The story of Indian Premier League season two has been the phenomenal performances from cricket's old horses. While the retired Matthew Hayden holds the 'orange cap' for most runs in IPL2, Adam Gilchirst has most dismissals as wicket keeper. Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya have smashed bowlers all over the park and just when everyone said Twenty20 cricket is for young guns, these men have proved many wrong.
In what is pitted as the battle for the semi final spot, Mumbai Indians star batsman Sanath Jayasuriya speaks to us.
It is said that T20 is about youth, you think that theory has been proved wrong?
I think all the seniors have proved that IPL is not just for youngsters and they are still performing well. I am very happy to play this format of cricket and perform well. I think experience counts a lot; we have played [a] lot of cricket. The key is to adjust in such conditions. All the senior and experienced players are doing well and because of them [the] younger lot is also trying to do well.
Do you reckon foreign conditions to be the main reason why the seniors are shining in IPL2?
Obviously, it counts a lot when you play cricket away from home. Seniors have toured South Africa over 4 to 5 times and that experience comes in handy [in] such conditions during this time of the year as compared to our part of world. So I think most players who toured South Africa have adjusted themselves earlier than [the] younger lot who find these conditions tough to play.
Seniors are important, but can one deny that T20 is for quick players and fresh legs?
It was proved last year that seniors are important and even this year some old players have played well. But I must admit that youngsters have been impressive this season. Even with the tournament being held in South Africa young guys have chipped in which is good for cricket. You need a good blend of experience and young energy.
Why have we not seen more of Sanath and Sachin at the top of the innings opening together?
Well, it was decided to promote Bravo up the order. He was keen to open the innings and it was a good gamble. He played a brilliant knock first up and helped us win a crucial game. Tendulkar's experience in middle order is needed; it comes handy during chases as he will look to seal the game for us if he gets going.
How do you and Sachin plan your innings when you guys step out together?
We always bat to a plan. Whoever sees the ball early on goes for the big hits. Some days it can be Sachin or other days it could be me going after the bowling. We just try to bat our natural game. We want Sachin to bat for longer period.
You think Mumbai Indians are too dependent on both of you?
Sachin will punish lose deliveries but try to stay till the end. It gives more confidence to the players when Sachin is out there in the middle for 10-12 overs. Duminy can play sheet anchor in the middle order. These two play a crucial role while others can rally around.
It's a big game on Thursday, Rajasthan Royals will also be looking for a win to seal semi final berth, but do you think it is "Advantage Mumbai"?
Well, we have the momentum; the mood is good in the camp. But in Twenty20 cricket all opposition are tough. Rajasthan Royals have been struggling in this tournament and with Warne injured, they have to work hard. I expect it to be a tough battle.
Any targets this season you have set for IPL2?
Last year I had a good IPL, I want to just contribute and keep it same. It is important that Mumbai Indians continue winning at the same time. I want to perform big. We need to try hard and look to achieve the first objective of reaching the semi final stage. We will try and go few steps ahead and put up good show this season surely but semi final is our first target.