Kevin Pietersen: Virat Kohli can prove he's the greatest at the IPL
The Betway ambassador analyses the key talking points ahead of IPL 15, including Virat Kohli’s form and Ravi Jadeja replacing MS Dhoni as CSK captain.
Hopefully this is the beginning of a return to normality for the IPL
It’s only a capacity of 25 per cent, but it’s still a start. The return of fans to Indian stadiums is a reminder of what the IPL is really all about.
The excitement and buzz generated in these cities will give the cricket a whole new buzz.
I know that the IPL is very proud of its product, but that product relies on there being a crackling atmosphere inside the stadiums and around the cities.
It’s a huge thing for every fan, player, broadcaster and executive that we’re taking a step back towards normality this year.
The IPL should introduce a football-style transfer market
The mega auction means that several IPL squads look completely different to last season.
You’ve got Faf du Plessis captaining RCB, while Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul are in charge of new franchises Gujarat Lions and Lucknow Super Giants.
While it will be interesting to see how the new combinations look, I actually don’t like the mega auctions much. It means that every three years everything is basically thrown up in the air and we start again, just as franchises are building their identities and brands.
Initially, yes, franchises needed to be given the chance to establish themselves and be given a fair crack of the whip at building a strong squad at auction. Now, I don’t think it would hurt to treat things a little bit more like the football transfer market.
If franchises could buy and trade players without salary caps and huge auctions, it would add another layer of skill to squad-building and would mean that things evolve rather than radically changing every three years.
With two new franchises in the pot, there is also the chance that the talent has been spread too thinly across 10 teams. We’ll have to wait and see how they get on, but that is a danger.
Virat Kohli can return to greatness in front of fans
I’m not going to judge anybody on their performances over the last couple of years. The unique circumstances that cricket has been played in has not assisted certain individuals and the way that they play.
Virat Kohli is an exhibitionist and an entertainer, and he needs crowds singing his name and going crazy at every one of his runs to get him going. He needs to know that people are there to watch him as he wants to provide them with that entertainment.
When you take that away, I’m not surprised that he’s struggled.
Hopefully the return of crowds at this event is the start of things getting back to normal. If so, he’ll go back to being the greatest –because he is the greatest.
The burden of captaincy being taken away from him at RCB may help, too. He can focus purely on entertaining the fans who adore him so much.
Ravi Jadeja is a typical CSK captain
CSK proved everybody wrong last season, including myself.
There is some young blood coming through there, but they seem to have realised that having cool, experienced heads making decisions is going to give them an edge over everybody else.
There are so many small decisions to make during a T20 match and if you get more right than the opposition then you will generally win.
They’ve obviously decided that the time is right to move on from MS Dhoni, but it doesn’t surprise me that they’ve turned to Ravi Jadeja – another cool head who will make good decisions.
Jadeja is an outstanding thinker and a very experienced T20 player, so CSK have a good chance of surprising everybody again.
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