From Dhoni to Kohli, why skippers prefer their IPL boys in national team

Sports psychologists believe having IPL teammates playing together helps the national team’s performance

Indian cricket team captains like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli seem to prefer playing more with players from their respective IPL teams even in the national team. We have seen that for various tours over the years. But is there a real correlation between the composition of IPL teams and the Indian national cricket squad?

Business Standard analysed historical data, valuation reports and franchise balance sheets to comprehend the correlation, if any. What emerged was an interesting picture. The facts first.

In 2014, when Dhoni was the captain of Chennai Super Kings, its players found a spot in the national squad 35 times in five tours. In 2017, when Virat Kohli captained Royal Challengers Bangalore, the team found a place in the Indian national side 26 times in eight tournaments. This was the highest among all IPL teams that year. An aberration was perhaps Mumbai Indians. Its players found a place in these tours 21 times in 2017. Mumbai’s representation in the national side has been consistent over the years.

On an average, Bangalore and Mumbai accounted for almost half the Indian squad in many of the tournaments in 2017. Bangalore’s representation has risen phenomenally over the past two years, while Mumbai Indians has consistently been sending at least three players to the national team since 2010.

An equally impressive representation in the Indian team is that of Sunrisers Hyderabad. But Hyderabad’s high representation is on account of some of its marquee players like Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who have all been part of the Indian team for long now.

Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, has been prolific in sending many of its new and young talent to the national side. Mumbai IPL players like Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah are now an inextricable part of the national team.

Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils players, on the other hand, have failed to find a sizeable representation in the national team in years. In 2017, Kings XI Punjab sent only three players to the national squad, while only two Delhi Daredevils players got selected in the national team on an average. Players from these low-ranked IPL teams are often drafted into the national squad for low-profile tournaments where the big guns are rested. For instance, five players from Punjab and Delhi were part of the Indian squad for Zimbabwe in 2015 that played just One Day Internationals (ODIs) and T20 matches.

In the ICC T20 World Cup 2015, no player from Punjab found a place in the squad. If it was not for Team India regular Mohammad Shami, even Delhi would have been left with only Pawan Negi, who was bought from Chennai for Rs 70 million just a day after he was announced by Indian selectors as part of the T20 World Cup squad.(more)

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