The Betway ambassador celebrates the competition’s return to India and reveals his dark horse to challenge Mumbai Indians for the title.
The IPL is back home
It is imperative that the IPL is in India.
For the interest of the viewers and everything associated with the brand, it’s crucial for teams to be playing in their own country.
The BCCI did brilliantly to get the 2020 IPL on in UAE, but this is where the tournament belongs and it’s brilliant that it’s back.
It is a shame that things aren’t quite back to normal yet, though.
None of the teams will be playing in their home stadiums and, obviously, there won’t be any fans present at the matches.
Bubble life will be difficult for the players – and the commentators!
Having been there last year, it is very, very strict. When I arrive in India I will need to take three tests in seven days while staying in my room.
It’s not easy, certainly not for the players who are trying to perform on the field. In Dubai, players were allowed to go out and play golf with an element of freedom, but I don’t know how much freedom there is going to be this time.
But it is the Indian Premier League – for it to be played in India is fundamental and will improve the experience.
Don’t get too excited by RCB
RCB will always be a massive talking point because they have Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers but have never won the IPL.
Unfortunately, I don’t see why things will be any different for them this year.
They’ve got a fantastic batting line-up, we know that. Kohli is obviously world-class, Devdutt Padikkal is a very exciting opening batsman, and AB de Villiers – though he hasn’t played any cricket since the last competition – is such a class player.
So I’m struggling to understand why they have made spent so much money on Glenn Maxwell, who is yet another middle-order batsman.
When you’ve got those players already, do you need another guy? You’ve only got 20 overs to bat. That is a decision that Mike Hesson and RCB will have to front up over if things don’t go to plan.
It feels like they are too top-heavy and should have focused their recruitment more on supplementing the Kyle Jamieson signing.
I like that CSK have stuck with MS Dhoni
CSK could easily have ripped things up and started again after finishing seventh in 2020, but I like the fact that they are sticking to their vision.
You’re not going to win the tournament every single year, but they are very loyal to their players and are thinking about their brand.
There are plenty of franchises that could learn a thing or two from them. Delhi are finally following suit now, but they have previously had some of the best IPL players play for them at some stage before watching them become stars elsewhere.
Perhaps Chennai are looking at MS Dhoni and Stephen Fleming working with some of the youngsters this year with an eye on being strong enough to win the next tournament. They are looking to build something rather than just overreact to one poor campaign in 2020.
I think it’s good for Chennai and the competition that Dhoni is still in charge there.
Great that the IPL is being prioritised over international cricket
I don’t think that international cricket should be scheduled at all during the IPL.
You have South Africa v Pakistan going on right now, and then the players end up being questioned over their allegiances when they want to earn lots of money rather than play in a series that nobody will remember.
Governing bodies need to realise that these guys are all businesses. You go where the money is at the end of the day, and that needs to be appreciated.
Cricket boards need to realise that the @IPL is the biggest show in town.
DO NOT schedule ANY international games whilst it’s on.
V v v simple!
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) April 2, 2021I’m glad to see that England players will be allowed to miss the New Zealand Test matches in June, as the South African players are missing the end of that ODI series, in order to finish the IPL.
Nobody will remember those matches, but earning huge money and winning the IPL does an awful lot for the players.
In terms of this season’s overseas players, I’ve already said that I’m not quite sure what Glenn Maxwell is doing at RCB. That might be one we reflect on being a poor decision.
Chris Morris is a really interesting one, just because he is now the most expensive overseas IPL player ever.
Morris is a decent player, but I’m not sure he’s so good that he warrants Rajasthan Royals shelling out so much for him.
He tends to start competitions well but then drop off, so we’ll have to see whether he can deal with the pressure and fill the void left by Jofra Archer at Rajasthan.
Punjab Kings can challenge Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians will always be the favourites because of their pedigree. They have won four of the last six IPLs and come in with some of the best players once again.
I’m really interested to see how the Punjab Kings go, though.
Last year they lost that one Super Over at the start of the competition and it seemed to set them back, but their form at the end of the season was decent.
KL Rahul and Chris Gayle are very impressive options at the top and they’ve spent lots of money on the Aussie quick Jhye Richardson.
I think they might be the dark horses this year.
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