The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 10 edition is all set to begin in just a few hours. All the eight franchises have made their respective purchases. The ‘cricket festival’ will witness eight teams in action and the league will last for almost two months with 60 matches to be played. This year’s player’s auction added to the excitement levels around the competition with number of new faces are all set to make their IPL debut, while the biggest names remain. There are some overseas players who grabbed attention in the last few weeks but there are also certain Indian players who have a lot on their shoulders.
Here is a list of players to look out for in the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Team India’s star batsman and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) captain has struggled in the recently concluded Test series against Australia but this does not undermine the calibre of the swashbuckling batsman. His 2016 was a year to remember which saw him establish himself as one of the leading run-scorer across all formats that year. He enjoyed an astonishing run while leading RCB in the ninth edition of the league, scoring 973 runs, including four centuries. This year, there were speculations that Kohli may miss this season of the IPL as he undergoes rehabilitation for an injured shoulder. But, he should be available later. Kohli has played 139 IPL matches in which he has scored 4,110 runs with an average of 38.05, including 4 centuries and 26 half centuries.
The English all-rounder made it to the headlines even before the start of IPL 10. At this year’s auction, Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) bought Stokes for a record amount of Rs 12.50 crore, thus becoming the most expensive overseas player in the history of IPL. Last season RPS finished seventh. Now, adding Stokes’ calibre, the franchise will be hoping for a change in fortune.
Afghanistan’s 18-year-old spinner, Rashid Khan, became the second player after Mohammad Nabi from the country to be picked by an IPL franchise. The leggie was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 4 crore as he became the most expensive Associate player in the IPL. The wily spinner will be an asset for defending champions on spin friendly tracks. Khan is in amazing form and during the recently held ODI and T20I series against Ireland, the spinner scalped 26 wickets.
Rohit Sharma hasn’t been able to play much cricket this season owing to his injury but we all know what the opening batsman is capable of. Rohit has helped Mumbai Indians to lift the IPL trophy twice in 2013 and 2015. Rohit also holds the record for the highest individual innings score in ODIs, and is a central figure in Mumbai Indians’ batting line-up. He will look to cover up for his missed months of cricket and steer his team to a third title.
‘Lynnsantiy’ well and truly gripped the BBL in 2016-17. Lynn was in sensational form for Brisbane Heat, matching the tournament record for the most sixes in a single innings with 11 maximums en route to an unbeaten 98 against Perth Scorchers – the best score in the edition. The 26-year-old averaged a whopping 154.5 in Australia, and if he can replicate that form the Knight Riders have every shot of making the play-offs again.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
From the start of the IPL, we have seen MSD leading the team, until now. The 10th edition will be the first instance where Dhoni will be seen in a T20 game as just a player and not captain. While the fans are as much in shock over Steve Smith replacing MSD as the Pune Super Giant captain, his national team-mate Bhuvneshwar Kumar says he is still adjusting to the fact that Dhoni will not be seen as a captain in the IPL this year. Dhoni has played 143 matches in which he has scored 3,271 runs with an average of 39.40, including 16 half-centuries.
Batsmen must arrange some extra padding for their toes as Lasith Malinga is back in action. He is popularly known as ‘Slinga Malinga’. He is a veteran bowler from Sri Lanka. Malinga has most wickets in IPL. Malinga is known for his toe-crushing Yorkers, missed the last edition of the IPL due to knee injury, Malinga is all set to spearhead the Mumbai Indian’s attack once again. His variations help him to dry up runs in the death over’s. Malinga is now just two matches away from completing 100 IPL games and need seven more victims to cross 150 wickets-by far the most by any bowler in the T20 league.
The young pacer from South Africa will be keenly followed in his debut IPL season. Rabada, who can consistently touch speeds of 150kmph, has impressed in all the three formats of the game for South Africa, swinging the ball both ways. While he can torment batsmen with the new ball, Rabada is equally lethal in the death over’s. More than pace, Rabada will have to depend on variations on the flat Indian wickets and the South African has enough of those to trouble the batsmen.
The West Indian all rounder also features in this list because of his great bowling skills. He is the 3rd successful bowler in the IPL history. Bravo is a good death overs bowler who keeps his calm in pressure situations. Very rarely has Bravo disappointed his captains whenever the ball is tossed to him in difficult situations. He will be a vital cog in the Gujarat Lions’ attack.
Bangladesh’s most talented pacer in recent times, the left-arm seamer lived up to expectations in his IPL debut season last season when he finished with 17 wickets in 16 matches for the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. His ability to swing the ball at good pace and a deceptive cutter makes Mustafizur a lethal weapon for SRH. Mustafizur did well for Bangaldesh in the recent Test series against Sri Lanka.