The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been as productive a platform for overseas cricketers as it has been for the Indian cricketers. From Steve Smith to Shane Watson to Pat Cummins to DJ Bravo, numerous foreign players have found their form as well as landed national call-ups after starring in IPL, which makes this tournament the most sought-after domestic T20 league in the world.
IPL 2020 isn’t expected to be very different either with some of the biggest international cricketers coming under an umbrella to compete. Here’s a look at some overseas stars who are widely expected to rule the roost this season.
PAT CUMMINS (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Pat Cummins comes to IPL 2020 with the burden of being the highest-priced player at the auction for whom the Kolkata Knight Riders had to spend a whopping 15.50 crores. Having already made a brief spell with KKR previously before having a cracking season with Delhi Capitals, Pat Cummins’ talent isn’t unknown to IPL. Hence, when he made himself available for the tournament last year, there was no dearth of suitors.
The Australian bowling all-rounder has been in stupendous form for the Kangaroos in both limited-overs and Test matches of late. Pat Cummins has played 30 T20Is so far, clinching 37 wickets. His last outing in IPL in 2017 had seen the bowler scalping 15 wickets in 12 matches for Delhi, which makes him a proven product. With Lockie Ferguson challenging Cummins for a first-team place, KKR fans are hoping to see a hungry Aussie taking the pitch for their team.
SHANE WATSON (Chennai Super Kings)
Despite retiring from international cricket in 2016 and Australia’s Big Bash League in 2019, Shane Watson continues to enjoy MS Dhoni’s confidence in CSK colours, which says a lot about the all-rounder. CSK’s proclivity towards experience over youth has surely helped Shane Watson’s cause and one look at Watson’s IPL performances in recent years suggest that the Aussie has aged like a fine wine.
Being a part of the IPL since its very beginning in 2008, Shane Watson brings with himself a ton of experience having won the tournament twice with two different teams. Watson’s rejuvenation in CSK colours has been unreal. Joining them in 2018, Watson has tallied 953 in two seasons, which included two centuries. With another season on the horizon and a 39-year-old Watson not getting any younger, CSK fans have every reason to believe that the lion will roar one final time before hanging up his boots.
ANDRE RUSSELL (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Andre Russell’s nickname “Dre Russ” sounds like a futuristic android, which was built solely to annihilate bowlers with his impeccable built and brute strength. And he does exactly that. After KKR decided to stick with him when he missed the IPL in 2017, the Caribbean power-hitter has been repaying the faith shown in him with all his might.
While 2018 IPL was a teaser of Russell’s abilities, where the middle-order batsman tallied 316 runs with a strike rate of 184.79, 2019 finally saw the monster coming out of his cave. Rescuing KKR from the most impossible of scenarios, Russell amassed 510 runs, which saw him hitting 52 sixes. He ended the tournament with a strike rate of 204.81.
While KKR were over-reliant on the batsman last season, the imports of Eoin Morgan and Tom Banton are expected to ease the pressure off him this time. IPL fans will see Russell playing with lighter shoulders this time and one can fancy how destructive he could prove to be then.
RASHID KHAN (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
IPL 2020 shifting away from India to UAE has been good news to very few teams, and Sunrisers Hyderabad are one of them. Pitches in UAE have been heavenly for slow bowlers with Afghan bowlers like Samiullah Shenwari and Mohammad Nabi creating a desert storm in national colours.
Rashid Khan’s mastery with his wrists and witty pace variations will be a threat to the best of batsmen in UAE and SRH will be in a good condition to take that advantage. Though dew will be a factor in the latter stages, Rashid Khan has already proven to overcome it in Indian conditions previously.
Having joined SRH back in 2017, Rashid Khan hasn’t had a bad season in his three-year-old IPL stint. While he took 17 wickets in 2017, he followed it up with a 21-wicket haul in 2018 that took SRH to the tournament final. Last season saw Rashid Khan scalping 17 wickets again as SRH came close. Fans will be hoping to see a similar performance this time from the Afghan turner, who has already become a sensation in the Big Bash League.
DAVID WARNER (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
One of the most consistent players in IPL, Australia’s David Warner has been a blessing for SRH since he was roped in during the 2014 auction. The southpaw hasn’t tallied below 400 in his last six IPL seasons, thus making himself one of the most bankable openers in the tournament’s history.
Though 2016 remains Warner’s most explosive IPL season, where he had tallied 848 runs, his biggest challenge was returning to IPL 2019 following the Sandpaper scandal. However, the swashbuckling hard-hitter removed every shred of doubt by garnering 692 runs in 12 games, which included one unbeaten century and eight half-centuries. While the tournament has shifted out of India, which has been Warner’s favourite hunting ground over the past few years, we have no reason to believe this season will be any different for him.
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