This is an analysis as to how the IPL teams line up ahead of the inaugural tournament scheduled to begin at The M.Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore less than a month from now. Firstly, there are some rules to be adhered to while picking and fielding the squad.
Each DLF IPL franchise squad must have a minimum of 16 players per squad. This will include a maximum of 8 currently available foreign players per squad (any foreign players in a Franchise’s squad who are not available for any reason will not count towards the total). Each franchise can have a maximum of 4 foreign players in the playing XI for each match.
The squad will additionally consist of a minimum 4 under 22 players (the catchment players and the Indian national players if so qualified can be counted for the purpose of this rule. Foreign players may not be counted for the purpose of this rule). These players must be under 22 years old on 1 April of the relevant season.
The Bangalore Royal Challengers
The Squad: Rahul Dravid, Balachandra Akhil, Jagadeesh Arunkumar, Nathan Bracken, Bharath Chipli, Wasim Jaffer, Jacques Kallis, Virat Kohli, Anil Kumble, Devraj Patil, Ross Taylor, Cameron White, Abdur Razak, KP Appanna, Mark Boucher, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, Srivats Goswami, Sunil Joshi, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar, Misbah-ul-Haq, Dale Steyn and Vinay Kumar
Expected XI: Wasim Jaffer, Ross Taylor, Rahul Dravid, Misbah-ul-Haq, Jagadeesh Arunkumar, Mark Boucher, Virat Kohli, Nathan Bracken, Zaheer Khan, Praveen Kumar and Anil Kumble.
After the first round of auctions, things were not looking good at all for the Bangalore contingent. Since then, there has been some improvement. A key factor is that they now have a Twenty20 expert in Misbah-ul-Haq. Bangalore seems to have taken a lot of the players who were not the names that first popped up in the Twenty20 context. Kallis is a clear example. They were looking to pouch Robin Uthappa. Had that happened; there would have been a better T20 style balance in the side.
The Bangalore batting line up has a little more staying power than necessary in this unbelievably short format of the game, but there are people like the utilitarian Mark Boucher who can play a saviour if there is a top order collapse – which seems unlikely – and also ignite some sparks whenever necessary.
The Bangalore bowling looks powerful, although there is a tendency to believe that opposing batsmen may take a risk and go after the workhorse Kumble. Kumble’s style is extremely useful in forms of cricket when he has long rendezvous with the batsmen, so that he can make the batsman do what he wants and gain control over him. Batsmen fall prey to this when they’re looking to play him out. If you, as a batsman can read Kumble’s subtle variations, in this form of the game, you can take him to the cleaners.
Also, do not underestimate Dravid’s slogging ability. He did so in the latter stages of many an innings in Pakistan in 2004-05 and who can ever forget that aggressive supporting role to Tendulkar’s 186* he played against New Zealand in 1999?
Bangalore has a good side, but it is not as well adapted to this format as some others.
The Chennai Super Kings
The Squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Srikkanth Anirudha, Subramanyam Badrinath, Stephen Fleming, Michael Hussey, Joginder Sharma, Abhinav Mukund, Makhaya Ntini, Parthiv Patel, Sudeep Tyagi, R.Ashwin, Napoleon Einstein, Matthew Hayden, Shadab Jakati, Albie Morkel, Muttaiah Muralitharan, Jacob Oram and Suresh Raina.
Expected XI: Napoleon Einstein, Matthew Hayden, Subramaniam Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Michael Hussey, M.S.Dhoni, Srikkanth Anirudha, Joginder Sharma, Sudeep Tyagi, Makhaya Ntini and Muttaiah Muralitharan.
The entire Chennai squad seems to have great balance and potential, but due to the limitations of the playing eleven, that potential is lost to some extent. But Chennai certainly know how to use their money and used it well. They have some of the best players in the world in this squad and also some of the most aggressive.
They have firepower at the top of the order with Hayden, in the middle with Dhoni and Hussey, and in the bowling with the off spin wizard and Makhaya. As if to act as a foil to this aggression, they have Badrinath and the multifaceted Hussey in the middle order to provide some stability if necessary. All the players in this hypothetical playing eleven are performers – even those from their catchment area. Anirudha and the unfortunate Badrinath are both very useful.
Chennai field a very strong side. If this team gels well, we are in for some excellent performances.
The Delhi Daredevils
The Sqaud: Virender Sehwag, Abraham de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Brett Geeves, Glenn McGrath, Yo Mahesh, Amit Mishra, Pradeep Sangwan, Mayank Tehlan, Daniel Vettori, Rajat Bhatia, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Farveez Maharoof, Mithun Manhas, Mohammad Asif, Shoaib Malik and Manoj Tiwary
Expected XI: Abraham de Villiers, Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan, Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Mithun Manhas, Mayank Tehlan, Daniel Vettori, Mohammad Asif, Pradeep Sangwan and Glenn McGrath.
Delhi has two or three big names in their side – McGrath, T20 performer Vettori and Mohammad Asif. Even then, this side may not deliver to the standards expected.
They have a queer hypothetical playing eleven. Delhi has serious fire power at the top. If de Villiers and Sehwag go off together, we may be able to watch a 200+ score being made. After that, they have Shikhar Dhawan who may not make the big score but will certainly go about whatever he does in a quick pace, Dinesh Karthik who is not very consistent, Manoj Tiwary, Mithun Manhas and Mayank Tehlan. There is a lack of experience in the middle order and that could prove costly. Delhi’s batting greatly depends on its openers. Also, it will be interesting to see who goes behind the stumps, with de Villiers and Karthik both most likely making the playing eleven. Karthik behind the stumps would be a better choice.
As far as their bowling is concerned, they don’t have a problem. McGrath, one of the most accurate bowlers ever opening the bowling with Asif is going to be fun to watch. If I were the captain of the Delhi side though, I would open with Asif and Sangwan for two reasons. One – that is a useful variation of angles, Sangwan being left handed. Two – it is better to go for experience than young blood at the death and therefore keep either Asif or McGrath for later. Asif should ideally open the bowling as as we saw in the T20 World cup, he always gave his team the early breakthrough(s). Furthermore, with his chest on action and in-cutters, he is much more lethal with the new ball. But whether Delhi has the courage to keep the new ball away from McGrath is something we should look at. They have the most economical T20 bowler – surprisingly a spinner – in Daniel Vettori. Nothing more can be said about Vettori. They have a very useful bowling attack, but the batting needs to support it.