Tuesday, August 4, 2020

IPL 2020 in UAE: All about bowling and handling spin well, says Dean Jones | Exclusive

The Indian Premier League is all set to be played in the UAE from September 19 and one man who knows a lot about T20 cricket being played in the middle-east is former Australian cricketer Dean Jones. Deano, as he is popularly known in cricketing circles, has been associated with the Pakistan Super League as a cricket pundit and coach over the years.

Jones’ experience of having watched T20 cricket being played in the UAE from close quarters gives him an edge as a cricket pundit during the upcoming IPL. Speaking to Hindustan Times over phone from Australia, Jones said that it could all come down to who plays spin better as the pitches are going to get tired with so much cricket being played on them in extremely hot conditions.

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“Well, they will be using all three grounds at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. Whenever I have commentated there or coached in the PSL, I can say they all have their individual characteristics. You need to make sure you have got your match-ups right. The major concern for all the teams would be that with so much cricket being played on all three venues, the pitches will get tired and that’s only natural.

“So, it might come down to who plays spin better. Some teams might pick three spinners and only two quicks. At the start the pitches will be great to bat on but there is no doubt that they will get tired as the tournament goes on,” the former Aussie batsman said.

The matches will be played in three venues and the sizes of the grounds in these venues differ from each other. Jones said he would want the BCCI to conduct the matches in the original sizes of the ground and not pull the boundaries in as it would mean the teams would have to adapt to different requirements and make for interesting cricket.

“Sharjah is the smallest but Dubai and Abu Dhabi have big grounds. How the BCCI manages the size of the ground is going to be quite interesting.’

“I like it when grounds are played at their normal size. Abu Dhabi is big so it will give some help to the spinners and batsmen need to work on their running between the wickets. Dubai can be made as big ground and you can get caught at the boundary and Sharjah, well you can get hurt if you don’t get it right because mishits go for sixes there.

“They are all completely different sized grounds and I hope they will stick to the natural sizes of the ground,” Jones opined. Asked about players he is keen to watch during the season, Jones took the names of Shubhman Gill and Rishabh Pant.

“I want to see Shubman Gill open the batting for Kolkata Knight Riders. I think there is an opportunity for it now and the time has come for them to put him at the top of the order and let him play.

“I am also very keen to see how Rishabh Pant plays. He has been a bit up and down and it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure of knowing that Dhoni is back playing,” Jones said.

The Australian has been a cricket pundit during previous seasons of the IPL and has been part of the Dugout broadcast on Star Sports, which is tailor made for cricket purists. Jones said the Dugout has been a great experience for him and he is looking forward to being part of it this year too.

“I have loved the entire experience. Scott Styris and I have been doing it for a couple of years. It’s different from what you see on the world feed during a broadcast. There are less ads and you see demonstrations and more analytics. It is more anecdotal as well where guys are talking about more stories. The world feed commentators don’t have that opportunity as they have more commercial responsibilities. We don’t have that. So, the purest of the cricket fans, the ones who want to know about the minutest details of the game will really like this.

“I hope to be doing it again this season, life is a little difficult and we hope to spread some joy with some good cricket,” Jones signed off

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