The IPL can provide comfort for India

It’s a horrible situation in India at the moment, which is why it’s so important that we continue to provide some light relief with the IPL.

The cricket is not about winning and losing at the moment, it’s about giving Indian people the chance to watch their heroes throughout the evening at a desperate time for the country.

Sport is the greatest thing in the world for uniting people and it’s like a religion in the subcontinent.

Of course, there will be people saying that it’s crass and all about money. Well, there will always be criticism, but providing six hours of high-quality entertainment and encouraging people to stay at home each evening has to be a positive thing.

We’re very lucky to be so well looked after in our bubble. I’ve had eight tests in 11 days since I arrived – we’re all staying in except to work and everything feels very secure.

Sometimes batting is just difficult

We have become so accustomed to opening batsmen whacking 50 off 25 balls that we sometimes forget these guys are not robots.

There was some criticism of David Warner for his 57 (55) against Chennai on Wednesday, but sometimes these things just happen.

You can get some good deliveries and there are days when you just hit fielders with every shot. In his post-match interview, he said that he just hit fielders constantly in the first six overs.

Rishabh Pant was in the same boat for Delhi Capitals on Tuesday when he scored, by his standards, a slow half-century.

If these guys were batting with no intent then I’d be far more critical, but sometimes run-scoring just doesn’t come easily, however hard you try.

I also think that there are other factors at play.

AB de Villiers’ form shows what a fresh mind can do

Another reason for the lack of runs in this competition is that several of the star batsmen – Indian and overseas – look mentally drained after months of staying in bio-secure bubbles around the world.

De Villiers has come into this tournament completely fresh, full of energy and knowing that for two months he can just go for it with no future commitments.

Jos Buttler, for example, looks emotionally drained after a long start to 2021. Travel restrictions are affecting the UK and Australian players, and there is an awful lot going on behind the scenes.

That needs to be taken into account when we judge these guys’ form – it’s really difficult.

It is interesting that AB de Villiers, who is in a very different situation, is going so well.

He has come into this tournament completely fresh, full of energy and knowing that for two months he can just go for it with no future commitments.

His scintillating 76* against Delhi on Tuesday proved how at peace with his game and his mind he is.

He isn’t tired and he isn’t lethargic. The same can’t be said for everybody at the moment.

Unpredictable conditions aren’t helping batting either

The Ahmedabad surface is better than we saw in Chennai and Mumbai earlier in the tournament, but it’s very difficult for the ground staff to keep the pace in the wicket when there is so much cricket being played on it.

You have to water the wickets to get the grass back up to create the pace and there isn’t enough time between games.

When the dew comes down then batting does become easier in the evening, but that’s only been happening sporadically, too.

When RCB posted 171-5 against Delhi, I’d done the pitch report saying that it’s going to be much easier to chase because of the dew – but then a sandstorm arrived and completely prevented it from falling.

It looked obvious for Delhi to bat second, but they were made to look worse because the conditions didn’t change in the way that anybody expected.

It’s one of several reasons why the runs aren’t flowing.

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