IPL 2019: 5 cricketers who can set the stage on fire if South Africa hosts the tournament
The auction for IPL 2019 of the cash-rich league will be held on December 18, in Jaipur.
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There are things that excite you like anything, even long before they actually happen, and then there’s IPL, the tournament that keeps you excited throughout the year, be it before, during or even after it ends. IPL, arguably the biggest cricket league in the world, is still a good three-four months away, but the way people are already discussing it, one may get an impression that the league is to start from tomorrow, and the first match will be the final one as well! And since it’s IPL, all the hype surrounding it is only fair.
IPL is usually played in India, during the months of April and May, but the Prime Ministerial elections in India next year are apparently forcing the organisers to think of shifting the tournament to some other country, as it won’t be easy for them to get the tournament underway during these months without creating any problems for themselves or the public.
IPL has been hosted outside India twice in the past already – South Africa (2009) and UAE (2014) – and the twelfth edition of the league next year may just turn out to be the third instance. South Africa is one of the few countries that are expected to host the cash-rich league in 2019. If the country manages to get the hosting rights for the league’s next edition, here are 5 players we expect to set the stage on fire in the rainbow nation:
Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock is an important member of the South African cricket team and is expected to play a major role for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL next year. The flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman was bought by the Mumbai-based franchise from Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the players’ auction that will take place on the 18th of this month. De Kock can not only make breathtaking stumpings and caught-behinds possible with the keeping-gloves on but can also hit the ball a fair distance while batting.
The Johannesburg-born stylish left-hander has played a total of 35 T20Is for South Africa and has a strike-rate of over 128, while in the IPL, he has been a part of 34 matches in which he has scored over 900 runs at a strike-rate exceeding 130. While these numbers are already pretty good, de Kock still is a much more effective wicketkeeper-batsman than these numbers suggest.
While Morkel out of the international frame and Dale Steyn trying to cement his place in the ODI team, Rabada is the only big hope South Africa have in the fast-bowling department. The tall right-armer, with the pace he generates and the pin-point accuracy he has, can topple any batting lineup in the world. Not only that, Rabada can also come in handy with the bat. The 23-year-old has so far played 18 T20Is for South Africa, in which he has taken a decent 24 wickets at an average of 22.62.
Owing to his performances, Rabada was picked by Delhi Daredevils in 2017 and 2018 IPL auctions for INR 5 crores and INR 4.2 crores respectively. He has featured in 6 IPL matches but hasn’t quite lived up to his expectations, which is one thing he would love to change this year. He has a top-score of 44 runs, which is pretty impressive for a tail-ender and even more impressive when it comes to tail-enders in the T20 format.
Manish Pandey is one of the most experienced players in IPL. He has been around right from its first season. The elegant right-hander could come in handy for his IPL franchise this year, if the event is played in South Africa, considering, his first, and only, IPL century till date came in the rainbow nation in 2009. Manish, in the T20Is on India’s tour of South Africa, earlier this year looked in superb touch, as he finished the series at a superb average of 121.
Pandey has played an impressive 118 IPL matches till date, in which he has scored 2499 runs. He also has 12 fifties and one hundred to his name in the tournament. At the international level, the 29-year-old has played 28 matches, scoring 538 runs at a very good average of 41.38. So there’s no point in being surprised if Manish Pandey plays some gems in four months time from now.
India’s yorker-specialist is an impressive young pacer, who has bamboozled many with his exploits with the ball in hand. The 24-year-old, who plays for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, has matured impressively at the international level, thanks to his success in the IPL. Bumrah, who has already impressed while playing on the ‘slow-tracks’ of India, can only go upwards if the T20 event is shifted to South Africa, where pacers have a greater say.
The Ahmedabad-born fast bowler has collectively played 101 T20 matches at the international level and in IPL, in which he has taken 111 wickets at a phenomenal economy-rate of less than 7.5. He was also impressive in the T20I series against Australia. With all these numbers out in the public, it’s only fair to add Bumrah to this list.
AB de Villiers
Had the superman of cricket, or as many call him, AB de Villiers, been out of this list, the list would have taken forever to be completed. AB, arguably the best all-round cricketer the world has ever witnessed, can light any tournament up in the world, and if the tournament is IPL and the host country is South Africa, you can’t expect anything, but entertainment.
The 34-year-old has played 141 IPL matches, in which he has amassed over 2600 runs at an excellent average of over 39 and a ridiculous strike-rate exceeding 150! The numbers are already insane, but wait; AB also has scored 28 fifties and 3 centuries in this tournament! So, to say de Villiers would light the next edition of IPL up shouldn’t surprise anyone.