IPL 2018, one of the most anticipated events in the cricket calendar, is knocking at the door. The re-admission of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, pre-season re-shuffle, the use of DRS for the first time, mid-season transfer window and multi-lingual telecast are some of the reasons to get excited.
All eight franchises have done their pre-season business and now rearing to put the best foot forward. In the opener of the eleventh edition IPL, Mumbai Indians begin the defense of their title against the returning Chennai Super Kings on April 07. Prepare for a cracker from the outset…
Let’s take a fresh look at the impact players for each franchise
Chennai Super Kings
Suresh Raina, the most capped player in IPL, will again be under the radar. The left-hander has made himself a reputation of an explosive Twenty 20 specialist, thanks to his merciless batting displays in the tournament. The second choice, Shane Watson is the still one of the most sought-after Twenty 20 cricketers across the world. He scored at a healthy rate throughout the PSL season and CSK will hope he carries his good form here
Gautam Gambhir is perhaps the most obvious choice for the DD. The southpaw has 4132 runs in 148 games at 31.54 in IPL. The second pick would be Kagiso Rabada, arguably there is no better fast bowler in the world cricket at the moment.
Related: IPL 2018: SWOT Analysis of each team
Kings XI Punjab
Our two best picks from the Punjab Kings XI would be the Aussie duo of Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis. Over the years, Finch has become one of the reliable openers while the all-rounder Stoinis can bowl 3-4 overs at pace beside chipping in with the bat in the middle-order.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Robin Uthappa is known to all Indian Premier League enthusiasts. Over the years, his appetite for runs has increased. We might see the best of him this season. The choice would be Andre Russell. Russell is a beast of a cricketer, who bowl at 145 kmph, strike at 150-200 per hundred balls with the bat and is livewire on the field.
Rohit Sharma ticks a whole lot of ‘Yes’ boxes when looking for an ideal IPL player. Prolific stats? Yes. Hitting ability? Yes. Captain? Yes. The second best player in the MI lot is Jasprit Bumrah who has fit in perfectly in Malinga’s shoes. Sure those Yorkers will rattle many stumps out!
Related: All-time IPL XI
Do you want a Kallis-like all-rounder who bowls at good pace and lengths and bats in the middle order? You buy Ben Stokes. Stokes was also the most valuable player in the competition last year. The second pick is Ajinkya Rahane. Not very explosive and flamboyant, but consistent batsman who get the job done.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
There’s plenty of quality here, but it would be safest to take a punt on peerless players in the sport – Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Shikhar Dhawan was not anywhere near his best this term in the last season. The dynamics are very different now. For SRH to do well, Dhawan must fire. Besides, the most consistent bowler for the side – Bhuvneshwar Kumar – has much more to do this season.
Do you agree with our selections?