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BISHAN SINGH BEDI

Mr Bedi is a former cricketer.

Seniors should make space for youth in IPL

fter a long wait of 28 years we are world champions once again. In the final, the boys played really well. They batted like champions, bowled superbly and fielded like tigers. Starting with some initial hiccups in the group stage, the Indians put up a great show towards the end. I personally feel the match against the Aussies in the quarter-final was the turning point for the Indian team.

Though Dhoni played a match winning knock of 91off only 79 balls in the final, for me it is Gambhir who played a far better knock. Had he not stuck around and played a superb innings of 97 runs, roads would have been blocked for us pretty early. His cameo came at a time when both Sehwag and Sachin were back in the hut, and his partnership with Virat Kohli proved to be the turning point for India. His venture with Dhoni was a match winning one eventually. It was sheer bad luck that he missed out on a World Cup final century and he can only blame himself for that.

However, I do not intend to undermine Dhoni's efforts, he played really well in the final. He showed enough courage to push himself up in the batting order and bat at No. 5 instead of Yuvraj Singh. It was a calculated risk taken by the young captain, which led to a wonderful success. He deserves a pat on his back for this.

India's bowling and fielding were impressive as well. India's bowling has faced harsh criticism from different corners time and again in the past. But this time our bowling line up, spearheaded by Zaheer Khan, attacked quite well and picked up wickets at the right time. In fact, Khan has indeed been a revelation throughout this tournament.

Apart from the captain and the key players, we cannot forget the contribution of Coach Gary Kirsten. He played a very important role from behind throughout the World Cup and his role in taking India to the zenith should not be ignored. He came in at the time when cheeks were down and Indian cricket was suffering from the 'Chapellian era of disaster'. Kirsten brought the much-needed self believe in the team. He did a fine job indeed and I am sure the boys and Indian cricket will miss his presence in the team now. The Indian team will now have to search hard to find someone matching up to Kirsten's expertise and dedication.

And no one can deny the role of Sachin Tendulkar in the team. The man has been a part of the team for the last 22 years. This World Cup victory is a gift to him by his team members. His contribution in keeping the spirits high amongst the young players in the team is great and it is not without reason that he is a youth icon for the country.

However, I am worried about the team's future now. It is unlikely that these players will play for long and this will create a gap eventually; a new bowling line up needs to be created for the team. Next, BCCI should look for fresh talents and train them. Success is about consistency and India is yet to prove it to the world. By nurturing fresh talents and giving them enough chances to prove their caliber, we can have an edge over the rest of the World and can rule like the West Indies of the '70s and the Australia of the late '90s.

Finally, it is IPL time in India. Though I am personally not in favour of the T20 tamasha, it has become quite popular here as it brings lots and lots of excitement and money. But I believe T20 format should be restricted to the young players only. In fact, I wonder what senior players like Gilchrist, Dravid, Warne are doing here. They have all crossed their prime and are a part of IPL only for the money. They should make space for the next generation as the IPL format suits the young blood well.

Experts are sceptical about the players's ability to adjust from ODI to T20 format. I personally think that it should not be a problem for them as they are all professionals and are supposed to play round the year in different formats. India should find some fresh talents from this tournament.

About the teams in IPL 4, I believe both Chennai and Mumbai have a very good line up and hope both the teams reach semi final. However, I am quite excited to see how Kolkata Knight Riders plays this time around, especially with Gautam Ganmhir as the skipper.

 
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