IPL 2019: Teams get Plan B ready as foreigners leave for World Cup
As foreign players leave for next month’s World Cup preparations, some IPL teams will have to rethink strategies at the business end of the tournament. Among the teams that will be affected the most are Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Since IPL’s launch in 2008, two 50-over World Cups have been played, in 2011 and 2015. However, both were held before the T20 league. This is the first time the World Cup follows IPL, placing an extra demand on teams as they bid to maintain momentum.
While England players have already started to leave, Australian cricketers are slated to join their preparatory camp starting May 2 in Brisbane.
SRH will lose their top-scorer David Warner in the next few days as their contest against Kings XI Punjab in Hyderabad on April 29 will be his last. The 2016 champions will also have to fill the chasm left by Jonny Bairstow, who has combined brilliantly with Warner this season. Reserve opener Martin Guptill not getting a game so far, and skipper Kane Williamson’s struggle for runs and fitness, add to their anxiety.
SRH will be further depleted if Afghanistan spinners Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, not part of their camp in South Africa, leave. They have also been boosted by the presence of all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who is playing IPL while Bangladesh’s preparatory camp is on.
RCB, enduring a wretched run and at the bottom of the points table, were bolstered by Moeen Ali (216 runs and 8 wickets in 10 matches) and Marcus Stoinis (133 runs and one wicket in seven matches). However, they will expect AB de Villiers, Proteas World Cup member Dale Steyn and Tim Southee to fire. The team will also hope for better returns from Shimron Hetmyer and Colin de Grandhomme, who have struggled.
Struggling Rajasthan Royals too are set to miss key foreign players. Jos Buttler has returned to England for the birth of his child, the availability of his English teammates Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer will be decided soon. They will play Thursday’s match against Kolkata Knight Riders but further participation is unclear. Archer isn’t part of England’s preliminary squad, but he will play in the ODIs against Ireland, and the T20I and ODI series against Pakistan.
RR skipper Steve Smith is available for the next three matches, which will be crucial as they chase a play-off spot. The Australian batsman will only miss one group match as he heads to the preparatory camp.
Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, KKR and Kings XI Punjab will not be affected too much.
Among their key members, CSK may lose only Faf Du Plessis and Imran Tahir if South Africa decide a date for their World Cup camp. Among other Proteas players, Capitals will be without top wicket-taker Kagiso Rabada while Mumbai will miss Quinton De Kock, who has given stability at the top. A key aspect for CSK, Capitals and Mumbai is that their success has largely been built on Indian batsmen.
The eight New Zealand players in IPL have been permitted by their Board to stay till the end of the tournament. They will even miss the three practice matches against a full-strength Australia squad, on May 5, 7 and 9.
New Zealand coach Gary Stead has no issues. “They’re over there playing cricket, and that’s the main thing at this stage. They’re all preparing, they’re professionals, they know what they need to do,” he was quoted as saying by Newshub.
No team has misfired in this IPL like KKR. Andre Russell’s red-hot form has not been enough for the two-time winners, who boast of a few important Caribbean players. Cricket West Indies (CWI) will announce their preliminary side on Wednesday, and Russell, Carlos Brathwaite and Sunil Narine are expected to be picked. The loss of Narine could hurt KKR given Kuldeep Yadav’s struggle.
Kings XI will miss Chris Gayle’s power at the top if the Jamaican leaves and Mumbai the finishing abilities of Kieron Pollard at a crucial stage of the tournament.