Mumbai: With just another day left for the Indian Premier League to kick off, the opener in Bengaluru between the host, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, FJP takes us through the highs of the eight teams which will rub shoulders for the coverted cup and the Big Money that is at stake in this edition of the championship. The opener is a battle between the two Indian skippers, Virat Kohli the present of Bangalore and the past MS Dhoni of Chennai.
Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab look formidable as always but barring their performances of 2014 and 2008 where they reached final and semi-finals respectively, this team hasn’t been able to qualify for play-offs and also finished seventh last time. The management retained only 10 players and went on a spending-spree for – Varun Chakravarthy (Rs 8.4 crore), Sam Curran (Rs 7.2 crore) and Prabhsimran Singh (Rs 4.8 crore).
Star Player: Chris Gayle
Key player: KL Rahul
R Ashwin (C), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Agnivesh Ayachi, Sam Curran, Chris Gayle, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Mohammed Shami, Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh, David Miller, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Lokesh Rahul, Ankit Rajpoot, Prabhsimran Singh, Andrew Tye, Varun Chakravarthy, Hardus Viljoen.
Delhi Capitals will hope that a change in name brings change in fortunes for the side who are still chasing their first IPL title despite boasting some big names. Shikhar Dhawan is expected to score bulk of runs as management has dropped some big names and acquired services of utility players, who can contribute with both bat and ball. The team is a good mixture of youth and experience with support staff that includes Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting.
Star Player: Shikhar Dhawan
Key player: Colin Ingram
Shreyas Iyer (C), Colin Munro, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Hanuma Vihari, Colin Ingram, Manjot Kalra, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Jalaj Saxena, Rahul Tewatia, Rishabh Pant, Ankush Bains, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Nathu Singh and Bandaru Ayyappa.
Champions of the inaugural IPL, these men from the Pink City haven’t been able to replicate their performance ever since. Royals did make an inspiring comeback last year without their designated captain Steve Smith. And now with his inclusion, Royals look favourites to at least make playoffs this time. It took the Australian getting “into him a little bit” to shake the showman out of Buttler.
Star Player: Steve Smith
Key Player: Jos Buttler
Steve Smith, Ajinkya Rahane (C), Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudeshan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, Krishanappa Gowtham, Liam Livingstone, Jos Buttler, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.
The Mumbai Indians fared poorly last season and have an identical team of last time around. But since they are the IPL giants, there will always be expectations. Overall, the franchise has retained the core of last year and there are no obvious gaps in this team. The only difference this time perhaps is that they are going in the tournament with more depth and experience.
Star Player: Rohit Sharma
Key Player: Jasprit Bumrah
Rohit Sharma (C), Jason Behrendorff (Australia), Anmolpreet Singh, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting (Australia), Quinton de Kock (S Africa), Ishan Kishan, Pankaj Jaiswal, Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis (West Indies), Mitchell McClenaghan (New Zealand), Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka), Mayank Markande, Adam Milne (New Zealand), Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Rasikh Salam, Anukul Roy, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Yuvraj Singh.
Chennai Super Kings
The most successful and consistent team in IPL history, CSK also happen to be the defending champions and have featured in most number of IPL finals (seven). They are the only side to be captained by a single player (MS Dhoni) for over a decade and with the core of the group retained, CSK might be even a stronger contender this time. A genuine all-rounder, Bravo bats right-handed and bowls right-arm medium-fast pace.
Star Player: MS Dhoni
Key Player: Dwayne Bravo
MS Dhoni (c), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Sam Billings, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Narayan Jagadeesan, Mitchell Santner, Mohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, David Willey.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Led by Virat Kohli and with AB De Villiars in their side, The biggest mystery of IPL is perhaps how RCB haven’t managed to IPL even once in last 11 years. The only reason perhaps is the lack of firepower in their bowling armoury and this might once again prove to be the case. AB de Villiers, is a former South African cricketer who played for the South African national team.
Star Player: Virat Kohli
Key Player: Ab de Villiers
Virat Kohli (C), Ab de Villiers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Akshdeep Nath, Moeen Ali, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin de Grandhomme, AB de Villiers, Shivam Dube, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Shimron Hetymer, Himmat Singh, Kulwant Khejroliya, Klassen, Milind Kumar, Siraj, Pawan Negi, Parthiv Patel, Devdutt Padikkal, Navdeep Saini, PR Barman, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Southee, Washington Sundar, Umesh Yadav.
The Sunrisers have been the team to beat in the last three seasons. They were champions of 2016, made playoffs in 2017 and were undone by a Shane Watson century. The management has retained the core group and with inclusion of David Warner back in the side, SRH will stake claims to regain the title. Warner is the first Australian cricketer in 132 years to be in national team, without experience in first-class cricket.
Star Player: David Warner
Key Player: Rashid Khan
Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui, David Warner, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Abhishek Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Sreevats Gowsami, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem
Kolkata Knight Riders
The young Knights under the leadership of Dinesh Karthik did extremely well to enter playoffs last season. With a similar spinners-packed squad in place this time and an advantage of Eden Gardens pitch, the skipper will be hoping to do one better and go all the way. KKR is one of few teams who have all bases covered in the tournament.
Star Player: Andre Russell
Key Player: Sunil Narine
Dinesh Karthik (C), Sunil Narine, Andre
Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Joe Denly, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Harry Gurnley, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Shrikant Mundhe, Nikhil Naik, Anrich Nortje, Prithvi Raj,