Ten teams will compete for the Twenty20 title from Saturday in the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
1: Virat Kohli
With the recently dethroned Indian captain having failed to score an international century since November 2019 and yet to win an IPL title, he will be desperate to end his recent dry spell with the bat. Kohli, 33, who has also stepped down as Bangalore captain, has been the team’s premier batsman along with the now-retired AB de Villiers.
The South African team will have veteran fellow countryman Faf du Plessis on board this season. According to commentator Harsha Bhogle, Bangalore is in contention to win their first title if Kohli delivers 75 percent of his 973 runs in 2016 when his side finished runner-up.
2. Liam Livingstone (Punjab Kings)
At $1.52 million, Punjab became the most expensive player in this year’s auction as the 28-year-old batsman and occasional spinner became the most expensive player in this season’s auction.
Having recorded England’s fastest T20 century in 42 balls during a game against Pakistan last year, Livingstone adds muscle to the Punjab batting line-up that also includes skipper Mayank Agarwal, Shikhar Dhawan, and England teammate Jonny Bairstow.
Sanjay Manjrekar, a former Indian batsman, said the signing of Livingstone, who had an ordinary last season with Rajasthan Royals, would be a “gamble” for Punjab.
3. David Warner
On Saturday, the Delhi Capitals acquired the services of Australia opening batter David Warner at the IPL mega auction for the upcoming 2023 Indian Premier League.
In his first appearance for Australia in a T20 World Cup, Warner had contributed to the side’s maiden triumph. With 5,449 runs in 150 IPL matches, Warner will add to the brigade for Delhi, which features wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who is still searching for his first IPL title.
4. Jasprit Bumrah
Since Trent Boult is no longer a member of MI, Bumrah will be expected to shoulder some extra responsibilities this season. It is not only he who will be leading their attack, but also those around him who will be guiding them. He is the fourth player MI retained, and with good reason as well. When an opponent batter is in the hitting mode or is in the death-overs situation, he has the perfect Yorkers and variations to make him a prized possession.
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5. Rashid Khan
The fact that the Afghan spin wizard, who has been called the best spinner in the world, was on offer for $2.3 million in the auction draft pick was a coup for the new IPL franchises. He has taken 105 wickets as a leg-spinner in 58 T20 Internationals and he was also a key player for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League with 93 wickets in 76 matches. In the world of cricket, Rashid, 23, is one of the hottest properties and beats the best with his deadly googly. Besides being a useful lower-order batsman, he is also a superb fielder.
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