After the postponement of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 due to the rising coronavirus cases inside the bio-secure bubble, the next phase of the tournament is set to resume in United Arab Emirates (UAE).
There are also reports that two new teams could be added for the next season of the T20 extravaganza. Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra had earlier speculated that the two new franchises could be Ahmedabad and Lucknow based.
Chopra also named ten players who could benefit from the addition of two new teams on Thursday.
The first name that instantly popped up in the 43-year-old’s mind was of the left-arm unorthodox spinner, Kuldeep Yadav. Chopra reasoned that though Kuldeep has represented Kolkata Knight Riders (KRR), yet he hasn’t got enough chances. Chopra even supposed that the Kanpur-lad might have asked his side to release him so that he could be in the playing XI with some other franchise.
“The first name I am keeping in this list is Kuldeep Yadav. He has been there with KKR for so many years, has done exceedingly well in T20 cricket but is not getting the chances now. He might have asked KKR earlier also to release him as some other team might play him,” Chopra expounded.
Next, Chopra suggested the name of Australian cricketer Chris Lynn as the latter also hasn’t got considerable opportunities with Mumbai Indians (MI). The Agra-born adumbrated that Lynn could only fit in the playing XI for the Mumbai based franchise when their first choice opener Quinton de Kock was out of the game.
The third cricketer listed by Chopra was KKR pacer Lockie Ferguson. The cricketer-turned commentator applauded Ferguson for his death over bowling and stock deliveries.
Chopra then remarked that Chennai Super Kings (CSK) all-rounder Mitchell Santner would also benefit from the two new franchises as he can bowl a few overs and also play big shots with the bat.
“Next I have kept CSK’s Mitchell Santner. He gives 3-4 overs with the ball and can play the big shots. He is an all-rounder kind of player who will give you a lot. He can get quite a few chances to play in some other franchise,” Chopra enunciated.
Another interesting pick was Indian middle-order batsmen Ajinkya Rahane. Chopra pointed out that Rahane had smashed an IPL century and hit six fours in an over but wasn’t able to make regularly in the playing XI of the star-studded Delhi Capitals (DC).
Chopra named Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane as his next choice. He opined that Lamichhane has done well in other T20 leagues but isn’t getting the break to prove his mettle in IPL.
Chopra’s seventh choice was England’s, Jason Roy. Roy is currently a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) squad but hasn’t fielded much since the opening spot has gone to other players.
“Jason Roy, when the new franchises come, the ten teams will need 27-28 openers. So he will definitely be one of the openers. He will also smash the bowlers a lot if he goes to a franchise where the pitch is good,” Chopra opined.
Chopra also named Black Caps’ opening batsman Tim Seifert. The former Indian opener dubbed him as ‘Mini McCullum.’
The penultimate preference was given to Rajasthan Royals (RR) spin bowler Shreya Gopal. Gopal is a leg-spinner but was excluded from the playing XI in favour of Rahul Tewatia.
Lastly, Chopra picked England skipper Joe Root. Though Root hasn’t been a part of his nation’s T20 squad, the ex-Delhi cricketer opined that the Sheffield-born could is a good player against spin and could benefit from the addition of new teams.
“Another is Joe Root. It is possible he becomes the captain of one of the teams. I agree he is not a regular member of the England T20 team but he is a good player and you don’t need all players who have a strike rate of 150 and he plays spin very well,” Chopra stated.
Chopra further added that Root could lead one of the teams as he is a good cricketer.
“It is possible he (Root) becomes the captain of one of the teams. I agree he is not a regular member of the England T20 team but he is a good player,” Chopra asserted.
Here is Aakash Chopra’s choice of players:
Joe Root, Shreyas Gopal, Kuldeep Yadav, Tim Seifert, Jason Roy, Ajinkya Rahane, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Chris Lynn.