The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has recently announced the schedule for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). This is going to be the tenth edition of what is regarded by everybody as the finest T-20 league in the world along with the Big Bash and Caribbean Premier League.
Hyderabad will host the first game on April 5 with a game between last year’s finalists Royal Challengers Bangalore (runners up), and defending champions and home team Sunrisers Hyderabad. Hyderabad will also host the final on May 21. As per a BCCI press release, this year the league will be played over 47 days across 10 venues throughout India.
Indore makes it big
Indore, this season, would get most of the home matches of Kings XI Punjab since its actual home-ground Mohali is going to host only four games. This is the first time since 2011 that Indore will host IPL games. Raipur and Dharamsala are the two grounds that miss out from last year. A lot of people are of the opinion that the latter misses out because Anurag Thakur is no longer associated with the BCCI. As per the league’s format, eight teams play 14 games each in a season with seven among those being home games, followed by the knockout games.
The bigger context
The ensuing edition comes at a time when the Indian team is in red-hot form. In the tests, the team led by Virat Kohli has been like a veritable juggernaut remaining unbeaten in 19 tests across 16 months against opposition such as Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh. It also faces a test series against Australia, which gets over before the IPL starts.
India is expected to win this one as well. In the limited overs too, MS Dhoni (the former captain) and Kohli (the newly-appointed captain) have done creditably. India is right now at the fourth spot in ODI (one day international) team rankings and on the second spot in T20I (twenty-20 international) rankings.
What are the various franchises thinking?
At this time different franchises would have their own agendas. The Rising Pune Supergiants had a forgettable debut year and there’s no doubt that MS Dhoni, the skipper, would want to make things right. He is a proud leader after all, with a glorious international record to boot. They would really want to buy smart and thus, make their presence felt this season.
Kings XI Punjab, who finished last year would definitely want their players to fire on all cylinders and perform to their true potential. They are being led by Murali Vijay, who would surely want to shut up all the naysayers this time around.
351 players are going to be in the auction this year and teams would be looking to fill up slots where there are evident weaknesses. They would look for the big names as well as major performers from the domestic circuit, to fill up the gaps and do so really well. Bengaluru will play host to the auctions on February 20. There are 122 international players in the mix with six players from the Associate teams. Five are from Afghanistan and one player is from the United Arab Emirates.
The following table presents the capped players that are expected to attract attention during the auction for the upcoming IPL:
|Angelo Mathews||Sri Lanka||Allrounder|
|Corey Anderson||New Zealand||Allrounder|
|Colin de Grandhomme||New Zealand||Allrounder|
|Kagiso Rabada||South Africa||Pacer|
|Trent Boult||New Zealand||Pacer|
|Colin Munro||New Zealand||Allrounder|
|Dwaine Pretorius||South Africa||Allrounder|
|Rovman Powell||West Indies||Allrounder|
|Nicholas Pooran||West Indies||Wicketkeeper|
|Imran Tahir||South Africa||Spinner|
|David Wiese||South Africa||Allrounder|