IPL 2019 – a selection boost for WC ’19
The twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to begin on March 23. The 2018 champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will encounter Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. A total of 56 games have been scheduled in the approximately month-long league.
India’s loss to Australia in the Paytm ODI series in March raised questions about the team’s batting order. The 3-2 series defeat upset the hosts and ended a three-year-long victorious streak at home. Experienced batsmen Dinesh Karthik, KL Rahul and Ambati Rayudu were shortlisted candidates to feature in the lineup. However, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Vijay Shankar too secured their place in the playing eleven for the majority of the series as a result of their useful performances. Therefore, the IPL this year is a crucial tournament for the former to make a strong case before the World Cup, which commences in May.
Individually, each player has a major role to play for their respective franchise. With plenty of experience in the IPL – Karthik, Rayudu and Rahul will look to impress the selectors in order to seal the number four spot in the national team. As far as Pant and Shankar are concerned, the duo will have to cash in on all available opportunities in the league. Ajinkya Rahane, meanwhile, will be hoping to earn a spot in the World Cup squad. The 30-year-old will captain the Rajasthan Royals, with hopes to lead from the front.
Karthik’s quest for title and spot
Dinesh Karthik will be leading a well-rounded Kolkata Knight Riders in this year’s edition. Karthik’s omission from the one-dayers against Australia reduced his chances to make it to the World Cup roster. However, inconsistent performances in the middle order during the series opened new gates for DK. With limited opportunities provided this season, Karthik will start this season fresh and will hope to roll the dice in his favour. Scoring 498 runs in 2018 edition, with an average of 49.8, Karthik will aim to emulate his performances in the same fashion this season.
With a total of 602 runs last season with an impressive average of 43, Ambati Rayudu made a strong case for himself, eventually earning a spot in the Indian side. The Chennai Super Kings will once again depend on the 33-year-old to make valuable contributions. The right-handed batsman will have to score handsomely this season to cement his spot in World Cup squad.
A miserable run of form in Australia dented KL Rahul’s confidence and chances during the build-up to the World Cup. However, Rahul has a knack of quickly turning his fortunes. The 2018 season witnessed some unbelievable knocks from the batsman, scoring 659 runs with an outstanding average of 54.9. Rahul will focus on replicating the wonders from the previous season after being retained by Kings XI Punjab. The 26-year-old will aim to make most of his abilities and cement a spot in the middle order.
Valuable Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar was temporarily picked to fill the boots of Hardik Pandya against Australia. A total of five appearances demonstrated Shankar’s impressive ability to rotate the strike and hit big. The all-rounder will feature in the Sunrisers Hyderabad unit with an integral role. The 33-year-old will aim to make this season wholesome with both bat and ball. His good batting form will strengthen the middle order for the Sunrisers in this edition.
Pant backed by Ponting
Rishabh Pant’s failure with the bat in the Paytm series may have raised questions regarding his selection. However, former Australian captain Ricky Ponting feels that Pant is most suitable for the number four slot. Rishabh Pant will play a massive role in the Delhi Capitals unit. The young wicket-keeper batsman impressed last season with valuable contributions and belligerence in his batting. With 684 runs in the last season, Pant batted with an average exceeding 50. His lone contributions, however, could not help the Delhi Daredevils advance. With support from former international players, Pant will aim to restore faith in his skill and contribute during the build-up to the World Cup.
The first month of IPL 2019 will be keenly followed by the selectors. The World Cup squad is predicted to be announced around April 20. The ICC Cricket World Cup is scheduled to start on May 30.
Featured Image Courtesy: Twitter – Indian Premier League (@IPL)
Edited by: Tarush Dhume