IPL bowls googly to pacer-heavy teams by naming UAE as venue

Many Indian Premier League teams built their squads keeping in mind that at least one portion of the tournament would be played in the pacer-friendly conditions of South Africa. The choice of United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh as venues have left pacer-heavy teams in the lurch.

updated: March 13, 2014 15:26 IST
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After months of speculation that the entire seventh edition of the Indian Premier League could be held in South Africa owing to general elections in India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India's decision to announce United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh as off-shore venues has caught a few teams on a sticky wicket. For teams that built their sides around quick bowlers are now pondering how to counter spinner-friendly conditions in the Gulf. At least 16 matches will be played in UAE (Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi) between April 16 and 30.

During the IPL auctions in February, several teams picked their main players assuming that South Africa will be the first-choice overseas venue. When the general elections clashed in 2009, the IPL was shifted to the Rainbow Nation. But a combination of factors instead forced BCCI to opt for UAE and Bangladesh (optional venue for second phase from May 1-12) this time. While Arabian conditions should make life simpler for batsmen, teams that picked an extra pacer or two could be in for some tough times. (Related: IPL gives 'tainted' Sharjah to redeem its dubious image)

For instance, Kings XI Punjab, who built a very strong all-round unit, picked just one frontline spinner in Murali Kartik and a rookie off-spinner in Shivam Sharma. Kings XI picked up a lot of exciting Indian domestic pacers like Shardul Thakur, Mandeep Singh, Sandeep Sharma and even bought Himachal pacer Rishi Dhawan for a whopping Rs 3 crore. Now coach Sanjay Bangar will have to redesign his strategies.

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