The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has finally received all requisite clearances from the Government of India to stage the thirteenth season of the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) between September 19 and November 10 in UAE.
The whole tournament will be played in a bio-secure environment across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Some strict norms and guidelines have been issued by the apex cricketing board to ensure the safety of players and staff amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The franchises have already quarantined their players, and they will have to go through two COVID-19 tests before departing to UAE.
While there are no limitations on support staff, the number of players each franchise can carry has been restricted to 24. This has added an extra burden on franchises whose squad length exceeds the limiting number as they have to leave one of their players.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have more than 24 players in their pecking order, and each of them faces a tough decision ahead of the departure.
Talking specifically about KXIP, the franchise is yet to clinch the championship title. Over the years, a string of lacklustre performances from the team has left the fans in a bitter taste. Their best run came way back in 2014 – also the first instance when a part of the cash-rich league was played in UAE -they then reached the final of the league.
However, this season, considering the talents they have acquired in the auction, it looks like the franchise is desperate to turn the tides. But firstly, the moot point for KXIP is whom they are going to leave alone from their squad of 25 players.
Let’s have a look at the potential exclusion that KXIP might make ahead of the tournament:
Darshan Nalkande is the young pacer from Vidarbha, who was also one of the leading wicket-takers of the 2019 season of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. However, an appearance for KXIP looks bleak considering a great reservoir of pace battery the club already have in the squad. He might have to wait further for his chance.
A left-arm pacer who was a part of U-19 World Cup-winning team in 2018, Arshdeep Singh played for KXIP last year, but he failed to leave any substantial impact. Since the franchise paid a whopping INR 8.50 crore to acquire Sheldon Cottrel, another leftie, Arshdeep might have to sit back at home.
Prabhsimran Singh is an explosive wicket-keeper batsman from the state of Punjab. He made his debut for Punjab last season in which he scored 16 runs.
With KL Rahul and Nicholas Pooran in the ranks, it might be a bit difficult for any other wicket-keeping batsman to make a cut in the squad.
Jagadeesha Suchith, a leg spinner who is quite handy with the bat, started his IPL career in 2015 for Mumbai Indians. He has 12 wickets in 15 matches. With a more skilful spin-duo of Ravi Bishnoi and K Gowtham in the ranks, Suchith might not be departing for IPL this year.
Hardus Viljoen is the only foreigner in the list who can potentially miss the 2020 edition of the tournament. Hardus made his debut for KXIP last year, played six matches and has taken seven wickets altogether. He also proved to be one of the most expensive bowlers in the tournament last year.