SPO 190517 ANDRE RUSSELL1-1558097676942
Andre Russell of West Indies Image Credit: AP file

Dubai: The Indian Premier League (IPL) has proved to be a learning curve for many cricketers since its inception.

It has not only unearthed talent, but also given many players a stage to showcase their skills.

Even established cricketers have benefited from the league and this year, many of them have confessed that the IPL has improved their game and prepared them well for the upcoming World Cup.

England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, who cracked 128 off just 93 balls to chase Pakistan’s challenging target of 359 and win by five overs to spare, is the latest among many stars to remark that he learnt a lot from the IPL.

Bairstow scored 445 runs in his 10 matches representing Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL this season and is sure to carry this confidence and form into the oncoming World Cup.

“I loved it there [IPL] and learnt different things from different coaches and players,” Bairstow said.

England will also benefit from Jos Buttler’s form, which he displayed for Rajasthan Royals, scoring 311 runs from eight matches.

Kolkata Knight Riders’ Andre Russell has won his place back in the West Indies World Cup squad — thanks to his exploits in this edition of the IPL.

From 14 matches, he piled up 510 runs at an average of 55.66 and bulldozed into the West Indies team that ignored him from August 2018 and had featured him in only a single One Day International since 2015.

Commenting on his return to international cricket, Russell said he wanted to carry his IPL form into the World Cup.

“I’m so hungry right now to play for West Indies. Like I’m doing here, hit sixes and score runs,” said Russell, who hit 52 sixes in this IPL.

Australia’s prodigal son David Warner, who had to undergo a one-year ban owing to the ball tampering incident, fully utilised the IPL to show that he is in top form and can be still one of the most dangerous batsman in world cricket.

He finished as the highest run getter of the IPL with 692 runs.

“I am privileged to be a part of this tournament, it’s the best league in the world. Owners, support staff, players, social media and fans thank you very much for welcoming me back with open arms,” said Warner before flying out to join the Australia World Cup squad.

Two Indians — Hardik Pandya and K.L. Rahul — who also received a ban for their sexist comments in Karan Johar’s TV show and had a traumatic time, used the IPL to regain their confidence.

Pandya hit 402 runs at a strike rate of 191.42 and tool 14 wickets with the ball in the IPL. Rahul too used the IPL so well that he finished as the second highest run-getter of the IPL — with 593 runs, including eight half-centuries and a century for Kings XI Punjab.

South Africa will be another team that will reap the benefits of their star players taking part in the IPL.

Opener-wicketkeeper Quniton De Kock is the third highest run getter in this IPL, with 529 runs for Mumbai Indians, while another opener Faf du Plessis, who scored consistently for Chennai Super Kings, had scored 396 runs.

Among the bowlers, 40-year-old South African leg spinner Imran Tahir has proved that age hasn’t diminished his skills by finishing as the highest wicket taker with 26 wickets for Chennai.

His compatriot Kagiso Rabida, who finished with 25 wickets, has shown in the IPL how deadly he can be in the World Cup.

Rohit Sharma, captain of the Mumbai Indians, which lifted the IPL trophy, summed up the impact on players playing in this league.

“IPL is a big tournament and you can judge for yourself where you are at before a big tournament like the World Cup.”