The 10th edition 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.
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’ 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
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