IPL is the biggest tournament in the world, says Owais Shah
Last Updated: 13/02/20 1:44pm
Owais Shah says the Indian Premier League is the "biggest tournament in the world" and believes success there can transform a player’s career.
Shah featured for four different IPL teams during his playing days and says the experience is unlike anything else a cricketer will encounter around the world.
"It's probably the biggest tournament in the world, the most followed," he told Sky Sports. "If you look at countries like America, apparently that is the country where the IPL is followed the most outside of India.
"Then you throw in the financial rewards that are on offer for the players and when you put that together as a package, it is a great, great competition and that is what makes it so big. When you are involved in it, it is something that you do not experience anywhere else in the world.
"As an example, outside your team hotel there are lots of people 24/7 waiting just to get a glimpse of a player maybe leaving to get some food or something, they are there for a photo opportunity.
"Then in your hotel, if you order food to your room, the guy who brings your food will have all the details of how you performed in the IPL, not just that year but the last two or three years. Their knowledge is ridiculous and the whole country just lives and breathes cricket."
With the men's T20 World Cup just a few months away, Shah thinks playing in the tournament can only help the England players to develop.
"Eoin Morgan has played a lot of IPL cricket, Jonny Bairstow has done really well in the last couple of years then you've got Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and all these guys have really benefitted from playing T20 cricket in the IPL," he said.
"It is just a great place to go and show off your skills and it can really impact your whole career… when you perform at the IPL, your value really goes up because when that auction comes around the following year, guys are putting up their paddle to bid for you and the financial rewards can be ridiculous as the likes of Tymal Mills and Stokes have experienced.
"As a professional cricketer, you want to almost tell the world how good you are and to announce yourself on the IPL stage sends the message out to the rest of the world, followers of T20 cricket, that this guy has arrived."
One player who Shah is backing to do just that in this year's competition is England opener Tom Banton, who has been signed by Kolkata Knight Riders.
"I've been watching him in the Big Bash this winter and he is a very, very exciting prospect so watch out for him," he added. "It helps with him being at KKR with an English captain in Eoin Morgan, hopefully he'll get the nod. And, of course, he will want to really impress the [England] selectors.
"I also like Shimron Hetmyer, who has had a good winter in India. Left-handed batsman from the Caribbean, he looks very exciting and he has the ability to dominate spinners.
"If you are going to be successful in IPL cricket, you've got to be able to dominate spin and I felt Hetmyer did that in the one-day series against India.
"Two young guys, one is probably more established than the other but those are the two guys who can light up the IPL this year."