By Richard Sydenham
It might seem like stating the obvious, but Australia’s Twenty20 specialist Dirk Nannes doesn't have to think twice when asked to judge the Indian Premier League and England’s T20 equivalent and rate them.
“I enjoy playing Twenty20 in India and England very much and it’s hard to compare actually because in England the tournament is just about cricket,” Nannes told First Post. “But the IPL is something totally different, and certainly more fun... The IPL is about everything; the best overseas players, the razzmatazz, massive hype, excitement off the field - just so much goes on around the game.”
Left-arm pace bowler Nannes, 35, has made a career out of the shortest format and made his name initially with Middlesex in county cricket, helping them to the T20 title in 2008 and then with the Netherlands in the T20 World Cup in 2009.
His performances in that World Cup put him on Australia’s radar and he promptly made his debut for them in July 2009, months after earning himself his first of three seasons in the IPL – with the Delhi Daredevils for the first two and the Bangalore Royal Challengers this year.
Nannes might be ‘getting on’ in cricketing terms, but his late development and discovering his T20 niche that has had teams from most of the leading cricket nations scrambling for his signature, is setting him up nicely for his retirement. He is currently playing for Surrey in county cricket after a spell with Notts last year. He’s still tied to Bangalore, and is set to play in the inaugural T20 in Sri Lanka from July.
He maintains though that his preference for T20 is not purely financially driven. “I enjoy all formats of cricket, but I definitely prefer Twenty20,” Nannes said. “You get a result every time, crowds of 40,000 and more, and it’s not as tiring on your body... People go on about the financial aspect, but I wouldn’t say playing T20 is the way to go for all players, but it’s been good to me. It’s horses for courses, but I know that some players are earning more than I am just from playing Test cricket.”
So, back to the IPL v English T20. Why is the IPL so much better? Maybe, it is an obvious argument, given the huge investment in the IPL. But we must also not forget that England are the T20 world champions.
India’s administrators though get it right by ensuring that their best players are completely involved in the IPL. England’s domestic T20 began last week with its top players committed to an ongoing Test series with Sri Lanka. “In the IPL, the top few players are pretty, bloody good,” Nannes said. “You have to remember we are talking about some of the best players in the world here. Every team in the IPL has at least three or four world stars and then four or five top Indian players... You just don’t have that in England and you don’t face that kind of quality in England. The teams that finish in the lower half of the IPL would definitely come close to winning the tournament in England.”
There you have it. And it would be hard to argue with him.
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