All-rounders create a huge impact in cricket, especially in an ever-changing format like the Twenty20 (T20). Some of them, like Dwayne Bravo or Ravindra Jadeja, for example, also play the role of ‘finishers’, which is pivotal in the shortest format.
Ahead of the IPL that starts on 19 September, we take a look at 10 all-rounders to watch out for:
Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders): Hailed as one of the most explosive finishers in T20 cricket, West Indian Andre Russell holds the record of highest all-time strike rate (186.41) in the IPL. Having been adjudged the IPL’s Most Valuable Player last season, ‘Dre Russ’, as he is fondly called, scored 510 runs and snapped 11 wickets in IPL 2019, a season where KKR narrowly missed out on the playoff spot.
Recently, KKR chief mentor David Hussey had words of praise for Russell, even hinting that promoting the 32-year-old Jamaican to number three in the batting order was an option.
"If it benefits the team and helps us win games of cricket, why not? If that means Andre Russell comes in at three and bats 60 balls, he might actually make a double hundred. Anything can happen with Dre Russ," Hussey had said during a press conference in Abu Dhabi last week.
Terming KKR as a well-balanced side, Hussey also hailed the stylish right-hander as the ‘heartbeat’ of the team.
Russell was recently seen in the Caribbean Premier League, playing for Jamaica Tallawahs. He is coming on the back of scoring three fifties and scalping three wickets in the tournament.
Glenn Maxwell (King XI Punjab): The last time the IPL was held in UAE, in 2014, Australia’s Glenn Maxwell was at his explosive best. He ended the season with 552 runs from just 16 games played across UAE and India, with four half-centuries to his name. Since then, the right-handed batsman has scored 803 runs and taken 14 wickets in the seasons that followed, until the 2018 edition. While he represented KXIP till 2017, he played for Delhi Daredevils in 2018.
Maxwell had opted not to take part in the 2019 edition of the IPL, owing to the preparations ahead of the 50-over Cricket World Cup, and returns to the tournament after a year’s absence.
In October 2019, the 31-year-old decided to take a break from cricket as he revealed that he had been suffering mental health issues. Australia were playing Sri Lanka in a T20I series at home that year, and Maxwell decided to withdraw midway through the series.
However, he returned to playing competitive cricket in December last year during the Big Bash League, where he turned up for Melbourne Stars and amassed 398 runs from 16 innings at a strike rate of 148.51, including three fifties. He also snapped 16 wickets at an economy rate of 7.03 as the Stars finished runners-up after losing to Sydney Sixers in the final.
Maxwell is currently with the Australian limited-overs team on their tour of England. In the first ODI which Aussies won, Maxwell smashed a 59-ball 77.
Marcus Stoinis (Delhi Capitals): Another Aussie with an excellent T20 record, Marcus Stoinis made headlines earlier this year after he slammed an unbeaten 147 off just 79 balls during a Big Bash League match for Melbourne Stars against Sydney Sixers. Not only was the highest-ever individual score in the BBL, but also he stitched a record 207-run stand with Hilton Cartwright in that match - the highest partnership for any wicket in the tournament’s history.
He remains Delhi Capitals’ lone batting all-rounder, but more importantly, his addition to the squad adds more depth to their batting lineup, and his team will be expecting more of the same in the upcoming season.
Chris Green (Kolkata Knight Riders): One of the exciting prospects for KKR this season, many would be unfamiliar with South African-born Australian Chris Green.
Green, who made his debut for New South Wales during the 2014-15 One Day Cup, soon caught the eye of BBL outfit Sydney Thunder. He starred with the ball during their title-winning season in 2015-16, picking eight wickets from as many games, with best figures of 3-27. What followed were stints with Lahore Qalandars and Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Pakistan Super League and the Caribbean Premier League.
With best figures of 4/14 and a total of 74 wickets in 93 T20s, Green certainly would hope for a breakthrough IPL season, as a stellar show could also pave way for an Australian call-up.
He was recently seen in the CPL, where he picked up nine wickets.
Jimmy Neesham (Kings XI Punjab): Making a return to the cash-rich league for the first time in six years, New Zealand all-rounder Jimmy Neesham has had a tough few years. He endured a below-par performance in his first outing in the tournament, taking just one wicket and scoring 42 runs in the 2014 edition while playing for Delhi Daredevils.
And after missing out a place in the 2015 World Cup squad, Neesham was part of the New Zealand one-day side for two more years, but was dropped after New Zealand’s miserable Champions Trophy campaign in 2017. He even considered retirement, before returning in 2018.
However, his major breakthrough came last year, when he scalped 15 wickets and scored 258 runs in the World Cup, where the Kiwis narrowly missed out on the trophy.
KXIP may be spoilt for choice this time, with Glenn Maxwell and Krishnappa Gowtham all in the fray, but Neesham was just excited to join his teammates ahead of the tournament.
"It is my first time getting involved in a long time. It is exciting to come as an older player and as an experienced player. Last time I played for Delhi, I was young and talented but didn't really know much about my game," he had told PTI on arrival in Dubai last week.
Daniel Sams (Delhi Capitals): Bought in as a replacement for Jason Roy, Australian bowling all-rounder Daniel Sams has been a consistent performer in the Big Bash League over the last few seasons.
Sams, who plays for Randwick-Petersham Club in Australia, is a member of the Sydney Thunder Academy but had initially missed out on a BBL contract.
However, during the 2017-18 season, Sams was named as a replacement for Henry Thornton in the Sydney Sixers’ side. In no time, he impressed on his debut, registering figures of 4-14 against Sydney Thunder.
Overall, Sams has scalped 52 wickets from 37 matches in the tournament, and could well team up with the likes of fellow all-rounders R Ashwin and Axar Patel at DC.
Fabian Allen (Sunrisers Hyderabad): Bought by SRH for Rs 50 lakh in the IPL auction, West Indian Fabian Allan will be gearing up for his maiden IPL campaign. Allan, part of West Indies’ U-19 World Cup squad in 2014, only made his international debut in an ODI against India in 2018, but has been a permanent figure in Windies’ limited-overs set-up. So far, Allan has taken 15 wickets in 27 matches for Windies, and looks like a favourite contender for the ICC T20 World Cup in India next year.
Allan has been a regular face in the Caribbean Premier League over the last few years. He was retained by St Kitts and Nevis Patriots ahead of the 2020 season, but missed the entire tournament after missing a flight from Jamaica to Barbados. The full tournament was held in Trinidad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Isuru Udana (RCB): Despite being in the international limelight for more than a decade, the upcoming IPL will be Sri Lanka all-rounder Isuru Udana’s maiden stint in the league. He was bought by RCB for his base price of Rs 50 lakh, and he brings with him loads of T20 experience. Udana has aggregated 905 runs in just 88 T20 innings, while also has 145 wickets to his name in 129 innings.
Chris Morris (RCB): RCB fans were overwhelmed when the South African trio of AB de Villiers, Dale Steyn, and Chris Morris arrived in the UAE. Morris, who was bought for Rs 10 crore after RCB’s battle against Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, and Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, boasts of an impeccable T20 record: 1730 runs and 259 wickets in 209 T20s.
He also took part in IPL 2019, where he 13 wickets from nine games at an economy of 9.27.
Morris was also on song in Big Bash League earlier this season, where he scalped 22 wickets in just 15 matches for Sydney Thunder, with best figures of 3-27.
This time, too, Morris could very well team up with the pace duo of Dale Steyn and Navdeep Saini as RCB look to tackle their death bowling concerns.
Sam Curran (CSK): Having played a big role in IPL 2019, Sam Curran is one of those players who could spring a surprise every now and then. Curran stole the limelight last season, when he claimed a hat-trick in only his second IPL game, for Kings XI Punjab against Delhi Capitals.
And this time, plying trade for Chennai Super Kings, Curran will get the chance to team up with experienced Ravindra Jadeja and Shane Watson.
Curran’s best figures in an IPL game remains 4/11 and has scalped 10 wickets in nine games.
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