Spinners may have a "major role" to play in the Indian Premier League with the first leg of tournament, staged in the UAE, expected to have "typical sub-continent" wickets, according to cricketer-turned commentator Sanjay Manjrekar. "Spinners may have a major role to play. It will be a typical sub-continent wicket. I was there in the under-19 World Cup and saw that the pitch had bit of a bounce. So one has to wait and see how the surfaces turn out. As Sharjah might be different from Dubai and Abu Dhabi will have a different pitch," Sanjay told PTI in an interview on Tuesday. (Check IPL schedule here)
The cash-rich league did travel to South Africa in 2009 and now UAE will host the matches between April 16 and 30 due to general elections in India, but the tournament has survived it all. Manjrekar also believes that IPL will always be high on the popularity chart. "IPL is a product that is quite unique. It is a tournament that has witnessed all challenges. When it went to South Africa, it was a big hit. And UAE is closer to home, so I don't see this as a major issue. The viewers will certainly embrace IPL as they have always done against all odds," said the cricket expert. (Also read: Srinivasan named in IPL spot-fixing probe report, says Supreme Court)
The teams this time have left nothing to chance. If KKR have roped in renowned adventurer and explorer Mike Horn then Rajasthan Royals have mental condition expert Paddy Upton as their head coach. However, according to Manjrekar cricket is a captain's sport and the support staff is only there to help. "Coaches and support staff do play a role in T20 cricket but only marginally. Because there is a lot of discussion in T20 cricket, inputs come from the outside. But cricket is a sport where captains call the shots and the support staff have a limited influence," said Manjrekar. (Related: Couple of bad apples in team are gone now, says Watson)
Many Team India discards are also keen to make IPL their comeback vehicle and Manjrekar finds this route absolutely beneficial for many such players. "Yes, IPL is a comeback vehicle. Because of the high-profile nature people who are looking to make a comeback to get noticed if they perform. What the tournament does is that it tells the selectors that the guy is in a good nick. So you would not probably pick IPL performers for Test matches but the selectors do consider a player for limited-overs," concluded Manjrekar.