IPL 2017 Teams : What are the Teams Bringing to the field this year?

The 10thedition of India’s favorite sports entertainment, IPL 2017, is here. All the teams — whether they have been champions or struggled to qualify in the past, have already devised their game plan for the season. Below is my in-depth analysis of SWOTs of each of the participating IPL 2017 teams.

Delhi Daredevils

In the last three IPLs, Delhi Daredevils were not even close to the qualifiers. In IPL 2017, they are already on their back foot, with the likelihood of two important players (JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock) not playing. To add insult to injury, Imran Tahir has been contracted off by Pune, putting a dent in their bowling attack as well. While Rishabh Pant and Karun Nair should be able to give an opening stand and Chris Morris can provide middle order support, Daredevils should try and adopt a more situational approach this year. They would need to keep rotating their middle order between Corey Anderson, Sam Billings, Angelo Mathews and newcomer Ankit Bawne. Depending upon the over remaining, Carlos Brathwaite can become a good choice for hitting sixes. Zaheer and Amit would need to give exceptional performances and I would place my bet on CV Milind who has come to daredevils from Sunrisers. Daredevils should not rely too much on Aditya Tare who has failed to show performance in last two IPLs.

My 11 for Daredevils are — Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, Ankit Bawne, Corey Anderson, Sam Billings, Shreyas Iyer, Angelo Mathews, CV Milind, Chris Morris, Karun Nair and Rishabh Pant

Gujarat Lions

Gujarat Lions’ performance, last year, was a true example of team performance. With 5 batsmen scoring more than 300 Runs, good support from all-rounder Jadeja and Bravo, and Dhawal doing his job with the ball — they were a pleasure to watch. In IPL 2017, they have a significant addition in batting power in the form of Jason Roy. While James Faulkner did not get to play the entire season last time, we should be looking forward to more of him in 2017. Nathu Singh and Basil Thampi should prove to be a good value add in the bowling line-up. Lions may also look at exploring Shubham Agarwal who, given the right opportunity, may prove to be an asset for the team.

My playing 11 for Lions would be — Suresh Raina, Dwane Bravo, Dwane Smith, Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy, Dinesh Karthik, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhawal Kulkarni, Munaf Patel, Basil Thampi, Shubham Agarwal

Kings XI Punjab

The biggest problem with Kings XI has been to restrict the opposition to a low total. The average run rate of IPL teams against KXI was around 8.5 in 2016. Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, and Hashim Amla did not play the full season in 2016, else the points table should have been a little different. In IPL 2017, Murali Vijay would want to continue with his 2016 performance, but KXI would need David Miller’s 2013/14 IPL avatar. Marsh and Guptill would need to stick around for full tournament and in a case of injury, Amla would be the fallback option. However, the issue of a poor bowling attack may end up haunting KXI this year as well. Sandeep Sharma and Varun Aaron have shown some ray of if we take their domestic T20 performances in last 1 year into account.

My 11 for KXI would be — Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha, Axar Patel, Swapnil Singh, Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma, Varun Aaron

Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata Knight Riders has a good mix of batsmen, bowlers, and all-rounders, with each having the capacity to turn a match around. Andre Russell’s absence, due to the ban, cannot be completely overcome by the addition of Colin De Grandhomme. This season, they should be looking at similar performances from Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, and Yusuf Pathan. Their batting line becomes stronger if Chris Lynn plays the entire season. In bowling attack, KKR should look at giving more opportunities to Kuldeep Yadav, while exploring the skills of the untapped Sayan Ghosh.

My 11 for KKR would be — Gautam Gambhir, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sayan Ghosh, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa, Umesh Yadav, Colin De Grandhomme

Mumbai Indians

With Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Malinga and Lendl Simmons playing very few games in the season, the 6-series streak to reach at least the qualifiers, ended for Mumbai Indians in 2016. In IPL 2017, as Anderson and Guptill move out of MI, there will be a lot of pressure on Rohit Sharma, Jos Buttler and Lendl Simmons to do wonders with their bat. In addition to Ambati Rayudu in the middle order, MI needs to explore their 2016 find — Krunal Pandya and Nitish Rana to have solid support in the middle. If Mitchell Johnson or Lasith Malinga play the full season, along with the key wicket taker for MI — Mitchell McClenaghan, MI should be looking good this year. MI should try playing Kulwant Khejroliya and Deepak Puniya for few matches, and avoid playing Hardik Pandya if possible.

My 11 for MI is — Rohit Sharma, Jos Buttler, Harbhajan Singh, Kulwant Khejroliyaa, Mitchell McClenaghan, Lasith Malinga, Krunal Pandya, Saurabh Tiwary, Nitish Rana, Anbati Rayudu, Lendl Simmons

Rising Pune Super Giants

It seems like Rising Pune Super Giants are trying to set a different trend. They have seen a lot of change in the squad vs 2016 . This, coupled with the low probability of Ashwin playing, may pose some risks for RPS. RPS would definitely want full season appearances from Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja to support the batting order. While Adam Zampa and Imran Tahir can ensure some turn, RPS needs to explore their pace attack. Jayadev Unadkat and Shardul Thakur should work as a good combination of left and right arm fast bowling, but they lack experience. IPL being a very different beast, Captain Smith definitely has a task at hand, with many novice IPL players.

My 11 for RPS would be — Steve Smith, Baba Aparajith, MS Dhoni, Ashok Dinda, Imran Tahir, Usman Khawaja, Ajinkya Rahane, Manoj Tiwary, Adam Zampa, Jayadev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur

Royal Challengers Bangalore

The 2016 Runners Up was at one point looking unstoppable in the last season. With three big hitters — Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle and key wicket takers — Yuzvendra Chahal and Shane Watson, RCB still ended up losing few crucial matches. The ‘star player’ dependence finally did not work for RCB. IPL 2017 is going to be tougher, with the possibility of Kohli, ABD and KL Rahul missing out a few, if not all, matches. To make a mark, Gayle definitely needs to stay more in the crease. RCB may look at changing their order completely with Jadhav and Sachin baby opening the batting, Gayle coming one down and Travis Head next. We would expect Chahal and Watson to chase the Purple Cap. Sreenath Aravind and Aniket Choudhary should be able to provide decent support to the bowling attack.

My 11 (excluding Virat, ABD, and Rahul due to injuries) for RCB are: Sreenath Aravind, Samuel Badree, Yuzvendra Chahal, Aniket Choudhary, Travis Head, Chris Gayle, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson, Sachin Baby, Sarfaraz Khan

Sunrisers Hyderabad

The defending champions would want to retain their title this year. The team saw phenomenal performances from David Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar in 2016. They found a rising star in Mustafizur Rahman. On the other hand, Deepak Hooda and Naman Ojha were a bit of disappointment for them. For IPL 2017, they should be looking at steadying the middle order. They might consider replacing Ojha with Eklavya Dwivedi and playing Ben Cutting for more games this year. Mohammed Siraj and Mohammad Nabi added to the squad in 2017 have potential ROI in my opinion. Depending upon the pitch conditions, Sunrisers should not shy away from exploring the skills of leg-spinner Rashid Khan. Not sure why they retained Abhimanyu Mithun, but as far as possible Sunrisers should avoid trying him out.

My 11 for Sunrisers would be: David Warner, Ricky Bhui, Ben Cutting, Shikhar Dhawan, Eklavya Dwivedi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammed Siraj, Mustafizur Rahman, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh

Thanks to cricinfo.com and iplt20.com for extensive data capturing which helped me with the above analysis.

Originally published at www.blankslatechronicles.com on April 5, 2017.