It’s quite clear most of you think ABdV is the main man at the IPL. With a massive 40% of the votes, followed by Baz at 15% and Chris Gayle at 12.5%, the South African skipper is streets ahead of the competition.
But if you are following the IPL 2015, you will know that Ajinkya Rahane (who was not even a part of the poll!) leads the run scoring charts and wears the Orange Cap.
Then again, it makes complete sense.
Apart from being a class batsman who excels at all three formats of the game, Ajinx opens the batting for the Royals.
He bats in the power play overs with only two fielders outside the 30 yard ring. As his mandate appears to be to bat through the innings, he takes his time to play himself in and then looks to accelerate. Ajinx also cuts out a lot of the risk associated with T20 batting by hitting the ball along the carpet. Also, he can afford to play in that manner with stroke makers like Watson, Hooda, Faulkner and Binny around him in the line-up.
Players like Pollard, Miller and ABdV, on the other hand, usually come in to bat facing a mountain of runs. The field is spread and their teams are generally up against a crazy required run rate. Without the luxury of getting their eye in, they need to start hitting sixes and fours from ball one. It is testament to their ability and class that, more often than not, they manage to deliver.
The question, therefore, is will a middle order finisher ever win the Orange Cap?
The top 3 run scorers this IPL (Rahane, Warner and Shreyas Iyer) all open the batting. At the time of writing, 7 out of the top 10 bat at numbers 1, 2 and 3. Last year, 9 out of the highest 10 run scorers batted in the top 3. Only David Miller batted lower than 3.
Interesting fact – since it’s inception in 2008, the Orange Cap has been won by an opener every single time- Marsh, Hayden, Tendulkar, Gayle (twice), Hussey and Uthappa !
We think it’s time to recognise the contribution of those lower down the order as well. Our suggestion is that the Orange Cap should be given based on a combination of runs (a minimum number, perhaps 200) and strike-rate. Otherwise, the competition is restricted to the 16 openers, don’t you think?
As always, thoughts welcome in the comments.