Even in this form, the IPL is a huge deal

The cancellation of the fifth England v India Test match last week proved once again what a big deal the IPL is.

We are seeing example after example of how seriously the players take it, and what a life-changing opportunity it is to play in it.

The commercial structure around the IPL is seriously significant, too. There are two new teams going out to tender next month, and word is that they could sell for $300-400m.

It’s so exciting to get the biggest tournament in world cricket back on the road, and even though there have been lots of international withdrawals, I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Mumbai Indians can’t afford a trademark slow start

Mumbai Indians don’t have a good history of hitting the ground running.

It’s going to be interesting to see which teams and players can pick up where they left off in May.

Lots of India’s finest talent have been playing a lot of cricket in England, but other players will come into this second half of the IPL much fresher.

Everybody will expect the holders of the competition, Mumbai Indians, to go well, but they don’t have a good history of hitting the ground running. They tend to lose their first few games and then come good towards the end of the tournament.

Well, we’re already towards the end of the tournament now. Mumbai can’t afford to lose three or four games before they start playing because there’s so little time to play catch-up.

If they are to retain their crown, they must be on it from ball one. Clearly, with the talent they have in their side, they are capable of doing it.

MS Dhoni and CSK are the story to watch

Everybody wrote off the old boys’ army of CSK before the IPL started in April, so seeing them go so well was a bit of a surprise.

Their overseas players Faf Du Plessis, Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, in particular, delivered the goods.

But I’m not sure how well this four-month absence will have suited them. It could take them a little while to crank back into gear, particularly the older players.

If they are ready, it could be a historic few weeks for the franchise. They have a fantastic shot at winning a title that everybody thought was beyond them.

No way I would tour Australia without family


I wasn’t surprised to see so many of England’s all-format players pull out of the IPL with the T20 World Cup and The Ashes coming up.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how this situation with The Ashes develops. Players don’t want to be away from families for months on end, particularly when they’re restricted to bubble life.

I know that if I hadn’t been able to take my family on an Ashes tour, there’s no way I would have gone.

I sympathise with all of the players in that position. Playing in The Ashes down under is hugely exciting, but they’re being put in a very difficult position.

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