The world’s top players for the 14th Indian Premier League are starting from Friday, playing 52-day Twenty20 Extravaganza in empty stadiums due to the carnivirus epidemic.
Here are five stars that could go a long way in helping the Mumbai Indians win for the third year in a row:
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Fulfilling Bangalore’s expectations, the Indian captain and famous batsman Royal Challengers are winning their first IPL title.
With Bangalore in the play-offs in the UAE, he has improved his team with 6 runs in 4 of 15 matches last year.
But critics, including former India opener Gautam Gambhir, have suggested that the Bangalore guard needs to be replaced.
Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
The England all-rounder has proven his prowess in all formats and his form with bat and ball is important as Rajasthan were trying to tackle significance in the 2009 IPL opening match.
This season, the Royals, led by Sanju Samson of India, were at the bottom of the eight-team list last year and Stokes only joined the team due to the illness of his late father.
He scored 2,265 runs in eight matches, including an unbeaten 107 for a warm and calm team.
Kumar Sangakkara, the new director of the Royals, believes that Stokes needs any kind of player.
Steve Smith (capital of Delhi)
Steve Smith of Australia is looking to start anew after the Delhi Royals bought him for ৩ 300,000 at this year’s auction after he was released from the Rajasthan Royals.
Strong Delhi lineups like Smith, captain Hashab Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithviraj Shaw and last year’s Royals captain Shimron Hetmeyer could find it difficult to find a place in the starting XI.
However, coach Ricky Ponting has insisted that Smith, the top batsman who has scored 2,333 runs in 99 IPL matches, will take part in the World Twenty20.
“I think he’s been released from this franchise for so long that he’s going to starve him somewhat this year as well,” Ponting told the Cricket Australia website.
He said Smith would have a chance to play in the top three of the batting order.
Chris Morris (Rajasthan Royals)
The Royals broke the bank in favor of the South African all-rounder in the IPL auction, as the 33-year-old became the most expensive player in IPL history for 2.25 million.
Morris, who took and0 wickets and scored 551 runs in the IPL, admitted that the price “blew my mind”.
“There’s a bit of extra pressure, but the pressure of the price tag doesn’t affect you on any cricket field at the end of the day,” Mori said.
Chris Gayle (Punjab Kings)
The 41-year-old is still a force in T20 cricket, an important part of the experienced Punjab Kings’ arsenal batting.
The self-proclaimed “Universe Boss” exploded last season and tried to score three half-centuries in seven games in the middle of the tournament.
Punjab withdrew from the play-offs, but the devastating left-hander, who is aiming to win his third Twenty20 World Cup title with the West Indies later this year, believes his name will be Kings XI Punjab. Fate changes.