The inception of the IPL in 2008 has proved to be a watershed moment in the history of his beautiful game. Not only has it helped bring a lot of money in the game, the cash-rich league has also proceeded to become a breeding ground for cricketers to unleash their talent and at the same time rub shoulders with and against the best in the world besides helping them to benefit hugely from playing in intense pressure situations amidst packed crowds day-in-and-day out.
In the past two-three years, there has been a huge change in the team sheets of the IPL times. Most of the teams are bolstered with the English firepower with the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Jofra Archer ruling the roost and capturing the imagination of the folklore with their prodigious skills. This is a stark contrast to the initial days of the IPL where the ECB didn’t allow its players to participate in the competition despite the likes of Kevin Pietersen openly advocating for it.
It took a disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign for the Andrew Strauss-led English administrators to smell the coffee and since then more and more players have been allowed to participate and gain invaluable experience from the IPL, something that has played its part in the resurgence of English white-ball cricket.
Nasser Hussain credits IPL experience for Ben Stokes knocks at the World Cup final and in the Ashes
Nasser Hussain, who has seen it all unfold from the commentary box has hailed the IPL as the ultimate ‘finishing school’ which helps cricketers to get better at their game besides also making them learn to perform under intense pressure.
“IPL isn’t a learning school, it’s a finishing school. It finishes you off as a cricketer, those bits that are missing, like playing spin on drier pitches, it helps you learn that and finishes you off as a cricketer.” Nasser Husaain told Harsha Bhogle on CricBuzz.
“Obviously money is important. Some of these figures are life-changing figures. West Indies love the IPL because it gives them sums of money that they can never dream of. But you cannot argue that when you go and play in the IPL, you’re playing against the best players. You look at all those team sheets, they are like a World XI. Because they are playing in that big crowd, it helps you handle pressure,” Hussain added.
Ben Stokes played two of the greatest innings- World Cup final and 135* at Leeds in the Ashes- that have ever been played by an English batsman under the most intense of pressure situations and Hussain reckoned that such high-pressure innings and the kinds of shots that he played during those two knocks wouldn’t have been possible, has Stokes not experienced that cauldron in the IPL.
“The two innings that Ben Stokes played in the 2019 summer, at Headingley and in the World Cup final… In Headingley he went into IPL mode when batting with Jack Leach. Some of the shots he played, like the reverse switch hit into the Western Terrace off Lyon, he can’t play that unless he’s played in the IPL. Also the World Cup final innings. He can’t handle that pressure unless you’ve been in the pressurized cauldron before,” Nasser said.
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