Cricket Australia Items/Blogs/justin-langer/2013/9/19/cricket-in-india-is-stimulating

Justin Langer

Cricket in India is stimulating

19 September 2013 1

Not only is the prize money enticing to the players and the franchises, but the spectacle of the Champions League is one many of the domestic players could only dream of.

Playing cricket in India is a wonderful experience.

Every sense is stimulated.

From the moment you step outside the airport, the heat, humidity, smells, sights and chaos, greet you like a friendly stranger.

The look in the eyes of our first time visitors is intriguing. Usually the young guys try and remain cool and calm but you can see in their eyes a sense of wonderment.

Even the seasoned tourists look fascinated by the scenes that are so foreign to what they/we are used to in our western destinations.

Driving in from the airport last night, the scenes of people sleeping on the streets, cars using their horns as the only seeming road rule and motorbikes riding like a slow motion MotoGP is breathtaking, because it is so different than we are used to in Australia.

The biggest cricket challenge for most visitors is adapting to the spinning pitches and suffocating pressure employed by India's masters in their own conditions.

Not only do overseas batsmen have to adapt to playing high class spin bowling, but also the visiting spinners have to adjust to the fearless batsmen who look like they can play the spinning ball blindfolded, or with a cricket stump in their hands.;

Rarely do the pitches favor fast or swing bowling, so any advantage there, is usually nullified within an over or two with the new ball.

Because of these reasons most of the teams, including the Perth Scorchers, enter the tournament as underdogs.

In the case of the Scorchers, many of the players who may have changed this tag are unavailable over the next three weeks.

The Marsh brothers, Shaun and Mitchell, are both out with hamstring injuries, Pat Cummins a back problem, Alfonso Thomas was not released from his county side Somerset, who are fighting to stay in the first division in England, and Mike Hussey and Nathan Coulter-Nile are both playing for their respective IPL teams.

These omissions could be paralysing for most teams but the Scorchers have exciting depth and if nothing else they will be a closely-knit unit who are well prepared for the challenges ahead.

Any team who has a leader of the calibre of Simon Katich is sure to be competitive.  Having captained NSW to victory three Champions Leagues ago, his experience and calmness under pressure will serve his young team well. 

Alongside Simon will be Brad Hogg, a winner of two ODI World Cups for Australia, Adam Voges, Australia's current middle order specialist and Australian Test representative's Michael Beer and Marcus North.

The remainder of the Scorchers squad is made up of some of the most exciting young talent in Australian cricket. 

Ashton Agar's Test debut in England a couple of weeks ago will be tattooed into the folklore of Australia's proud cricket history.  His natural ability is unparalleled.  

Along with him, a few of his young team mates may not yet be household names, but they are exciting players to watch out for. 

Ashton Turner, Joel Paris, Sam Whiteman, Jason Behrendorff, Hilton Cartwright and Tom Triffitt are hugely talented kids who could put their names up in lights over the course of this exciting event.     

Whilst experience is against them, their untapped ability will be best served if we can encourage them to play a style of cricket without fear.

Often, when you are an underdog this is your greatest weapon, because, on the surface you have less to lose than some of your more decorated opponents.  

The Brisbane Heat will face similar challenges to the Scorchers. 

It will be interesting to see if they continue to gel and grow now that their highly respected and liked coach Darren Lehmann has taken over the Australian coaching role. 

There was always a sense that Darren was the spiritual leader of the group and there is no doubt his presence will be missed.

Stuart Law, the newly appointed coach, is a strong strategist and we can be certain the Heat will be well prepared, fit and ready to play a positive brand of 20/20 cricket. 

Queenslander's never say die attitude and team unity is unquestionable and it will be in this attribute that they may also cause a few surprises, despite the foreign and challenging conditions that lay ahead.

The IPL teams, particularly Chennai and Mumbai, look the teams to beat. 

No pressure in this tournament will be bigger than anything their senior players have experienced before. 

Their advantage lies, not only in their available playing resources and talent, but also in the experience they have banked through years and years of tough competition and pressure situations.

Nothing replaces experience and success under pressure, and in the many great players on display in the Champions League, there in an abundance of superstar quality, especially amongst the IPL franchises. 

On Sunday it was 45 degrees Celsius here in Ahmedabad so it is now time to get serious and put our game faces on.

The Champions League is a big prize for all domestic franchises, and regardless of the result, the experience for our players, on and off the field,will be valuable.

From Ahmedabad

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia. 

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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