IPL 2020: FULL LEAGUE-STAGE SCHEDULE
Timesofindia.com looks at some of those key names who can strike it rich with the ball on the tracks in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, which are expected to get slower and lower as the September 19 to November 10 Indian Premier League (IPL) progresses in the Emirates.
JASPRIT BUMRAH (Mumbai Indians)
If there’s one person who would like to call the IPL the ‘launchpad to the world stage’, it will be India’s fast-bowling spearhead Jasprit Bumrah. When he first came onto the horizon, his unusual stiff-arm action didn’t promise much; but credit to the right-arm pacer, he didn’t let any of that talk bother his work ethic until he turned into a bowling trump card any captain would want up his sleeve. Since making his IPL debut with Mumbai Indians, Bumrah has become equally adept at bowling with the new ball at the top of the innings and at the death, where his yorker-length deliveries reflect the mentorship of Sri Lankan great Lasith Malinga. With a career economy rate of under eight (7.56) in the IPL, the 26-year-old pacer from Gujarat stands among the top T20 bowlers in the world. He proved his worth again in MI’s 2017 Qualifier against Kolkata Knight Riders. Bumrah’s 3/7 led Mumbai’s march into the final, where they defeated Pune Warriors to win the trophy. The following year, he topped the bowling charts to become one of Mumbai’s priceless possessions.
PAT CUMMINS (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Australia’s Pat Cummins made headlines at the IPL auction in December last year, when the Kolkata franchise splashed Rs 15.5 crore to get him in their camp. It made the right-arm pacer the most expensive foreign player in IPL history. It’s kind of a homecoming for Cummins, who started his IPL career with KKR in 2014. In between, he was with the erstwhile Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians, but an injury-ridden career never allowed him to be seen regularly in the IPL arena. Just 16 matches in the league so far explain that. But of late, he has looked his fittest and is bowling at the top of his form. However, coming to the UAE, he bagged just one wicket in two T20Is on Australia’s tour of England and took only three wickets in the three-ODI series that followed. KKR would certainly want a better Return on Investment than that.
RASHID KHAN (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Carrying an enviable energy on the field to back his bag of tricks as a versatile leg-spinner, the Afghanistan captain is a value-addition for any team in white-ball cricket. In fact, he is one player who can win his team matches single-handedly and is handy with the bat as well, besides being a terrific fielder. Though he would like to churn out match-winning performances more consistently to do justice to his gifted skills. A Rs 4-crore possession in the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp, Rashid has the best ever economy rate (6.55) to date in the IPL in 46 matches and has the strong nerves needed to bowl during any stage of the match and win the game. The expected slow nature of the tracks in the UAE can bring Rashid into play big time.
TRENT BOULT (Mumbai Indians)
The leading Kiwi bowler will make it difficult for Mumbai skipper Rohit Sharma to leave him out of the list of four foreigners allowed to feature in the playing XI. The left-arm pacer moved from Delhi Capitals to MI as a traded player ahead of the IPL auction last December. The immensely experienced fast bowler also played for Kolkata and Hyderabad, besides Delhi, before being roped in by MI. Along with their bowling spearhead Bumrah, MI will have two lethal weapons at their disposal with both the new and old balls.
RAVINDRA JADEJA (Chennai Super Kings)
Christened ‘Rockstar’ by Shane Warne during his days under the Australian legend’s captaincy stint with the inaugural-edition winners Rajasthan Royals, Ravindra Jadeja has turned into a spin-bowling all-rounder who can choke oppositions with his tight line and length to increase pressure and induce mistakes. Tailor-made for limited-overs cricket, Jadeja, who is among one of the best fielders in the world, can also pack a punch with the bat besides having a solid arm as an outfielder. After his successful days with the Royals, the left-arm spinner moved to the Chennai Super Kings and has since turned into one of the stalwarts of the franchise under the leadership of MS Dhoni. Following a two-year stay with Gujarat Lions while CSK served a suspension, Jadeja returned to Chennai in 2018. If one picks Chennai’s most influential players that turned the Chennai outfit into one of the most successful IPL sides, Jadeja will feature in that list. On the slow tracks of Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, he will once again be one of Dhoni’s go-to bowlers.
KULDEEP YADAV (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Kuldeep Yadav had to bide his time to make a mark in the IPL but finally found his calling with the Kolkata Knight Riders after he remained more of a passenger in his first few seasons. In the start, he was considered a second or third-choice spinner in the KKR squad but then slowly started leaving his mark, especially on the favourable track at KKR’s home venue, the iconic Eden Gardens. His best figures of 4/20 were registered in a 2018 fixture against the Rajasthan Royals, which earned him the ‘Man of the Match’ award as well. This IPL, on the UAE tracks expected to favour spin, Yadav will like to remind the world of his prowess as a wrist spinner.