Kolkata: The brand value of Indian Premier League will not get affected by the recent ball-tampering scandal that rocked the cricketing world, feels Royal Challengers Bangalore wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel.
Australian captain Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner were involved in a pre-meditated plan to tamper with the ball on the third day of the Cape Town Test against South Africa and let Cameron Bancroft carry out the act.
The scandal has generated widespread condemnation stretching beyond sport, including Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who said it "bitterly disappointed the whole nation". The row had its repercussion in IPL 2018 as well as the Aussie duo will not be allowed to play in the T20 franchise tournament because of their roles in ball tampering.
"It's unfortunate. But IPL has been a very big brand. It's such a big tournament with a lot of young players and seniors have been around for years. A couple of incidents that has happened outside the IPL should not affect," Patel told reporters on the sidelines of a Royal Challengers Bangalore event.
Smith and Warner have been banned for a year while rookie Bancroft was given a nine-month ban by Cricket Australia. "I don't think I'm in a position to speak on what has happened. The ICC and CA have taken decisions... Right now the focus is how RCB can win and how I can contribute rather than thinking about something which has happened outside," Patel said.
Having won the IPL twice (2015 and 2017) with Mumbai Indians, Patel is back with RCB after an earlier stint in 2014, and hopes to contribute in winning the elusive title for the Virat Kohli-led side. "A lot has changed from where I was in 2014. I'm coming with a lot of experience of winning the tournament. My performance individually has been very good in last few IPLs, also in the domestic tournaments. "Nothing many things will change for me. I've been working hard personally. Hopefully I will help the team to win the tournament," Patel said.
"RCB have played two finals (in IPL and CLT20), but could not convert to tournament winning performance. There's no point analysing what happened in last few years. We could have done it (the analysis) if it was the same team."
Patel has been a part of as many as six franchises in his IPL career and has effected 71 dismissals and scored 2,322 runs. "A lot of changes have been made to the team. The balance of the side has changed. It feels all the bases are covered, as far as batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders are concerned. We feel we can do it this time," he said.
"It's a great franchise. Honestly we had a great time may not be on the field but the off the field we gelled really well then. We could not convert it into winning performance. It's a great set up. They look after players really well, the practice facilities etc..."
Showering praise on Kohli's captaincy, he said the India skipper brings out the best from his players. "When Virat's captaining, you have to be on your toes. He brings in a lot of positive energy makes sure you have to give 100 percent, a reason why we are getting a lot of positive results. "A captain's job is to push you, as a leader if you want results you want everyone to give more than 100 per cent. There's no complaints about captain pushing you. Setting the right example."
In the wake of Dinesh Karthik's last ball six to win the T20 Tri-Series Trophy final against Bangladesh, Patel said the wicketkeeping scenario has changed and credited it to MS Dhoni. "The way world cricket and the standard that Dhoni has set, I'm sure everyone tries to match that. It's exciting times for all the wicketkeepers. Look at the competition around, if one gets injured the other is always ready.
There's a line of wicketkeepers in Indian cricket at this point of time. It brings the best out of us, and we know it."
"Whoever is playing is capable enough to do well for India. Whoever playing has to be on top of their game," he said referring to Karthik's recent knock of nine ball 29 not out. "It's not easy when you're playing for India. The competition will always be there. As long as the competition is there, the Indian cricket is in good shape."
Patel said wicketkeepers in Test cricket now think of scoring tons rather than contributing 20s and 30s. "When you're wicketkeeping that's your primary job but when you're out there as a batsman, you have to think that you're capable enough to contribute in hundreds and not in 20s and 30s -- I'm talking about Test cricket. It's as good as allrounders' job. It's not easy."
The RCB promotional event also featured allrounder Pawan Negi who has been retained using the Right to Match (RTM) card in the IPL auction. "There will be no pressure on me rather I'm excited to play and contribute to the team knowing that I've the faith of the team and the captain," the left-arm spinner, who doubles up as a pinch-hitter lower down the order, said.
Negi burst onto the scene following the IPL auction in 2016 when Delhi Daredevils stunned everyone by picking the uncapped player for Rs 8.5 crore. The all-rounder played eight matches out of 14 for Delhi Daredevils, but starred with neither bat nor ball.
Negi, however, said he's improved as a cricketer since that unforgettable season. "It (the money) does make a difference in lifestyle. But as a cricketer I've improved. I was under Rahul Dravid. Then RCB took me. I've learnt a lot in the two years. If others talk about me and my price, it helps me. I take it in a positive way," he signed off.