Thursday, March 4, 2010
Deccan chargers preview
So, with IPL coming up I thought of previewing all the 8 teams in the championship. First up, I would look at last year's champions Deccan Chargers.
Deccan Charges finished at the bottom of the pack in 2008, but what a turnaround it was in 2009 as under the captaincy of Gilly and Lehmann being the coach of the side they lifted the IPL trophy in 2009. So, can they repeat that feat this time around?
If I have a look at their team they have some big guns like Gilly, Symonds, Ryan Harris, Rohit Sharma, Dwayne Smith, Roach and the promising youngster from Australia Mitchell Marsh. Gibbs too can be considered, but he isn't in the form of his life, though if he gets a chance on good batting tracks in India he can be on fire.
The one major factor I always look at would be Indian players as only four foreign players can play in a match and they won't be available for all the matches. So, it is important to have promising Indian talent.
If I look at this team, it can be surely said that Rohit Sharma is a fine T/20 player as he can play some powerful shots and has the ability to innovate. He hasn't been good in one-day cricket as it looks like he can lose his concentration and not get big hundreds, but in T/20 cricket a quickfire 30 or 40 would go a long way in helping the team's cause to get a good score as it is only about 20 overs. In T/20 cricket, strike rates can be a huge factor. Sharma was superb in the 2008 IPL and even in the 2009 edition he did well. Deccan Chargers have the trio of Suman, Teja and Rao, but none of them possess good strike rates, nor do they have good averages. Yes, I see that Suman made a few decent contributions last year, but it can be a achilles heel for the team as three of their Indian players don't seem to pull their weight in the side. Of course there is Laxman, but since relinquishing the captaincy after a disappointing 2008 season when they finished last, he has rarely been selected in the team and whenever was selected he looked out of sorts. I don't think T/20 suits his style of batting as he takes time to settle down before playing his shots.
Among the Indian bowlers, there is the experienced RP Singh, but the last time I saw him he was bowling at about 75 miles per hour. It is true that a drop in pace would affect any bowler. At his best he can keep the batsmen honest by bowling at about 85 miles per hour. Yes, last year Singh was very good as he took 23 wickets, but at the moment seems to be a bit off colour. Harmeet Singh is another medium pacer in the side, though hasn't been penetrative enough in the IPL. Among the Indian bowlers, I reckon their trump card would be Ojha. The left arm spinner did well last year and his restrictive bowling is well suited to the T/20 format moreover, on Indian pitches he should be even more effective.
If I look at their Indian players I may have gone for Absolem and Rayadu. I have seen a few saying that Absolem can bowl good line and length. He was also successful in the ICL. Rayadu too seems to be a promising batsman and did well this season, but I see that he has been picked up by the Mumbai Indians.
Among the foreign recruits, they have some fine players like Harris, Roach, Symonds, Gilchrist, Gibbs, Smith and the promising Mitchell Marsh. Symonds has retired from international cricket and would be likely available for the entire season. He is a great asset for the team with his power hitting, fielding and him being a decent bowler in the shorter formats of the game. In that sense he is a game breaker. Gilly too has retired and in 2009 did show that he has lost none of his ability to get big scores in quick time in crucial matches. For instance, he played well in the semifinals against the Dare Devils, who were just shell shocked by the clean hitting of Gilly and lost. Gibbs too can be dangerous, but hasn't been in the best of touches in recent times. Dwayne Smith did reasonably well last year and can be a dangerous customer as he with his power hitting can take the game away from the opposition ranks very quickly.
Among the bowlers, Harris has improved beyond recognition. He used to struggle to get into the Queensland side in the Sheffield Shield, but nowadays is known for his ability to bowl at good pace and can get those yorkers in at the death. He can come in very handy for the team as Vaas has retired from international cricket and at the age of 36 he is no more the bowler that he was in the past. Roach is young and quick and in T/20 quick bowlers can make a huge difference as they can take wickets. T/20 is a fast paced game and a wicket can change the nature of the game. So, if the quick bowlers can get it right they can be very useful for the team. Mitchell Marsh impressed everyone in the under 19 world cup and is one of the players to watch out for in this tournament.
Now I would like to pick their team
I have pipped for the big hitting Dwayne Smith, though I really thought of picking Roach as he can get wickets early in the innings. I gave a thought to picking Laxman, but Bilakhia is a young player and Laxman just doesn't seem to be suited for this format and his fielding too isn't good. I still feel that management could have bought both Absolem and Rayadu.
IMO the batting would depend on Gilly giving them quick starts with good support from the likes of Sharma, Symo and Smith. The bowling attack is reasonably good as there is Harris and of course a lot would be expected from Ojha in the middle overs. I do expect Smith and Symo to offer good support, but at the moment I'm not convinced about Singh.
Deccan Chargers have a good team, but if big guns like Sharma and Symo don't fire in the middle order it can be their achilles heel as few of their Indian batsmen in the middle order don't seem to be very good T/20 players.