Indian Premier League 2019 – Season 12 is here. Ever since it’s inaugural season of 2008, the tournament had only grown leaps and bounds. Each year, at least 100 players from across the world get an opportunity to showcase their talent across multiple cities of the country and explore the love for the sport.
With the motto of “where talent meets the opportunity”, IPL didn’t disappoint the nation on the lookout for the next big super star coming through the ranks or some careers reborn.
This year is no different. As the nation elects it’s next prime minister, the cricketing nation watches closely at the players who could make impact during the season.
Here are the list of the 8 players to watch out for during IPL 2019:
Chennai Super Kings: After the magical comeback last season, it is only time for the most successful franchise of IPL to consolidate it’s reputation. While making it to the playoffs every single season is not a easy target to maintain, the team offered the trolls with a feast – many puns aimed at the average age of the team.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 2018 is an almost breakthrough season for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Without the Warner, Captain Kane helped the team deliver some of the best performances during the season. If not for the mighty Chennai, Sunrisers would have been a champion side. The expectations only grow with the return of David Warner.
Rajasthan Royals: What a magical turnaround the team had in the second half of 2018. With Steve Smith returning and Jos Buttler scoring runs for his national side, things could only be better for the franchise that transformed from being a value-for to big-bucks. Many players eager to push their fortunes and mark turnarounds – Unadkat, Samson and most importantly skipper Rahane.
Kolkata Knight Riders: End of 2019 World Cup could be the beginning of new generation replacing the stars of present day. This would mean there is an opportunity for new talent to be tested and developed for the next world cup. Kolkata Knight Riders invested heavily on the future, signing a lot of prospects. Disappointed they would be to lose Nagarkoti and Mavi, but the rise of Shubman Gill could be the story of not just KKR but the Indian national team.
Royal Challengers Bengaluru: After the last year’s “ee saala cup namdhe” campaign going wrong, the red and black team start off with extreme caution. Less aggressive campaigning and more determined stars could make the year memorable for their huge fan base. Dominated across other sports in the country, the Bengaluru side would believe some of that luck would rub on to the cricket too.
Mumbai Indians: If you are a believer of patterns, it is not difficult to hope for a blockbuster performance from Mumbai Indians. Loaded with superstars and hardcore fan base, they are the side to watch out for. With Rohit Sharma confirming on the position he would bat, will leave the middle order vulnerable. Indian core need to step up, that would mean a meaningful season for Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Braindar Sran, whenever he gets a chance, could help them rise through the ranks.
Kings XI Punjab: A wonderful first half and a nightmarish second half of last season meant the Punjab team couldn’t make it to play off in fourth straight year. Another bad year would mean worrying signs for the franchise as referred to many as the “forgotten side of IPL”. If KL Rahul’s contention to World Cup squad is in contention, so are the credentials of skipper R Ashwin. Moving away from Chennai is not an easy option but he looked rusty and clueless last year.
Delhi Capitals: Delhi Daredevils are now rechristened to become Delhi Capitals. Ricky Ponting is joined by Sourav Ganguly as a part of think tank. Filled with loads of talent all over the par, can Delhi break through the mist of doubts and spring surprises is to be watched out for. Shikhar Dhawan’s return to home is a good news to add experience at the top and so is the comeback of U-19 World Cup winning skipper, Prithvi Shaw. Four youngsters fighting for slot in the national team – Shaw, Iyer, Pant and Vihari will be a healthy competition that could bring the best of everyone.
As the season unfolds, we could be witnessing few careers made and few comebacks to be made. Who are you watching out for this season?
(c) IPL T20 and the respective franchises