Mumbai Indians scout reveals criteria for selection in the IPL
Another scout, from a top IPL franchise, has also been travelling around India to scout talent through the zonal T20 tournament.
Updated - Jan 10, 2018 5:31 pm
Among the players who have prospered after the advent of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and developed as a regular in the Indian cricket team are Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah — who took the Mumbai Indians ladder and became an indispensable part of the Indian team because of success through the cash-rich league.
Former India cricketer and a renowned coach for many years, TA Sekhar, laid out a blueprint for what it takes to come under the radar of the selectors in the IPL. On Tuesday, Sekhar was in New Delhi as an IPL scout to catch the North Zone battle, between Delhi and Punjab, of the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament.
Variations and powerplay advantage
“We are looking at fast bowlers who could bowl during powerplay as well as during the death overs. If it is a spinner, he should be able to bowl an over in the powerplay and contain batsmen, who are known for going after bowlers,” Sekhar told Sportstar.
“A fast bowler should have variations — yorkers, slower balls, slow bouncer and the bouncer. He should be able to use all the variations effectively,” he added.
The veteran was a key strategist with the Delhi Daredevils till the last edition of the tournament. This season, he moved back to Mumbai Indians and is currently helping the franchise plan its army ahead of the mega-auction scheduled later this month.
Criteria for each batsman
In the case of batsmen, the eligibility and requirements were clearly defined for each role-from the openers, the middle-order batsman and even finishers.
“If it is an opening batsman, then we are looking at how he handles fast bowlers and whether he can hit the ball or gives away more of dot balls. A middle-order batsman should be able to rotate the strike. We are also looking at a batsman who can hit sixes and fours in the last four overs,” he revealed the cut-off.
Sekhar also demarcated the difference in quality between the IPL and the domestic stage. “A fellow who has done well in domestic cricket may not deliver the same at the IPL stage,” he added.
Fitness is priority
Two players now out of the Indian team’s scheme of things — Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir — slammed half-centuries — 50* (40) and 66 (54) — respectively in today’s game between Delhi and Punjab, which the latter won by two runs. Sekhar acknowledged the performances of the seasoned players and mentioned that their main focus was determining their fitness.
“We know what they are capable of. We are now looking whether they are fit. IPL is a tournament, where every player wants to be fit. People are unfit during the domestic season but they are all getting fit before the IPL. I think IPL is the best physio,” he reasoned.
Though Sekhar is primarily known for being a bowling coach, he didn’t divulge names of bowlers who impressed him in the game. “It will create unnecessary pressure on the players and I don’t want that.”
Another scout, from a top IPL franchise, has also been travelling around India to scout talent through the zonal T20 tournament. On the condition of anonymity, he said, “We are looking at players who are IPL-ready. By now, the cricketers are aware of the demands of the league.”
Since the auction, scheduled on January 27 and 28, is going to be strategy-centric most franchises have kept mum about the vision and policy they are going to adopt for the season.
“We have specific inputs from the directors and management. It is difficult to talk on the kind of players we are looking at,” quoted a source close to Royal Challengers Bangalore.