For the cricketing fraternity, the biggest attraction of the year 2020 is the 7th edition of the T20 championship. Not only will it be the first ICC event of this decade, it will also mark the beginning of a new era where T20 cricket is likely to achieve greater heights.
Notably, the event is also returning after a gap of four years and thus, it will definitely help the game reach a new set of audience. Besides, all the participants will have a golden opportunity to bag one of the prestigious titles of the game.
Before that, the fans are assured of pure entertainment as the 13th edition of IPL will be played in a couple of months. Unlike the last season, most of the international cricketers will be aiming to make their presence felt in this season as every nation is prepping for the T20 World Cup.
Hence, with the youngsters, the selectors will also be keeping a close eye on the performances of established cricketers. Some of these yesteryear stars might get a ticket to Down Under if things go right for them in the upcoming IPL.
Here is the list of 5 cricketers for whom IPL 2020 is the final chance to make an international comeback:
1. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina is one of the most underrated T20 cricketers in the world. Though he is not known for his power-hitting the southpaw has always been a consistent performer in this format. Whether it is for the Indian team or his IPL franchise, Chennai Super Kings Raina has set several T20 records in his heydays including of the first Indian to score a century in a T20I.
Having said that it is hard to believe that he has not been the part of the Indian T20 team for the last 18 months. The reason being his string of low scores in the domestic tournaments and as well as in the IPL. In 2019 IPL he scored 383 runs in 15 games which is his second-lowest season total in his 12-year career. Still, he has been trusted by the CSK franchise and has been retained for the upcoming IPL saga.
At 33 it might be his final opportunity to make an international comeback. Though the Men in Blue have tried various options in the middle-order none of them have booked their permanent seat in the dressing room. That’s why if Raina can get some runs under his belt then he will be making a strong case for the T20 carnival scheduled in Australia later in the year. Notably, his experience of being the most successful batsman in IPL playoffs will suit the Indian team who has frequently buckled under pressure in the final stages of the global events.
2. Chris Gayle
There is a reason why Chris Gayle is called the Universe Boss of the cricketing world and it is because of his ability to dominate the opposition on the cricketing field. Especially his T20 record is nothing short of a spectacle as he has scored close to 15000 runs in 450 games. Besides he was part of the Caribbean side which lifted the T20 titles in 2012 and 2014.
However, in recent times the southpaw has struggled in the maroon jersey and that’s why he has not been part of the team’s action plans. He played his last international tie against India in August 2019. Since then he has been playing T20 leagues around the globe but has not achieved the same level of success.
Still, the cricketing fraternity will be eagerly waiting for his towering sixes in the 2020 IPL where he has achieved great success in his decade long journey. A year ago he was one of the leading run-getters of the tournament with 490 runs in 13 games.
Hence, this time the Punjab team will be again banking on him to provide them with explosive starts. If he manages to do it then he might end up on the plane to Australia for the 7th edition of the T20 championship. A player in the island nation is never out of contention until he decides to stop playing the game completely which is a piece of good news for Gayle.
3. MS Dhoni
The year has changed but the speculations surrounding MS Dhoni’s retirement plans are still doing the rounds in the cricketing circle. Such has been the uncertainty about his international career that even Heisenberg’s uncertainty equation cannot predict the outcome. Even the BCCI and the Indian team management are tight-lipped about the issue which has further fuelled the debate.
After his gut-wrenching run-out in the 2019 World Cup semi-final, the former Indian captain has stayed away from the game. Though he is not scheduled to play international games in the coming months the fans are still are hoping for his final flourish in the upcoming T20 World Cup. For that to happen his 2020 IPL performances will be watched from close quarters.
From the last two years, Dhoni has been on a hot run of form with two consecutive 400 plus seasons. Especially he has revived the aura of his finishing skills with his final over heists and in the process has also prolonged his international career. Even the country’s head coach, Ravi Shastri has hinted the possible return of Dhoni for a final lap in the international circuit if he stays true to his billing in the upcoming IPL season. So now once again Dhoni will be taking the field in the 13th edition of IPL with his T20 World Cup dreams looming on his head.
4. Andrew Tye
The Australian team has always produced world-class fast-bowlers. While most of them are known for their pace and on-field aggression a select few have tried to change the norm in the country’s cricket. One of them is the Western Australian speedster Andrew Tye, who has been bamboozling the batsmen around the world with his variations.
Tye is an excellent white-ball player and his track record is testimony to the fact. He has taken close to 200 wickets in 150 T20s. As far as his international record is concerned he has accounted for 37 scalps in 26 games. His economy rate of 8.7 even after bowling at the most difficult times, death-overs is quite impressive. Besides, he was the leading wicket-taker in 2018 T20Is with 31 wickets in 18 games.
However, Tye has not played a single game in 2019 owing to his elbow injury and now his international career is at crossroads. With age not on his side and other young pacers breathing down his neck it might be difficult for him to make the cut for the T20 World Cup. Still, he has a small window of opportunity to put on the Australian Cap for one more time if works his magic in the 2020 IPL.
He has good memories of the league as his 2018 IPL heroics enhanced his reputation in the cricketing community. So another Purple Pup will definitely fulfil his dreams of playing a World Cup in front of his home crowd.
5. Mitchell McClenaghan
Everybody knows that Brendon McCullum is the most successful Kiwi player in the IPL but do you know the Kiwi who has won the most number of IPL trophies? You might be surprised to hear the name as he has not played a single international game in the last two years. The correct answer to the above question is Mitchell McClenaghan and he has won the title 3 times as a part of the Mumbai Indians squad.
The left-arm pacer may not be the greatest bowling commodity of the IPL but he has played a big role in making the Mumbai franchise a reckoning force in the league. He has bagged 71 wickets at an economy rate of 8.5 in his 56 appearances. More importantly, he has proved his mettle in crunch situations i.e. he ended up with figures of 3/25 and 0/24 in the 2015 IPL final and 2019 IPL final respectively. So it is evident that he is a big match player.
Having said that his inconsistency has been his biggest enemy. That’s why he is mostly considered a secondary option by the New Zealand selectors but he can change the notion by performing well in the IPL 2020. McClenaghan has often received praise for his wicket-taking abilities and slow-ball variations in the death-overs.
Apart from Trent Boult, the Kiwis might need an experienced head in a tournament like T20 World Cup as of late Tim Southee has not been at his best in T20Is. So, Mitchell might get a look in but first, he will have to bowl impressive spells in the 13th edition of IPL.
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