The 13th edition of the world’s most popular cricket tournament, Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin in the last week of March this year. Before the first match, fans would witness an All-Stars exhibition game, which will happen for the first time since the inception of the lucrative league.
As per EspnCricinfo, two teams will be formed by combining all the eight franchises. One side will comprise of players from four franchises in the North and East of India – Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, and Kolkata Knight Riders.
The other side will include players from the remaining four teams of South and West zone – Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Mumbai Indians.
Now the critical question arises as to who will play in these teams? Let’s start from South and West teams where one could find the biggest cricket stars of modern cricket.
1.) Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)
Opener Rohit Sharma is a massive name in IPL. He’s the most successful captain in the history of the cash-rich league, having won as many as four trophies in the tournament. Last season the right-handed batsman scored 405 runs in 15 games.
Overall, Rohit is sitting at the third spot (4898) in leading run-scorers list after Virat Kohli (5412), and Suresh Raina (5368).
In the international circuit, Rohit has clubbed 2713 runs in 107 games – second highest in the world after Virat Kohli (2783).
2.) David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Australian opening batsman David Warner single-handedly dominated IPL ever since he joined the Sunrisers Hyderabad side. Warner is the only player to win most ‘Orange Cup’ – an annual cricket award presented to the leading run-scorer in the league.
Warner won the ‘orange cap’ three times in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
The ‘pocket dynamite’ also led his team to clinch their maiden IPL trophy in the year 2016, where they defeated RCB by eight runs. Warner has smashed 44 half-centuries in the tournament, which is the most by any batsmen.
Amongst the overall leading run-scorers list, the southpaw sits comfortably at the fourth spot, with 4706 runs in 126 games.
3.) Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Team India’s captain and the leader of RCB is a familiar face amongst fans all around the world. He will bat at No.3 position in the All-Star match. Kohli is known as the ‘run-machine’ in cricket, and has smashed maximum runs in the history of IPL (5412).
Kohli has slammed 36 half-centuries in the tournament and sits at the fourth place in the ‘most fifties’ list. He also claimed an ‘orange cap’ in the 2016 season.
The 31-year-old is the leading run-scorer in international T20 matches. In 81 games, Kohli has smashed 2783 runs with an outstanding average of 51.53.
4.) AB de Villiers (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Also known as ‘Mr 360’, AB de Villiers has the ability to play shots in all parts of the ground. His dexterous skills of sending the balls out of the park terrorize bowlers. The former South African batsman plays one of the most innovative shots in modern cricket and likes to rip apart any bowling attack.
ABD has scored 4395 runs in 154 games – third most by an overseas player after David Warner (4706) and Chris Gayle (4484). He has slammed 33 half-centuries in the tournament, which is the second-most by a foreign player.
5.) Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings)
Arguably the most consistent players in IPL, Suresh Raina will bat at fifth position in the team. Raina is the second player in the history of the cash-rich league to reach 5000 runs milestone after Virat Kohli. In 193 games, the left-handed batsman smashed 5368 runs. With 38 half-centuries, Raina sits at the second spot in ‘most fifties’ list after David Warner.
Batting in the top order, the southpaw has mastered the art of finishing games. Raina is also a part-time off-break bowler who often provides that crucial breakthrough at the right time, and most importantly, he’s a livewire in the field. Without any surprises, Raina has taken the maximum catches (102) in IPL.
6.) MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings)
India’s most successful captain ‘MS Dhoni’ needs no introduction as to what kind of player he is. The batting powerhouse possesses the ability to destroy any bowling attack and turn the tables at any moment in the game.
With the calmness and composure, Dhoni is the sharpest brain in modern day cricket. He is the backbone of CSK and has led his side to three titles and playoffs in every single season they have participated in.
Without a doubt, Dhoni will be the wicket-keeper and captain of the team. He also tops the list in ‘best batting average’ amongst Indian players, overall Dhoni sits at the sixth place. In 190 matches, the 38-year-old scored 4432 runs with an average of 42.20.
7.) Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings)
After the top 6 players, it’s time for the all-rounders and who can be a better option than the ‘champion’ player Dwayne Bravo.
Bravo is undoubtedly the most entertaining character in the cricket field. The best thing about him is that he brings the Caribbean swagger to the league. Playing in the different tournaments across the globe has helped him to earn vast experience in the shortest format, which eventually helps the team he plays with.
The 36-year-old is an asset which every team looks for. He performs in all three departments of the game. Bravo has taken 147 wickets in the tournament – second-most by an overseas player after Lasith Malinga (170). He has also scored 1483 runs in the exciting league.
Bravo has grabbed 74 catches so far in IPL, which makes him stand at the fifth place in the ‘most catches’ list.
8.) Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai Super Kings)
Be it, MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja is a go-to man whenever a captain needs to break a partnership. His presence in both CSK and Indian team gives the skipper an extra cushion of playing an additional batsman.
Amongst Indian bowlers, Jadeja is at the seventh position in ‘most wickets’ list of IPL. In 170 games, the left-armer has taken 108 wickets. When it comes to batting, then the Jamnagar-born has scored 1927 runs.
The 31-year-old is one of the best fielders of modern-day cricket and helps his side with some spine-tingling and acrobatic efforts in the outfield. He has taken 63 IPL catches and sits at the ninth place in the ‘most catches’ list.
9.) Jasprit Bumrah (Mumbai Indians)
The unorthodox action, ability to bowl toe-crushing yorkers along with outstanding accuracy, has made Jasprit Bumrah a star bowler. One can say that no other cricketer has made as much progress than him.
One of the biggest reasons behind Mumbai Indians’ success is the consistent brilliant bowling by Bumrah. Not only for the MI, but the 26-year-old is also the frontline bowler in India’s national cricket team.
The right-armer is arguably the best-rated death bowler in the current cricket. He’s one of the very few bowlers who can bowl in the powerplay, middle-overs, and of course, in the slog overs.
Speaking about his IPL career then Bumrah has played 77 matches and scalped 82 wickets. In the last season, the Ahmedabad-born player took 19 wickets in 16 games and finished at the third spot amongst Indian bowlers in the leading wicket-takers list after Deepak Chahar (22), and Shreyas Gopal (20).
10.) Yuzvendra Chahal (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
In any format of the game, the importance of wrist spinners can’t get ignored. They have a tendency to change the game at any moment.
Indian team’s permanent wrist spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has pretty impressive figures in IPL. In 84 games, the leg-spinner has taken 100 wickets. Amongst Indian bowlers, he sits at the eleventh spot in ‘most wickets’ list and sixth amongst Indian spinners.
When it comes to the international circuit, then Chahal has taken 54 T20 wickets, and he’s the second-highest wicket-taker for India after Jasprit Bumrah (55). He is also the first Indian bowler to have picked up a five-wicket haul in T20Is.
In the 2019 season, RCB finished at the last spot, despite this, Chahal claimed 18 wickets in the tournament and finished at the sixth position amongst Indian bowlers in ‘most wickets’ list.
11.) Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians)
The guy who started the trend of bowling unbelievable yorkers in order to take a commanding position in T20 format, which is regarded as a ‘death valley’ for bowlers, Lasith Malinga, is a role model for many bowlers including India’s new cricket sensation Jasprit Bumrah.
The ace Sri Lankan bowler is the leading wicket-taker in both IPL and international T20s. In the cash-rich league, the right-armer has taken the maximum 170 wickets in just 122 matches. While, in 82 T20Is, Malinga has scalped 106 wickets. He’s the only bowler to touch 100-wickets figure in T20 internationals.
The Galle-born cricketer has bowled the maximum maidens (8) in IPL amongst overseas players. So, without a doubt, he will lead the bowling attack of the All-Stars team.
Here’s the playing XI:
Rohit Sharma, David Warner, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (c & wk), Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Lasith Malinga.