The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled to begin on March 29. The official auction of the players took place on December 19, 2019, in Kolkata, where 62 players were sold.
For the first time ever, an All-Stars game will be played three days before the start of the lucrative league. One team will comprise players from franchises of South and West – Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Mumbai Indians (MI) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
While the other team will feature players belonging to North and East franchises – namely Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Delhi Capitals (DC).
But who will play in these teams is a big question, so let’s see how the North-East zone team should look like:
1.) KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab)
India’s star opening batsman KL Rahul is playing exceptional white-ball cricket at present. The last season of IPL had been tremendous for the Karnataka-born as he scored 593 runs in 14 games with an average of 53.90.
Rahul’s only century in the tournament also came in the 2019 edition. Overall, the right-handed batsman has clubbed 1977 runs in 67 matches with 16 half-centuries.
In the international T20s, Rahul sits at the sixth spot among the leading run-scorers list. He has scored 1440 runs in 42 matches. The 27-year-old has also smashed 11 fifties and 2 centuries in the shortest format of the game.
2.) Robin Uthappa (Rajasthan Royals)
Robin Uthappa is quite a familiar name in the T20s. He has ample experience in the lucrative league. With 177 games, the right-handed batsman sits at the sixth place in ‘most matches in IPL’ list, after Suresh Raina (193), MS Dhoni (190), Rohit Sharma (188), Dinesh Karthik (182), and Virat Kohli (177).
Uthappa is the eighth spot amongst the batsman to score most runs (4411) in IPL. He has smashed 24 fifties in the cash-rich league – seventh most amongst Indian batsmen and tenth overall.
The Kerala-born batter has helped Kolkata Knight Riders franchise to win two IPL titles. Uthappa is also the sixth batsmen to hit maximum fours (435). With that much experience, he will be a perfect pick to open the innings with Rahul.
3.) Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab)
The IPL stats very well justify the kind of talent Glenn Maxwell is. In 69 matches, he scored 1397 runs with an excellent strike-rate of 161.13. However, the Aussie powerhouse has only struck six fifties; still, his ultimate striking ability can’t get ignored.
Maxwell’s biggest strength is to rip apart any bowling attack, and that’s the reason most of the franchises went for him in the 2020 IPL auction. Kings XI Punjab, for whom the 31-year-old has played before, repurchased him for a whopping price of INR 10.65 crore.
Usually, Maxwell bats down to support the lower middle-order, but in the case of All-Stars, there are options available, so his progression at the top-order will help the side. Maxwell will also lead the team.
4.) Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals)
Shreyas Iyer changed the fortunes for Delhi Capitals (DC) when he took over the captaincy from Gautam Gambhir. In the 2019 season, DC finished at the third spot in the IPL standings.
Iyer led from the front in the last season as he scored 463 runs in 16 games. Overall, the right-handed batsman has clubbed 1681 runs in 62 matches with 13 half-centuries.
Iyer is currently the part of the Indian team, where he is fulfilling the responsibility of No.4 batsman in the limited-overs format. In 22 T20Is, the Mumbai-born has scored 417 runs with a strike-rate of 129.50.
5.) Dinesh Karthik (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Dinesh Karthik has plenty of experience in the shortest format of the game, therefore, he will be the wicket-keeper of the team. Ever since the Nidahas Trophy final in Sri Lanka, Karthik has upped the ante in terms of his finishing skills in T20 cricket. However, his last season in the IPL didn’t go up to the mark, but Karthik’s overall figures in the exciting league are quite impressive.
The 34-year-old has played 182 games in IPL and scored 3654 runs – ninth-most by an Indian player. Co-incidentally, Karthik is also the ninth batsmen amongst Indians to smash a maximum of half-centuries (18) and fours (357) in the tournament.
6.) Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
Arguably the best all-rounder at present, Ben Stokes is a famous face amongst cricket fans across the world. In the year 2017, he became the highest-paid overseas player (INR 14.5 crores), however, in the 2020 season, Australian pacer Pat Cummins broke the record when KKR purchased him for INR 15.5 crores.
Stokes has immense talent, and he showcased it once again when he guided his national side to lift their maiden World Cup title. He scored 465 runs in 11 matches.
When it comes to IPL, then the 28-year-old has clubbed 635 runs in 34 games with a strike-rate of 132. Stokes has also smashed a century in the lucrative league. The southpaw has also grabbed 26 wickets in the tournament.
7.) Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Andre Russell is considered as one of the greatest T20 player of all time. The power-hitter hits the ball brutally and has the ability to shatter any bowling attack.
The 31-year-old tops the table in ‘highest batting strike-rate’ in IPL. In 64 games, Russell has smashed 1400 runs with a mind-boggling strike-rate of 186.41.
The Jamaican born has also slammed 120 sixes in IPL – seventh most by an overseas player. The KKR all-rounder has taken 55 wickets as well. Russell also brings a plethora of experience with him as he has played T20 games all around the world. The right-handed batsman has scored 5290 runs in 319 matches.
8.) Ravichandran Ashwin (Delhi Capitals)
Over 350 wickets in Tests, 150 in ODIs, and 50 in T20Is, Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has indeed proven to be one of the best spin bowlers of modern-day cricket. Ashwin also grabbed the maximum international wickets (564) in the past decade (2009-2019).
In his 139 IPL games, the Chennai-born has scalped 125 wickets – fifth-most by an Indian bowler and seventh overall. In the last season, Ashwin claimed 15 wickets in 14 matches – ninth-most by an Indian bowler.
When it comes to best economy rates, Ashwin sits at the 10th spot with a career economy of 6.79. The 33-year-old is the seventh bowler in the history of IPL to bowl maximum dot balls. Ashwin has bowled 1069 dot deliveries.
9.) Amit Mishra (Delhi Capitals)
The former Indian leg-spinner, Amit Mishra, is a massive name in Indian cricket. He has the quality of bowling sharp spinning leg break deliveries, which puzzles the batters the most. He also has the top spinner and a well-disguised wrong-un. The veteran leggie bowls with a lovely loop and outstanding accuracy.
In IPL, Mishra has some mind-blowing figures, which makes him stand in a league of exceptional bowlers. In 147 games, he has taken 157 wickets – most by an Indian bowler and second-most overall after Lasith Malinga (170).
The 37-year-old has bowled 1111 dot balls – fourth-most in the history of IPL. Mishra has also taken the most hat-tricks (three) in the lucrative league. He has bowled six maiden overs – eight most by a bowler in the IPL.
10.) Mohammed Shami (Kings XI Punjab)
Mohammed Shami had an incredible 2019. He was the leading wicket-taker (33) amongst Indian bowlers in Test cricket. In the last season of IPL, Shami scalped 19 wickets – seventh-most by a bowler. Overall, the right-armer has grabbed 40 wickets in 51 games.
The 29-year-old has the quality of bowling deliveries at an extreme pace. His balls tend to skit on the surface, which becomes much more difficult for any batsman to play. The high arm action also helps him to take full advantage of any condition.
11.) Kagiso Rabada (Delhi Capitals)
The young gun from South Africa, Kagiso Rabada, scares the opposing team’s batting unit with supreme pace and inch-perfect yorkers.
Rabada didn’t play the 2018 edition, but he made an impressive comeback in the 2019 season as he picked up 25 wickets – second-most in the season after his compatriot Imran Tahir (26).
Overall, the right-armer has taken 31 wickets in 18 matches. In the international circuit, Rabada has grabbed 28 T20 wickets.
Here’s the playing XI:
KL Rahul, Robin Uthappa, Glenn Maxwell (c), Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Ben Stokes, Andre Russell, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada.