They are ranked No. 7 in the world, but every player from Australia easily fits in to the respective IPL sides they play for. Yes, the Australians, known for their sheer professionalism and commitment are simply indispensable to say the least. In the last five days, Aussies Mike Hussey, Shane Watson, Ryan Harris, David Warner and Michael Clarke took a close to 40-hour flight from Caribbeans to the Indian sub-continent.
And except for Warner, everybody got straight into game head on. Hussey was a much-needed boost for the mixed-fortunes CSK team. Shane Watson could not have come at a better time for the of-late struggling Rajasthan Royals side. Ryan Harris added sting to the toothless Kings XI Punjab bowling. But the most surprising addition was that of Michael Clarke. The Australian skipper, who quit this format in January2011, finally made his IPL debut after giving it a skip for the last four seasons.
He last played the miniscule, but the most explosive format of this game way back in October 2010. But then he was excited, like any other player in the world would be coming to IPL. Well, big money it is honey. Apart from raking moolah, what prompted the Aussie ODI and Test skipper to come to this cricket carnival is a big question. Nevertheless, he didn’t look a misfit at all in his first appearance under the wings of Sourav Ganguly.
Watson too looked on the ball, though scored only eight but hit a typical-Watson six and took the crucial wicket of Kevin Pietersen against his Delhi Daredevils on May 1. For Preity Zinta’s side struggling with the absence of their skipper Adam Gilchrist, any international player’s presence was an added asset and Harris just did that. He brought in some pace and experience in the bowling attack which was otherwise led by ineffective Praveen Kumar and Parwinder Awana.
Hussey though could not contribute as much as he would have liked but MS Dhoni would not mind. His mere presence makes a huge difference. No team would deny him a spot even if he lands an hour before the game. Other Ozlanders have already made their mark as expected. Shaun Marsh and David Hussey are leading the KXIP batting.
Cameron White is leading the hapless Deccan Chargers. Nothing of note that he has done, but one can’t blame White alone. With the likes of Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Kumar Sangakkara and his countryman Daniel Christian, the team is still not able to cross the line when it matters. Brett Lee is doing more than what can be expected from a 35+ fast bowler. He still remains faster than any Indian bowler currently and is an amazing outfielder to say the least.
Steven Smith is playing a crucial role in Pune Warriors’ campaign and Ganguly it seems is resurrecting his career as a batsman. With the entry of his national skipper in the side, Smith would only be further motivated to do better. Meanwhile, Andrew McDonald is doing his bits and pieces with intelligent seam bowling and sometimes enterprising batting for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Brad Hodge adds experience to the Dravid-led Royals. His lower-order contribution has worked for the Rajasthan outfit and with another mate from his nation; Hodge would look to make the most of Watson’s company. The only team sans any major Aussie contribution to them is Mumbai Indians.
Not surprised we should be as Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar talk business there. And neither of them is known to be fond of the men from Down Under. They did play Clint McKay for a game or two but then don’t be surprised if they don’t play McKay or Aiden Blizzard more often. Nothing official about it eh!!!