable than reputed imports?

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by JamesSmithee on (April 24, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

My personal idea is Sanga must come back to the team and must open the batting. De Cock is hitter but Sunrisers need someone who can anchor the inning. Except Sanga there is no experience to this batting line up. Last match proved that they are unable to chase 120 unless perera.

Posted by JamesSmithee on (April 24, 2013, 16:20 GMT)

I feel Perera is doing extremely well with bat ball and in field. Styne , Mishra consistently playing good roles. Bowling is the strength of the side except Perera. He bat well in most of the matches.

Posted by   on (April 24, 2013, 6:47 GMT)

wat the article say , is true .RR,SRH,have promoted local talent very well.if they are not performing, give them another chance.they are new to the setup and with time they will improve and will perform for the team. personally i feel srh lost out in the batting dept. batting is really the weak link.but after dhawan comesit would have improved .parthiv is due a big innings as he got starts but threw away his wicket, white has to be more consistent.to my knowledge lynn has played only 1to2 matches.duminymissing ipl due to injuries has hurt the team a lot. but we can still m,ake it to the playoffs.SUNRISERS ARE NOT THE DARK HORSES, THEY ARE THE RISING STARS.

Posted by   on (April 24, 2013, 5:02 GMT)

One thing a lot of people ignore is that CSK backed local players only until 2010. That's when Vijay, Ashwin, Badri, Balaji, Anirudha, Gony, Tyagi, Jakati all emerged and did well. But ever since CSK cracked the winning combination and won the IPL and CLT20 in 2010, they became risk-averse and didn't give unknown local players a chance anymore. Abhinav Mukund got frustrated warming the bench and packed his bags to RCB. Guys like G Vignesh and K Vasudevadas warmed the CSK bench for two years and didn't get a single game. That's now happening to Baba Aparajith and Vijay Shankar. Those guys are carrying drinks while perpetually underperforming players like Murali Vijay get chance after chance because of one good innings every year. It's about time CSK quit its risk-aversion and recaptures the adventurousness that built the first great CSK team in 2010.

Posted by RD_TEST_CRIC_FOREVER on (April 22, 2013, 12:14 GMT)

how u skipped Rajasthan Royals from this........ i guess in all 6 IPLs it was only team who backed young indian talent giving superstars like jadeja yusuf...... and improved version of RAHANE ....

Posted by pratit on (April 22, 2013, 11:46 GMT)

While it is ok to back local talent, it is always better to have a couple of recognized Indian players in the lineup. Otherwise it just puts too much pressure on the local guys who do not have much big-match experience to fall back on

Posted by I_m_AKS on (April 22, 2013, 9:58 GMT)

I always feel that IND have wasted a bowling talent like siddharth trivedi, who could have been a good asset for them in the shorter formats.

Posted by I_m_AKS on (April 22, 2013, 9:48 GMT)

There are some great talents still sitting out in the dugouts of all the teams. rasool, pandey ,sandeep, siddarth, aparijith, zol and all are still not getting their chances. All teams should keep an eye on them and provide them enough opportunities because they are the one who will represent IND in future.

I have to say that I am surprised that shami has played just one game and great to see rahul shukla bowling with 140+ speed, he can be a great bowling asset for future if continues to bowl with that kind of sheer speed.

Still along way to go, hope the teams think about the future of team IND.

Posted by Ravishines on (April 22, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

May be you forgot to mention about RCB here. They have not supported much of local talent. But its not bad compared to others like Mumbai Indias and Pune Warriors. Vinay got his India cap from RCB. S Aravind was a hero with the ball 2 seasons back. Manish Pandey and Mayank Agarwal got a name playing for RCB. They have tried guys like KP Appanna, KL Rahul, Mithun, Karun Nair who plays for Karnataka.

Posted by AnyoneButVettel on (April 22, 2013, 9:05 GMT)

@Scrop: You got it backwards. Patel is incapable and non-performant while the Reddys are giving more than they've got. @Suresh: Hanuma Vihari played the anchor role in 2 matches so far, who else has done it consistently for SRH? He's not a big-hitter but at least he's holding the innings together for guys like Perera and Ashish to have a hit. Samantray also played well. I'm particularly impressed by Ashish Reddy's commitment. SRH fans are well aware that batting is the weak link and it's a difficult ride ahead, but it's not just the local boys, even the foreign batters are not performing well except Perera. It's disappointing that he's not allowed to play in Chennai but we just have to respect our fellow citizens' sentiments. When Dhawan gets back, Parthiv Patel has to go as either de Kock or Sanga can keep wickets.

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