- The eight existing franchises have announced their retention list for IPL 2022.
- The new franchises can now spend Rs 33 crore each on signing three players before the auction.
- The window for Lucknow and Ahmedabad to make the signing is from December 1-25.
The fourteenth edition of the IPL could be bigger and better than all the tournament’s antecedents before. The player’s that haven’t been retained anymore by their previous respective outfits, are now free movers in an interesting new edition of the IPL, that’s here to spice things up.
Big money, big talents and the buck spinning hoopla that the IPL has made itself into over the years, has finally undergone a plot twist. Both new franchises- Ahmedabad and Lucknow- can now sign up to to 3 players each – two Indian and one overseas – from December 1-25.
So ultimately, which 7 players can any among Ahmedabad or Lucknow pick to forge a bright start in the world-renowned IPL?
1. Suresh Raina
The recent birthday boy doesn’t look his age. He seems forever young and ever the athlete who first burst on the scene when the Wall of Indian cricket, Rahul Dravid presented him his cap.
Over the years, Raina’s bat has been raining runs for the CSK outfit. It’s been a journey that tonned up dollops of runs- 5,500 plus runs including 1 shy of 40 fifties.
His excellent fielding and ever agileness on the field has often made Raina a fortress that can’t be fallen even by the most cunning weapons. Any among Lucknow or Ahmedabad must pick him to build the rest of their sides around him.
That experience. That high backlift. The back breaking episodes of six hitting.
2. Hardik Pandya
One of the surprises of this forthcoming season, is that someone like Pandya’s brilliance was not retained by the Mumbai Indians, which has certainly made the roll of the IPL dice in the retention program a different ball game altogether. Even as many would have found his lack of recent ability with the white-ball the main issue, to treat a cricketer’s back injury as being a lasting issue when it could so easily be a temporary snag is a bit strange.
But then what makes Pandya the destructor at the IPL stage is his power hitting talent. His 1476 runs, fired, not struck at a strike rate of 153 even give the likes of Dhoni, Gayle, Watto some food for thinking. Moreover, he’s an excellent fielder and can be stationed anywhere out in the field to make himself count in the thick of things!
3. Faf du Plessis
Where it comes to Faf, then it’s been more agony than ecstasy- truth be told. How did Chennai’s express run maker get released by the very team to which he brought glory in 2021 is a mystery that the best detective minds won’t be able to solve.
It’s fair to say what’s happened to du Plessis, the most proficient white ball scorer for the Proteas who got dropped in the T20 world cup, is sad here in the IPL again. But then the man with the second most runs in the IPL 2021 should take it all by a pinch of salt and focus on what’s ahead.
The massive backlift- the whirring blade, the flashing grin- all signal the prominence of a man who fights like an eternal battler, doing what has earned him 2935 runs and many man of the match accolades.
Where does the muscle pumping lion of South Africa head to next?
4. Harshal Patel
The man whose recent T20 debut for India was at the back of an exceptional IPL season for his RCB, is an exciting new find for the T20 game and an understudy in being quiet and disciplined in cricket’s loudest format.
With 32 wickets from 15 games, Patel picked easily over 2 wickets from every single IPL appearance, mathematically speaking. His difficult to read length deliveries and being generally not that easy to hit over the ropes style of bowing can make any bowling arsenal desire his talent on any given day.
So will Ahmedabad or Lucknow go for him?
5. Rashid Khan
You would be stupid or just darn silly to not pick Rashid Khan, the most dangerous leg spinner in the game in your side. Team in trouble with a low score-who do you turn to? Rashid, obviously for he’s clearly Khan-tastic!
The most difficult to dislodge spinner, one with a lethal, nearly morale crushing googly, Khan is as hard to pick as that out of syllabus trick question in a board exam.
What do you do?
You just pray and pray. As will they who will know that eventually Rashid will go to either Lucknow or Ahmedabad and that they’d have to find excuses at having not succeeded against a bowler with 93 wickets already against his name!
Imagine the scenario!
6. Steve Smith
The only batsman in the post-Bradman era to have elicited comparisons with the great Sir Don himself, Steve Smith is the antithesis to a bowler having a good day. But where it stands today, there’s a tad bit of trouble!
His peak IPL seasons came way back in the Shane Watson, Faulkner days with Rajasthan Royals, when the outfit used to wear the royal blu. So where does Smith, 2485 IPL runs, a strike rate touching 130 go? That’s for the new teams to decide- we can just wait to see the “Smith”sonian magic come alive again!
7. Shikhar Dhawan
The man with the moustache and also the man, who immediately after being dropped from the T20Is versus the Kiwis, finds himself not retained by his team. So can that be a Capital gain for other new teams?
Excellent in the field and still, fighting fit, the fluent left hander is a sight to behold when he dances down the pitch or operates over the off side with surgical precision. He is a great talent. He’ll always be. But who’ll be by his side from the two teams, if at all? Let’s wait and see!