We all have wondered in the last few weeks why the foreign quotient of the IPL isn’t quite overflowing. Quite a few biggies have been missing but the situation is due to change shortly. It could have a dramatic effect on the fortunes of the teams.
Now that the Australia-New Zealand cricket exchanges are over, the fans have reasons to look forward to the likes of Shane Watson, Doug Bollinger, Ross Taylor and Daniel Vettori. Brendon McCullum and Mike Hussey too have a platform to serve their fare. Elsewhere, Kevin Pietersen’s arrival is being eagerly awaited. A few teams are in dire need for this dose of foreign adrenalin. The Kolkata Knight Riders have almost their complete line-up but McCullum can make a huge difference at the top.
The team is at a critical stage of its campaign. A few wins could get it back on the rails. Their batting will get a huge fillip with McCullum’s presence, who remains the highest scorer ever in the IPL.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore, having slipped a notch below the Delhi Daredevils on the table, can only get stronger with Ross Taylor and Pietersen. Their bowling is already working fine with Anil Kumble, the indefatigable warrior, still proving impossible to get away. Praveen Kumar, despite the mauling in the last game, forms an effective pair with Vinay Kumar. And then there is Dale Steyn.
Rajasthan Royals can really do with the presence of Watson. The hulk of an Australian all-rounder is a huge presence in all three departments of the game. The Royals, who now and then expose the frailty in their batting order, would be a side transformed with the return of Watson. Shaun Tait, Shane Warne and Waston can dig holes around any team.
So, things can still change quickly. The early sparring has made teams realise each other’s strengths. Combinations are working well for some teams while others, such as the Kolkata Knight Riders are fiddling with their personnel as well as their batting order to no good effect. It will be interesting to know if all the escape routes of the KKR have been cut or they can still come back from the dead.
The Chennai Super Kings too can make a late charge. Any team with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in its ranks should not be discounted.