IPL 2020: Why some teams could be banking more on foreign players initially in IPL13
IPL 2020: The England-Australia limited overs series not only benefited their cricket boards in the time Covid-19 but also IPL teams. There’s no gainsaying that match-fitness from the series would have helped these stars to tune up for the high-pressure T20 event.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 13:20 IST
Last Wednesday, Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises had more than a passing interest in the action at Manchester where England and Australia were involved in an intense one-dayer. Soon most of these players would be part of the IPL, which began in UAE on Saturday, and they included some top names such as Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, David Warner and Jonny Bairstow.
The England-Australia limited overs series not only benefited their cricket boards in the time Covid-19 but also IPL teams. There’s no gainsaying that match-fitness from the series would have helped these stars to tune up for the high-pressure T20 event.
“Every time, IPL has happened at the end of the season; first time it is acting as a curtain-raiser for the (India) season. Earlier, our focus used to be on trying and giving rest to the players who were coming after a long season. This time, the teams have been left looking to give them game time. It could be a tournament where the teams’ start slowly but finish strongly,” says former assistant-coach of Delhi Capitals Pravin Amre, now a talent scout with Mumbai Indians.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) are one of the sides to benefit from the England-Australia series, having four players joining them: Steve Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Tom Curran. “It’s good to see them returning with some valuable cricket behind them. As we all saw, it was a highly competitive, well-contested series between two wonderful sides which would’ve definitely upped their cricketing focus and would have re-invigorated their big-game instinct,” said RR head coach Andrew McDonald.
Smith is RR captain and with Buttler and Archer forms the team’s nucleus. “All those players are a vital cog of our Rajasthan Royals wheel and having them in this shape is key. Not only will their cricketing prowess help the squad but also their experience of competitive cricket in this post-COVID new-normal will be helpful in pushing the team in the right direction as we look to play cricket in these unusual circumstances,” said McDonald.
“They have been in a bio-bubble world as well (so it) won’t be such a shock to their system coming into the bubble,” said John Gloster, head of RR’s strength and conditioning team.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) coach Anil Kumble too would be pleased as when we talk of IPL in UAE, Glenn Maxwell is the first name that springs to mind. In KXIP colours, Maxwell led the team to five wins out of five when a part of the tournament was held here in 2014. In his first three matches then, Maxwell aggregated 279 runs (95 off 43 balls; 89 off 45 balls, 95 off 43 balls) at a mind-boggling average of 93. He served another warning on Wednesday with 90-ball 108, the second century of his ODI career.
The situation in which he played that knock and the quality of strokeplay meant Maxwell, who took a break to deal with mental health issues, is back to his best. In typical style, he smoked more sixes than fours, raising his hundred with his seventh over-boundary. The stage is set for Maxwell again.
No franchise is as reliant on one overseas player as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are on Warner. The Australian had a quiet series in England but it was possibly because of his inability to deal with the conditions, which was evident during the last Ashes too. Warner has a great record in IPL and had settled down in the final ODI before frittering a good start with a poor shot against Joe Root’s part-time off-spin. As SRH captain, he will be happy with the form shown by Bairstow, the England opener smashing a hundred in the final ODI. The Warner-Bairstow firm was the most successful opening pair last season with 791 runs.
Warner’s teammate Mitchell Marsh is also part of SRH. Australia captain Aaron Finch and leg-spinner Adam Zampa are with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who also have England’s Moen Ali. England’s Sam Curran and Australia’s Josh Hazlewood play for Chennai Super Kings; Australia keeper-batsman Alex Carey, who got a match-winning hundred on Wednesday, is with Delhi Capitals; Cummins, the biggest buy of the last auction, and Eoin Morgan will represent Kolkata Knight Riders.
Royals should also be happy with Jos Buttler’s form. He didn’t get runs in the one-day series but was the best player in the twenty20 matches preceding the ODIs.
Some players from West Indies and Afghanistan have tuned in by taking part in the Caribbean Premier League. They are: SRH’s spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi; Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard; CSK’s Dwayne Bravo; KKR’s Sunil Narine and Andre Russell and DC’s Shimron Hetmyer (DC).
Over the course of IPL13, Indian players will be central to these teams’ plans but for the early part, they could bank a little more on their foreign players.
“Even though we say the players are all mature, they need a game or two to shake off rust. The Australia and England players will be match ready. Those players will be in rhythm. To find the rhythm is so critical. The batsmen adjust faster, the bowlers take a little more time,” said Amre.