While the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) promises to be a run-fest, a lot will be on offer for the bowlers too, especially spinners, courtesy sluggish pitches.
While Delhi Capitals have R Ashwin in their ranks, KXIP will be mentored by Anil Kumbe, all of who are very familiar in similar conditions.
Here are 10 such bowlers, both spinners and otherwise, to watch out for ahead of the tournament:
Sandeep Lamichhane (Delhi Capitals): Nurtured by former Australian skipper Michael Clarke, Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichhane has already made his name in the global level, having played T20 leagues all across the world. He was recently seen in action for Jamaica Tallawahs during the Caribbean Premier League, where he picked up 12 wickets from 11 games, ending up as the team’s second-highest wicket-taker, behind Mujeeb Ur Rahman (16 wickets).
He can be a potential game-changer, and in fact, he enjoyed an economy of 5.27 during the CPL, being the eighth best-economical bowler in this edition of that tournament. That was even better than his international economy rate of 6.51 in the game’s shortest format.
Since making his IPL debut in 2018, Lamichhane has scalped 13 wickets in nine games, and could team-up with the spin duo of R Ashwin and Amit Mishra, which could benefit the trio thanks to the sluggish tracks in UAE.
Imran Tahir (Chennai Super Kings): Veteran South African spinner Imran Tahir will lead a talented group of CSK spinners, sans Harbhajan Singh, who withdrew from the tournament due to personal reasons. Tahir ended up as the league’s highest wicket-taker in 2019, with 26 scalps from just 17 matches, and looks as a hot favourite to retain the purple cap this year.
Last year, the 41-year-old also registered figures of 4/12 against Delhi Capitals, which is in fact, his best-ever figures throughout his six-year stint in the tournament. Apart from two four-wicket hauls in 2019, Tahir also registered his best economy rate of 6.69, which is even better than his overall T20I economy (6.73).
The leg-break googly bowler is coming fresh from a stint with Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League, where he ended up as the tournament’s third-highest wicket-taker with 15 scalps.
Navdeep Saini (Royal Challengers Bangalore): With the ability to clock more than 140 kmph, speedster Navdeep Saini made an instant impact during his debut IPL season last year, picking up 13 wickets from 11 games. As a result, he ended up as RCB’s second-highest wicket-taker, behind Yuzvendra Chahal (18), and his performance also earned him call-ups to the national side in the limited-overs formats.
He made his T20I debut against West Indies in the Caribbean last year, and finished as the highest wicket-taker in that series, with five scalps. Overall, he has played 10 T20Is and has picked up 13 wickets.
Saini, along with fellow pacers Dale Steyn and Chris Morris, will be expected to lead the pace battery, as the Bangalore franchise look to tackle the death bowling issues in their bid for a maiden IPL crown.
Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals): A potential match-winner for DC, South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada is an automatic selection in the playing XI of the side. Consistency has been key to Rabada’s bowling and he showed that during the IPL last year, picking up 25 wickets in just 12 games.
Even before coronavirus halted sporting tournaments across the globe, Rabada was in impeccable form, having scalped 14 wickets during a Test series against England.
Come IPL 2020, Rabada will look to unleash those fiery spells and certainly looks a threat to other teams this time around.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Kings XI Punjab): Afghanistani talents have always been a highlight over the past few years in the IPL. Ever since Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi made their IPL debuts in 2017, there has been a particular focus on Afghan cricketers. Mujeeb Ur Rahman appears to be another exciting prospect, and this time, he will be playing under the mentorship of the legendary Anil Kumble at KXIP.
Mujeeb impressed during his first season in 2018, scalping 14 wickets in 11 matches, but got limited chances in the 2019 edition, scalping just three wickets from five games.
However, with R Ashwin now with Delhi Capitals and UAE pitches set to offer spinners a lot, Mujeeb could get even more opportunities this time around as KXIP aim to go beyond the league stage for the first time in six years.
Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals): An experienced T20 campaigner, Australia’s Andrew Tue has already come a long way since making his IPL debut in 2017-when he picked up a five-wicket haul, including a hat-trick for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions against Rising Pune Supergiant.
That season, Tye scalped 12 wickets in just six games, and was a permanent playing XI member in the 2018 edition with Kings XI Punjab, where he went onto win the purple cap with 24 wickets.
Sandeep Sharma (Sunrisers Hyderabad): Rising to fame after his heroics in the ICC U-19 World Cup 2012 final which India won, Sandeep Sharma has been a prominent and consistent performer in the IPL over the years, but yet to gain more opportunities in the Indian team apart from making two T20I appearances in 2015.
But, despite his lack of exposure in the international level with the Indian team, one cannot just simply underestimate Sandeep Sharma. He has been a regular figure in the SRH playing XI since being brought by the team during the IPL 2018 auction, and has managed to scalp 24 wickets across the two seasons.
Overall, Sandeep has picked up 138 wickets from 120 games with the best figures of 4/8.
Deepak Chahar (CSK): CSK’s Deepak Chahar was one of the two players who had tested positive for coronavirus on the team’s arrival in UAE. Surely, it was tense times for the three-time champions, but on 9 September, the team heaved a sigh of relief after he was tested negative twice. On Friday, the BCCI finally gave him clearance to start training.
Deepak Chahar has been instrumental for CSK over the past few years, and his good show in IPL 2018 where he picked up 10 wickets in 12 matches earned him an India call-up later that year in the limited-overs setup.
Chahar was a strong contender for the purple cap last year, but fell short narrowly. Despite that, he managed to take 22 wickets in 17 games.
Jofra Archer (RR): England speedster Jofra Archer never fails to impress, be it on or off the field. The 25-year-old stole the limelight in his first season with Rajasthan Royals in 2018, where he took 15 wickets in just 10 matches. The following season, he scalped 11 wickets in as many games.
Archer, along with the experienced Jaydev Unadkat, will play a crucial role with Ben Stokes likely to miss the first part of the tournament.
Archer has been in sublime form in the ongoing England-Australia ODIs, where he has registered figures of 3/57 and 3/34 in the first two ODIs.
Adam Zampa (RCB): Another experienced spinner who could enjoy the UAE tracks, Adam Zampa returns to the IPL with Royal Challengers Bangalore after a two-year absence from the tournament. He was picked as a replacement for Kane Richardson, who opted out to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
Although Zampa has got limited opportunities in both 2016 and 2017, he will likely be a permanent spin partner with Yuzvendra Chahal as RCB chase their maiden IPL title.
In T20Is, Zampa has picked up 33 wickets in 33 matches at an economy rate of just 6.56.
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