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Update Dravid bats for additional team in IPL

Scouting the talents, providing a platform for the youngsters and allowing them to blossom on the big stage - this has been an integral part of the Indian Premier League over the years. The budding players in the country may not have got too many chances to get noticed had it not been for the IPL, from where the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya have emerged. For the same reason, Rahul Dravid believes that it is the right time to add another team in the IPL, with an additional team translating into more opportunities.

During a virtual seminar for the launch of the book "A New Innings" - written by Manoj Badale and Simon Hughes - Dravid spoke about the beneficial effects that the IPL has for the young players as well as experienced domestic names who have used the stage to showcase their skills.

"Purely from a talent perspective, I think we're ready for an expansion. It's been fantastic to see so many of those young Under-19 boys come on and establish themselves, not only for their state teams but also in the IPL," said Dravid. "But many more are actually not getting opportunities. They are sitting outside in a lot of these teams, because the quality of the cricket is so good and there are so many good and experienced players."

In the 2020 season, Devdutt Padikkal, Ravi Bishnoi, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kartik Tyagi were some of the young players who came into prominence. Meanwhile, Rahul Tewatia, the Haryana legspinner who's had limited opportunities in domestic cricket, made use of the IPL and became a household name through his performances.

"Now the IPL is not only about the top level. In the past in Indian cricket, when young players were looking for opportunities, the only place they got them from was from the state associations. They needed to play for their Ranji Trophy team in their own state, but today because of the IPL, you can be from Karnataka and you can play for Mumbai.

"In the past, [Tewatia] would not have been able to show his talent because there wouldn't have been a stage to do it. But that's the other great positive of the IPL. You have eight franchises looking out for the best players, so it's like having eight extra pairs of eyes watching out for talent all over the country, which is exactly why you're seeing so many of these young players come through," added Dravid.

According to Dravid, a byproduct of IPL's success stories has been India's growth as a major force in white-ball cricket. "India does have a very strong junior system, but it's not easy to give them these experiences just in domestic competition. The IPL gives these talents the opportunity to express them on the world stage. As much as we can do as coaches to help them in their journeys, the opportunity to bat with Virat Kohli and to learn from AB de Villiers is priceless and will help them grow as cricket players and as people as well.

"It's no coincidence that, if you look at India's white-ball cricket since the IPL started in 2008, we've won one World Cup, we've been in the semi-finals of two others. We won a Champions Trophy, we've been in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cups. In the last decade, India's white-ball cricket has been the best ever in our history, and a lot of that is because of the experiences these young players are getting," said Dravid.


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