New Delhi: Twenty20 is primarily considered the format more suitable for young cricketers as it is a far cry from the traditional form of cricket and entails high-voltage action and supreme agility on the field. The naysayers dismiss this version of cricket as kitschy entertainment but the IPL defies this rationale as a number of veteran cricketers ply their trade in the cash-rich league even after their retirement from international cricket.
Rahul Dravid: Dravid retired from international cricket after the disastrous Australian tour in 2012 but he said that he would continue to play in the IPL to wean himself off from the game he's attached to. He described playing in the IPL as the 'cooling off' period to let his retirement sink in. Dravid captained Rajasthan Royals in the fifth edition of the IPL and performed considerably well scoring 462 runs at a strike-rate of 112.13. Though his team couldn't qualify for the play-offs, Dravid did a fine job of nurturing and guiding youngsters like Ajinkya Rahane. The 40-year-old will lead the Rajasthan franchise in IPL6 as well and there are speculations that this might prove his last season of the competitive cricket.
Adam Gilchrist: The former Australian wicketkeeper led the now-defunct Deccan Chargers to the title in 2009 and was later bought by Kings XI Punjab to captain the side in 2011. In both the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the Punjab franchise failed to make it to the play-offs. Gilchrist did well in 2011 but came a cropper in the last season. He suffered a hamstring injury during the tournament and could play only seven matches from which he mustered only 172 runs with one half-century. At that time, he was 40 years old and it was apparent that age was catching up with him and after Punjab's last match of the IPL 2012, he told reporters that he had played his last match and expressed the desire to become a coach. "I would say I've played my last game of cricket just there," Gilchrist said after the match. "I'll go away and have a think about it and talk to the franchise. If the franchise is still keen to keep me involved as coach, which is a role I've really enjoyed."
From Rahul Dravid to Virender Sehwag, the veterans have their own set of reasons to turn up for the cash-rich league and demonstrate their wares.
But come IPL 6, the 41-year-old did a complete volte-face and made himself available for the tournament. He will lead Punjab again and it will be interesting to see what Gilchrist brings to the table given he has not played any competitive cricket in the last year. It's probably high time for the legendary glovesman to either shape up or ship out.
Sachin Tendulkar: Tendulkar bid adieu to limited-overs cricket in December 2012 but he will take part in IPL 6. Earlier this year, he declined to captain the side and suggested the name of Ricky Ponting. He might be struggling in international cricket but his IPl showings are pretty neat, if not splendid. In the last season, Tendulkar racked up 324 runs in 13 matches. Overall, he is the third highest run-getter (2047) in the history of the IPL at an average of 37.91. Given his voracious appetite for runs and passion for cricket, it would be futile to predict Tendulkar's future even in the IPL.
Virender Sehwag: Sehwag is one of the veterans who would look at IPL 6 as a measure to revive his international cricket. He has been dropped from both India's ODI and Test sides and a strong performance in the IPL might enable him to recapture his place at least in the limited-overs format. He had a terrific time in IPL 5 both as a batsman and a captain with 495 runs in 16 matches at an astounding strike-rate of 161.23. He established a record of five consecutive half-centuries as Delhi Daredevils finished at the top of the table in the league round. At 34, Sehwag would be gung go to prove that he still has few years of international cricket left in him and the IPL could be the perfect stage for the Delhi batsman.