Aussies’ new IPL problem

Clarke & Watson to risk injury as Hussey moves on post-retirement

A lot of experts and former cricketers hold the Indian Premier League responsible for the string of bad results the national team has suffered recent years. But in the upcoming Test series against Australia, the boot will be on the other foot.

The team heading to India is led by perhaps the best batsman in the world today, Michael Clarke, but apart from him and Shane Watson, no other batsman has the experience of playing Test cricket in India.

The situation could have been different had Michael Hussey, their middle- order bulwark, not decided to retire last month, seeking to “ spend more time” with his family.

And yet, barely days after the four- Test series ends in Delhi on March 26, Hussey will join up with the Chennai Super Kings to play in IPL- VI, which gets underway on April 3.

An article in the Sydney Morning Herald states: “ Only Hussey will know what drove his decision.

Maybe he is tired of the relentless international schedule, maybe the financial considerations made it a brainer. He certainly stated that wanted to spend more time with family.

None of this is meant to denigrate Hussey, one of Australia’s most loyal troupers and someone who has earned the right to do as he pleases. It merely to point out the destabilising influence of the IPL on cricket generally, and to reinforce the notion that every man has his price. They are sobering thoughts.” Clarke and Watson, too, will be a part of the T20 extravaganza, plying their trade for Pune Warriors and Rajasthan Royals respectively. But there are question marks over their fitness after they missed crucial games over the southern summer.

Clarke is being talked of as Pune’s potential captain, and as such, could need to take the field for anywhere between 16 and 19 games, putting further pressure on his fragile back, hamstring and ankle, while all- rounder Watson, who is now playing as a specialist batsman for Australia in the wake of calf strain, could bowl medium- pace order to justify the fat pay-cheque earns from Rajasthan.

Heading into back-to-back Ashes series, injuries to either of them could potentially rob Australia not just of their two most experienced batsmen, but also of the two leaders in the side. Watson is Clarke’s deputy, and the selectors will really have to take a long hard look at the others to pick a future captain among them.

England, too, were destabilised last year by Kevin Pietersen’s longing for the IPL. The article adds: “ English cricket was thrown into turmoil last year by Kevin Pietersen. England’s best player had long bemoaned his unavailability for the IPL because of its clash with the English domestic season, but he managed to squeeze in a stunning IPL cameo last year before announcing his retirement from One- Day Internationals.

“Lots of twists and turns followed before the restless Pietersen was brought to heel and eventually returned to the fold, but the underlying cause of the entire problem was that Pietersen believed he was missing out on something he was entitled to.” In this scenario, it is probably a welcome step for the ICC to be considering a window for the IPL, since it is most obviously here to stay, and needs to be separated from international cricket. It’s the only way both can coexist healthily.

With two Ashes series this year, a single niggle could cause big trouble

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