The Indian Premier League is one of the biggest stages for a player to prove his mettle in the shortest format. The quality of cricket played in the IPL is very high because of the availability of the star players, be it Indian or overseas. During the IPL, not many international games are played, and overseas players are available to feature in the league.
Since teams can accommodate a maximum of eight overseas players in their squad and four in the playing XI, teams focus on match-winners. The specific kind of overseas players who attract huge bids are pacers, power-hitters and pace bowling all-rounders.
The reason is the lack of such options in the Indian market in enough numbers. As many as 29 overseas players were sold in the auction, including 13 players from Australia – the highest for a nation after India.
With T20 World Cup coming up in 2020, there is no better competition for a player to test and improve his skills in the shortest format. Some of the overseas players are sold at a very high price in the IPL auction. And hence, the hefty price tag puts extra pressure to perform and justify his worth.
Here are the five overseas players to watch out for in the next edition of the IPL:
1. Pat Cummins (KKR)
Pat Cummins was the most expensive player in the recently held auction at Kolkata for IPL 2020. And, the most expensive overseas player in the history of the Indian Premier League. Well, the price 15.50 crores INR is a bit too much for Cummins; but the reason is high demand and low supply. High demand for quality pacers able to do well in the death overs and low availability of such speedsters.
With a base price of two crores, Cummins was surprisingly in the all-rounder section in the auction. RCB and DC had a good battle only to see Cummins cheering ‘Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo’ at the end. The Aussie quick did not feature in the last edition of the cash-rich league, however, he had represented KKR and Delhi Daredevils (Delhi Capitals now) earlier. In his short IPL career of 16 matches, Cummins picked up 17 wickets with not very imposing figures.
With a hint of swing in early of the inning and good bounce, the deck at Eden Gardens – home ground of KKR supports the fast bowler. However, good batting pitch and short boundaries would be a big challenge for the 26-year-old. The right-arm pacer is not so effective in the shortest format as he is in the longest format. The Aussie star is expected to provide early wickets to his team in the powerplay. He might not nail the yorkers consistently but may succeed by hitting hard lengths given his pace.
2. Ben Stokes (RR)
Ben Stokes one of the best all-rounders in ODIs and Tests is not a great player in the T20 cricket. In 23 T20Is, Stokes averages mere 15 and strikes around 130 with the bat and has 10 wickets to his name. The numbers improve in T20s but not by a big margin. Whilst Stokes has not scored a fifty in T20Is, he has scored just nine 50+ scores in his T20 career of 120 matches. The English all-rounder is certainly better than these numbers.
A good IPL season with Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017 helped Stokes in getting a hefty cheque in the mega auction for IPL 2018. However, the southpaw has failed to register even a single 50+ score for Rajasthan Royals – a huge disappointment for the franchise. Royals have persisted with Stokes, as he was retained by the franchise for the second consecutive time. In his IPL career of 34 matches across three seasons, Stokes has scored 635 runs and snared 26 scalps.
The doohickeys have been very good for Stokes in international cricket this year, and he has been in the form of his life since the World Cup 2019. However, the last T20I he played was in October 2018. Thus, the possibility that he will improve his performance in the shortest format is still unknown. The 26-year-old is a good batsman with a big temperament and will be more confident, given his form. With T20 World Cup 2020 coming up, Stokes would look to get his touch back in this format.
3. Glenn Maxwell (KXIP)
The second most expensive player in this auction was Glenn Maxwell, another Aussie who missed IPL 2019. Maxwell had not performed well in the IPL in the past, however, he managed to attract huge bid yet again. Delhi Capitals, the franchise he played for in IPL 2018 started bidding for him again, however, KXIP outdid DC and recruited Maxwell for 10.75 crores INR. Maxwell is a tempting option to go for because of the kind of batsman he is in the shortest format.
In his IPL career spread over 69 games, the right-handed batsman averages about 23 with just six fifties across seven seasons. Contrasting to this, his performance in T20Is and other T20 leagues is a lot better than that in the IPL. The attacking batsman in the middle-order is a different beast on his day – an impact player, a match-winner. The 31-year-old is a very good player of spin which makes him an asset in the middle overs.
Apart from being a good player of spin, Maxwell is an accomplished slogger in the death overs. He has unorthodox gameplay – he plays switch-hits even at the beginning of the innings, he plays scoop shots, he plays ramp shots, he plays innovative shots. Playing 28 games this year, Maxwell has amassed 940 runs with a fantastic average of 47 and a staggering strike rate of over 161. Given his price tag and good form, Maxwell will be the key batsman in the middle-order for the Punjab based franchise.
4. Chris Morris (RCB)
The T20 specialist Chris Morris was the third highest-paid cricketer in the auction for IPL 2020. Royal Challengers Bangalore went all-out for Morris and bought him for a whopping sum of 10 crores. RCB needed a finisher and a death bowler. So, RCB’s decision to go for Morris was the correct decision, as he can perform both the roles.
Morris is an experienced player in the shortest format with 195 T20s under his belt, however, he has failed to convert his potential into performance at the international stage. In the IPL, Morris has played for several teams across six seasons, with Delhi Capitals being his previous franchise. Featuring in 61 IPL games, the bowling all-rounder has accumulated 1709 runs and 69 wickets with an economy of less than eight.
The 32-year-old was good with the ball in IPL 2019, a bit expensive albeit; however, he wasn’t up to the mark with the willow. Morris can nail yorkers well and has an ample number of variations in his array; which make him a capable death bowler. Coming to his batting, the right-hander is a good batter, able to deliver the goods in the slog overs. Morris will be crucial for the Kohli-led team and RCB would be hoping him to justify his price tag.
5. Shimron Hetmyer (DC)
Shimron Hetmyer, one of the finest youngsters in the world cricket at the moment was bought by Delhi Capitals in the auction. Hetmyer was in good form before the auction for IPL 2019 and was bought by RCB for 4.2 crores INR. However, his form dipped and was not backed by the Kohli-led team after four consecutive bad games. Hetmyer played a match-winning knock of 75 runs against SRH in RCB’s last game of IPL 2019.
Poor form in the international cricket before the retentions for IPL 2020 resulted in Hetmyer’s exclusion from RCB’s squad. However, the southpaw was back in the form again before the IPL 2020 auction and received a huge bid of 7.75 crores INR. Hetmyer is expected to bat at four or five for his new IPL franchise Delhi Capitals. He along with Rishabh Pant who is also an attacking batsman can form a deadly batting duo.
The talent of the 23-year-old is not justified by his numbers in T20Is and non-international T20 games. His numbers in the 50-over format are decent though and the work is in progress. The deck at Delhi Capitals’ home ground (Feroz Shah Kotla) is often slow and might not assist Hetmyer’s gameplay.
However, the batsman from Guyana is a good player of spin. Shimron is a game-changer and can change the complexion of the game in a few overs. The Delhi based franchise would be hoping for Hetmyer’s good form as they have invested a handsome amount in the young man.
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