The hype for Indian Premier League (IPL) has been growing with each passing day. Every small news regarding the IPL just builds up to that, and fans cannot wait any longer. It is appreciable on BCCI’s part that they have been able to finalise the tournament in the midst of a global pandemic. Millions of fans across the globe are eagerly looking forward to the IPL, after a long wait this year.
The IPL has been one of the most viewed cricket tournaments. It is a time when we see the entire cricket family hyped about cricket for the entire two months. From fantasy leagues, to virtual auctions, the hype is real.
The squads this year look evenly poised. With a few challenges here and there, we are looking forward to an extremely engaging tournament starting Saturday, September 19. This article aims to demonstrate the shortcomings of all 8 franchises.
1. Mumbai Indians:
Squad- Rohit Sharma (C), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Mitchell McClenaghan, Kieron Pollard, Anmolpreet Singh, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Nathan Coulter Nile, Quinton de Kock, Digvijay Deshmukh, Ishan Kishan, Dhawal Kulkarni, Chris Lynn, Mohsin Khan, Prince Balwant Rai, Saurabh Tiwary, Sherfane Rutherford, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, Anukul Roy.
Mumbai Indians lack experience in the spin attack. The spin attack consists of Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav and Anukul Roy. Krunal and Chahar are expected to start in the playing XI, and while both of them had a great season last year, none of them are wicket-takers. On the turning tracks of UAE, MI could have gone for a spinner that turns the ball, contrary to being “quick through the air”. Yadav and Roy as the backup spinners do not exactly instil fear in the eyes of the opposition.
The pace attack, barring Jasprit Bumrah, isn’t very strong. They might miss the experience of Lasith Malinga, who has the experience of performing in crunch situations, and his replacement James Pattinson lacks experience in the format. Trent Boult played only 5 games last season, and Coulter-Nile hasn’t played a single game in the previous 2 seasons. Dhawal Kulkarni has picked up just 13 wickets in 24 games, at an economy rate of over 9, in the past 3 seasons.
Another thing that might play on their mind is their performance in the UAE in 2014, where they lost all 5 games. Captain Rohit also didn’t perform to the best of his abilities, scoring a paltry 84 runs from 5 innings. A slow start to the season might affect their morale as a team, and they would surely love to start afresh and wash out all the bad memories.
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Squad- Virat Kohli(c), Moeen Ali, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pavan Deshpande, AB de Villiers, Shivam Dube, Aaron Finch, Gurkeerat Mann, Mohammed Siraj, Chris Morris, Pawan Negi, Devdutt Padikal, Parthiv Patel, Joshua Philippe, Shahbaz Ahmad, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Isuru Udana, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav, Adam Zampa
The primary concern of the Royal Challengers is the lack of an experienced Indian batsman in the middle order. While they have an explosive top order, the likes of Gurkeerat, Dube and Sundar are yet to prove themselves in the cash-rich league. Apart from the trio of Kohli, Finch, and de Villiers, the young Padikkal would be under pressure to start performing from the word go.
Another major issue for the team is deciding the 4 foreigners in the starting XI. Finch and de Villiers would be obvious starters, and Morris would surely start given the amount he was bought for. Now the dilemma is between Moeen Ali and Dale Steyn. Ali adds value as a spin-bowling all-rounder, but him playing would weaken the pace bowling attack. The inclusion of Steyn would definitely enhance the pace attack, but would weaken the already crippled lower middle order.
RCB have to start afresh this season, without carrying the baggage of poor performance in the recent past. Their past record in UAE isn’t impressive as well, having won only 2 games out of 5. They need to ensure that they start well, and maintain the consistency throughout the tournament. That shall only happen if the management doesn’t keep chopping and changing the squads after every game.
3. Chennai Super Kings:
Squad- M.S Dhoni(c), KM Asif, Dwayne Bravo, Deepak Chahar, Piyush Chawla, Sam Curran, Faf du Plessis, Rituraj Gaikwad, Josh Hazlewood, Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Kedar Jadhav, Narayan Jagadeesan, Monu Kumar, Lungi Ngidi, Ambati Rayudu, R sai Kishore, Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Murali Vijay, Shane Watson
Chennai Super Kings, one of the most successful sides in the IPL, have a real job on their hands this season. Known as “Dad’s Army”, their main-stays have not had game time for a while now. Dhoni didn’t play any international cricket post the WC; du Plessis and Jadhav were out of favour for their national teams, and Shane Watson has retired from international cricket. This might result in the players being rusty in the initial phases of the tournament. They might also be more injury-prone considering most of them have crossed 35 now.
Mr IPL Suresh Raina’s withdrawal from further participation in the tournament shall be highly detrimental for the CSK team. It’s almost impossible to imagine a CSK XI without him, and he has left a huge void to be filled at number 3. He would have also been handy with his quirky off-breaks in the spinner-friendly wickets of UAE. The value that he adds as a fielder is also unparalleled, and he would have surely improved the scenario in an already ageing squad.
While CSK have an enviable spin attack, they don’t have a very appealing pace attack. Deepak Chahar was COVID-19 positive a couple of weeks back, and it might take him some time to settle down into the scheme of things. Hazlewood hasn’t proved himself yet in the shortest format. Shardul Thakur leaks runs at the death, which in turn increases reliance on Bravo in the final overs.
4. Rajasthan Royals:
Squad- Steve Smith(c), Varun Aaron, Akash Singh, Anuj Rawat, Jofra Archer, Jos Butler, Tom Curran, Shreyas Gopal, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Aniruddha Joshi, Kartik Tyagi, Mahipal Lomror, Mayank Markande, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Ankit Rajpoot, Sanju Samson, Shashank Singh, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tewatia, Oshane Thomas, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Robin Uthappa, Manan Vohra
The major issue for the Rajasthan Royals in the recent past has been their over-reliance on their foreign core in the IPL. To win tournaments, it is a must for the Indian players to step up in times of crisis. Veterans like Robin Uthappa haven’t been in the best of form in recent times, and they would be looking to mend ways. The possible absence of Ben Stokes might also severely harm their chances this year.
Another cause of concern is their pace attack. Apart from the fiery Jofra Archer, there is no one that strikes fear in the minds of the opponent. Varun Aaron and Ankit Rajpoot are the Indian pacers, who haven’t exactly lived up to their talent and expectations. Tom Curran could prove to be a handy pacer, but it remains to be seen how he performs in crunch games.
They also lack finishers and proper all-rounders. Gopal has proved himself as the leader of the spin attack, but hasn’t shown his worth as a batsman who can finish games effectively. Rajasthan might face issues in accommodating a reliable finisher in the lower middle-order. Someone like a Riyan Parag might have to bat out of his natural position for the sake of the team’s comfort.
5. Delhi Capitals:
Squad- Shreyas Iyer(c), Ravichandran Ashwin, Avesh Khan, Alex Carey, Tushar Deshpande, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Sandeep Lamichanne, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Kagiso Rabada, Ajinkya Rahane, Jason Roy, Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav
Delhi Capitals lack finishers in their lineup. They have a batting heavy top order, but they are falling short on proper finishers. They will have players like Marcus Stoinis, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin to fill up the slots from 6 to 8. None of these batsmen are power-hitting game-changers. They are heavily reliant on the young top order to perform consistently, which in turn increases the pressure on them.
Delhi also fell short on replacements for their mainstay pacers. Apart from Rabada, Ishant and Mohit, they don’t have reliable pacers in their squads. Ishant is also injury prone, and it is to be seen how he sustains himself over the course of 14 games. Meanwhile, Avesh Khan is a potential replacement, who is also inexperienced.
The lack of all-rounders is something that might be a cause of concern for the Delhi-based side, Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel are the only major all-rounders in the lineup. Neither of them have been in good form recently, which might prove to be a headache for Delhi. Too many specialists might just spoil their broth.
6. Sunrisers Hyderabad:
Squad- David Warner(c), Rashid Khan, Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Fabian Allen, Jonny Bairstow, Basil Thampi, Priyam Garg, Shreevats Goswami, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mitchell Marsh, Mohammad Nabi, Shahbaz Nadeem, T Natarajan, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Bavanka Sandeep, Sandeep Sharma, Sanjay Yadav, Vijay Shankar, Billy Stanlake, Virat Singh, Kane Williamson
The primary issue with SRH is their middle-order. Some players might have to bat out of their regular roles, like Wriddhiman Saha. After a fiery top-order, SRH might find themselves struggling in the middle-overs. Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and other batsmen are yet to prove themselves on the big stage.
Another dilemma they are going to face is the decision of the 4th foreign player. Both Mohammad Nabi and Kane Williamson shall be impactful on the spinning tracks of UAE. Playing both would mean Bairstow would have to sit out, because Warner and Rashid are obvious picks. They might struggle in maintaining the correct balance.
The major issue that they face is their over-reliance on Warner, Rashid and Bhuvneshwar. If any of them happen to be out of form, SRH are going to struggle big time. Bhuvaneshwar has also been injury-prone in recent times, and his backups are not exactly the best of bowlers.
7. Kolkata Knight Riders:
Squad- Dinesh Kartik(c), Tom Banton, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Green, Kuldeep Yadav, Siddhesh Lad, Eoin Morgan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Nikhil Naik, Sunil Narine, Prasidh Krishna, Nitish Rana, Andre Russel, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Manimaran Siddharth, Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy
KKR lack quality Indian pacers. Apart from Cummins, who’s also a Test bowler primarily, the pace unit is very raw. Lockie Ferguson might prove to be effective but the Indian core is highly inexperienced. Among Warrier, Mavi, Nagarkotti and Krishna, none of them has international experience. Krishna is the most experienced of the lot, having played only 13 IPL games.
Kuldeep Yadav hasn’t been in the best of form over the past year, so that might hurt the spin-attack. He would have to up the ante to complement Sunil Narine. They would be required to perform consistently, considering the tracks on offer in the Emirates.
KKR may also have a problem of plenty while deciding their foreign players. It might end up being a choice between explosive Tom Banton, who has lit up T20 leagues across the globe, and the WC winning captain Eoin Morgan. Both of them add value to the table in their ways and skillsets, and this shall be a genuine dilemma for them to have in the IPL.
8. Kings XI Punjab:
Squad- KL Rahul(c), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Krishnappa Gowtham, Harpreet Brar, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, Darshan Nalkande, Jimmy Neesham, Nicholas Pooran, Ishan Porel, Ravi Bishnoi, Simran Singh, Jagdeesha Suchith, Tajinder Singh, Hardus Viljoen
KL Rahul is an inexperienced captain, so he might struggle in using the bowlers he has at his disposal effectively in the IPL. Over the past few seasons, they have often faded midway through the tournament, which shows that the players lack consistency. They also lack reliable backups for their core players, and injuries might lead them to more troubles.
KXIP lack experience in their spin-bowling department. They let go of the experienced Ashwin who led from the front. Mujeeb ur Rahman and M Ashwin will have to take care of the spin department now. Mujeeb might also struggle to warrant a place in the playing XI owing the 4 foreign player policy.
Their pace attack isn’t very impressive as well. They are most likely going to start with Shami, Cottrell and the inexperienced Ishan Porel. While Shami is a deadly bowler and has international experience, he can prove to be expensive in this format. The pitches in UAE might not suit the pacers as well.
~Written by Shayan Khan
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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