Sunday, March 16, 2008

My IPL squad predictions

Here are my IPL squad predictions:
1. Bangalore Royal Challengers:
Bharat Chipli
Shreevats Goswami/Wasim Jaffer (Sheevats should be first choice)
Rahul Dravid (captain)
Jaques Kallis
Misbah-ul-Haq/Cameron White (Misbah would be first choice)
Virat Kohli
Mark Boucher (wicketkeeper)
Praveen Kumar
Anil Kumble
Nathan Bracken
Zaheer Khan

I'd like to see Shreevats Goswami play instead of Jaffer, because he is a fast scorer, and an opener who can make use of the power play overs. Also, he's a talent for the future and should get a chance before the tried and tested and wasted Jaffer. Ideally, Misbah should be able to walk into any 20-20 team, but considering the restriction of only 4 international players, he'd have to keep out Cameron White, an extremely fit and competitive cricketer. I think Bangalore need to look at a permanent replacement for Zaheer Khan, the fitest cricketer ever. He will surely play the first match, but then he would sit out the rest of the tournament due to his injury! What a waste of money. Youngsters should be encouraged, as they could easily replace him anytime!!!

2. Chennai Super Kings:
Matthew Hayden/Stephen Flemming (Hayden would be first choice)
Napolean Einstein
Suresh Raina
S Badrinath
Mahendra S Dhoni (captain & wicket keeper)
Srikkanth Anirudha
Jacob Oram
Albie Morkel
Shadab Jakati
Joginder Sharma
Muttiah Muralitharan

A tough choice between Hayden and Flemming, but considering Hayden's record in India and his free scoring nature, he'd be the first choice in that battle. No other issues in the squad.

3. Delhi Dare Devils:
Virender Sehwag (captain)
Gautam Gambhir
Manoj Tiwari
Dinesh Karthik (wicket keeper)
Shoaib Malik/AB de Villiers (Shoaib Malik would be first choice)
Shikhar Dhawan
Mithun Manhas
Daniel Vettori
Farveez Mahroof
Pradeep Sangwan
Mohammad Asif/Glen McGrath (Asif would be first choice)

Both Shoaib Malik and AB de Villiers are excellent middle order batsmen, but considering the experience that Malik would have garnered in the 20-20 world championships and his very useful knocks throughout the tournament, coupled with his off-spin, I think he'd be first choice. If Dinesh Kartik is unfit, de Villiers would have to play, because he is a good wicket-keeper too. Shoaib Malik could miss out then. In the battle between Asif and McGrath, I think Asif would be first choice because age is on his side. However, I have a soft corner for McGrath and would love to see him play instead. Asif has the experience in 20-20 matches, but McGrath has consistency on his side.

4. Deccan Chargers:
Adam Gilchrist (wicket keeper)
Shahid Afridi/Herschelle Gibbs (extremely difficult choice, would be made on fitness)
Rohit Sharma
Andrew Symonds
VVS Laxman (captain)
Venugopal Rao
Arjun Yadav
Chaminda Vaas/Scott Styris (Chaminda Vaas would be first choice)
Pragyan Ojha
RP Singh

This team is stuck with the worst choice, to choose between Gibbs and Afridi! I guess, in the end the choice would be made based on fitness and playing conditions. Gibbs is a stronger batsman, but then Afridi is a much improved bowler and he can single-handedly win any 20-20 match if his batting clicks (and that is a big IF). Honestly, I can't choose between them! Another difficult choice is between Vaas and Styris. Vaas could be excellent in 20-20 with his cutters, but Styris is a better batsman. Based on current form, Vaas would be the first choice.

5. Rajasthan Royals:
Taruwar Kohli
Greame Smith/Younis Khan (Greame Smith would be first choice)
Mohamamd Kaif
Dimitri Mascarehnas
Yusuf Pathan
Kamran Akmal (wicket keeper)
Ravindra Jadeja
Pankaj Singh
Shane Warne (captain)
Anup Revandkar
Munaf Patel

A tough choice between Greame Smith and Younis Khan, but I think that Smith being an opener would have a greater chance of playing. It's a tough call to leave Younis Khan out of the side. Smith is also a better fielder.

6. Kolkata Knight Riders:
Sourav Ganguly (captain)
Chris Gayle
Aakash Chopra
David Hussey/Ricky Ponting (David Hussey would be first choice)
Cheteshwar Pujara
Brendon McCullum (wicket keeper)
Ajit Agarkar
Murali Karthik
Iqbal Abdulla
Shoaib Akhtar/Umar Gul (Shoaib Akhtar would be first choice, if fit!)
Ishant Sharma

How can one choose between David Hussey (the 20-20 specialist from Australia) and Ricky Ponting? However, based on experience (in 20-20), current fitness and 20-20 batting style and consistency, David Hussey should walk into the team in front of Ricky Ponting. Both are excellent fielders, but Hussey having won the player of the series in the 2007-08 KFC Twenty20 Bash (Australia's domestic tournament), should make it over Ponting. Another tough choice is between Akhtar and Umar Gul. Akhtar should make it before Gul, but only if he is fit (don't even get me started on Zaheer Khan)

7. IPL Mohali Team:
James Hopes/Ramnaresh Sarwan (Hopes would be first choice)
Kumar Sangakkara (wicket keeper)
Yuvraj Singh (captain)
Mahela Jayawardene
Tanmay Srivastava
Karan Goel
Irfan Pathan
Brett Lee
Piyush Chawla/Romesh Powar (Chawla would be first choice)
Ajitesh Argal

Based on the style of play required in 20-20 cricket, I'd say that Hopes would make it before Sarwan, simply because he is a more attacking batsman and also bowls an immaculate line and lenght! There would be a toss up between Chawla and Powar based on the pitch conditions.

8. Mumbai Indians:
Sanath Jayasuria
Sachin Tendulkar (captain)
Robin Uthappa
Saurabh Tiwary
Manish Pandey/Loots Bosman (If Dilhara misses out, Bosman would play)
Pinal Shah (wicket keeper)
Abhishek Nayar
Shaun Pollock
Harbhajan Singh
Dilhara Fernando/Ajinkya Rahane (if Dilhara plays, Manish Pandey would play)
Lasith Malinga

Not much to choose from in the Mumbai squad, but since they have a local wicket keeper it gives them more to choose from the international players. If Dilhara Fernando plays, then Loots Bosman would miss out. But if Fernando does not play, and Ajinkya plays, then Loots Bosman could replace either Manish Pandey or Saurabh Tiwari.



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