Mumbai Indians bowler Mitchell Mcclenaghan celebrates the wicket of Rising Pune Supergiants batsman Rahul Tripathy during the first play off match of IPL. Pic/AFP
A majority of players who will turn out for their national teams in the ICC Champions Trophy have been playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL), so they will need to make a few rapid changes in terms of both adjustment and attitude as they switch from the 20-over format to the 50-over one.
There are a couple of things that will be different in England and Wales from the IPL. One is, of course, the heat, and going from India to the UK will be a bit of a relief! The other, obviously, is time on the feet — from an hour-and-a-half to three-and-a-half hours. All the players have been training and are in good shape physically, so this adjustment shouldn't be particularly demanding, but the issue of bowling workloads is another matter altogether.
Because of the condensed schedules in the IPL, and the heat and the travel, the bowlers haven't been bowling a lot in the nets. Going into the ICC Champions Trophy, where the top bowlers will be expected to bowl their quota of 10 overs, will pose a unique kind of challenge in terms of the bowlers not having had enough of a workload. It is important that it is not just your skills that are up to speed, you need to have had miles in the legs as well.
The one thing I can vouch for from Mumbai Indians' perspective is that we have given the batsmen plenty of time to train in terms of hitting the gym, running, and having sufficient net bowlers. That's why I believe the challenge going from 20-over cricket to 50-over cricket is more for the bowler. There are a couple of Kiwis in our franchise — Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan — who are in the ICC Champions Trophy squad.
Rohit will have to adjust
Mitch has been a regular feature in our playing XI, but Tim hasn't had as many games. The challenge for both Tim and Mitch is not bowling five-six over spells that they most likely will in England. Rohit Sharma has been batting in the middle-order for us and Aaron Finch for Gujarat Lions, and both of them will need to re-adjust to playing the new ball, in English conditions, when they open the batting for their respective countries. Both have been around for a long time, and in any case, the mindset is pretty much the same in both formats, look to hit the ball hard, score quickly. There will be a couple of subtle differences, and I am sure these experienced guys are equipped enough to cope with those requirements. England and Wales is a great place to be playing cricket. The ICC Champions Trophy is a great tournament, where there are no easy games, where all games are competitive and all teams are evenly matched.