IPL 2019: Team-wise weakest capped player
Some of the capped players, either retained or bought, could possibly be the weakest but important members in the squad.
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The twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is just about a fortnight and a half away. Just like the previous editions of the tournament, this season too brings in great excitement amongst the fans. There are new faces in each of the eight teams taking part in the league. A few teams decided to go aggressive at the auction after releasing many of their players from the last edition. They have managed to get hold of some better replacements whom they back to perform well.
Some other teams didn’t have a massive task at the auction table. They pretty much seemed to have a settled squad and covered up for their smallest of shortcomings. Yet, there are still a few weak links that exist. Some of the capped players, either retained or bought, could possibly be the weakest but important members in the squad.
However, they are all talented and only time will tell if they will finish the season with flying colours or get kicked out of the eleven midway through the tournament.
Here is the weakest capped player of each of the eight IPL teams:
1. Shardul Thakur | Chennai Super Kings
If there has to be one IPL team that backs its players to the core, it has to be the Chennai Super Kings. Led by the ideology of their skipper MS Dhoni, CSK just bought two players at the auction. They have retained most of their players and Shardul Thakur is one of them. Shardul was the leading wicket-taker for the franchise last season.
He picked up 16 wickets in 13 games at an average of 27. However, he still remains to be a weakness as he leaks the runs at a great clip. His economy rate last season was 9.23 per over which is quite high as per the normal standards. The team’s batting prowess made up for the leakage of runs last season. However, that isn’t possible every time and Thakur will have to work on restricting the batsmen especially in the death overs.
2. Ishant Sharma | Delhi Capitals
The revamped Delhi Capitals (formerly Delhi Daredevils) head into yet another IPL season with their expectations high. They made a bold move by picking up Ishant Sharma at the auction. The pacer was unsold in 2018 and had four pathetic seasons with the SRH before that. He failed to pick up a single wicket in the six games he played in 2017 season.
Between 2014 and 2016, the lanky pacer played 11 matches and only picked up 7 wickets. It is quite a risky gamble that the Capitals have taken. Even though he might not get as many chances, Ishant Sharma remains to be quite a weak link in the DC squad. Though he is a brilliant Test bowler, the lines and lengths to be employed in the T20 format are different which might lead to Ishant leaking runs at crucial junctures.
3. Karun Nair | Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab only retained 10 players ahead of the auction this year. They were heavily reliant on their top-order last season and the middle-order had no gas whatsoever. Thus, they decided to leave out many big Indian as well as foreign names but kept their faith in Karun Nair.
The right-hander had a terrible season last year and had a role to play in the team’s failure in the second half of the tournament. Nair played in 13 matches and managed to muster only 301 runs at an average of 25. He will bat in the middle-order once again this season and there would be a lot of pressure on the young cricketer.
4. Carlos Brathwaite | Kolkata Knight Riders
After the Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to part ways with him, Carlos Brathwaite was put back into the auction pool. Many expected that he’d either go unsold or at a cheap price tag. However, the Caribbean cricketer invited a bidding war between the Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders.
KKR management was willing to rake in the big dosh for him and acquired him at a price tag of Rs 5 crores. The pick was quite surprising given that the all-rounder only scored 75 runs and picked up 5 wickets in 4 games last year. His consistency has been Brathwaite’s biggest nemesis and thus he might well be KKR’s weakest player going into the season.
5. Yuvraj Singh | Mumbai Indians
Yuvraj Singh isn’t anymore the same kind of force that he was earlier. It is tough to accept but he is probably past his prime. The dynamic all-rounder had a terrible season last year where he only scored 65 runs in 8 games at an average of 10. Moreover, his strike rate (89) also took a dip and thus KXIP decided to release him.
Yuvi was initially unsold in the auction that took place for the IPL 2019. However, in the last round, the Mumbai Indians managed to get him at a bargain price of Rs 1 crore. The management believes he could be a great asset in the middle-order. But, they should not keep the expectations too high on him especially after the way he fared in 2018 edition of the league.
6. Ajinkya Rahane | Rajasthan Royals
It isn’t a great feeling calling the captain of a side the weakest player in the team. However, that is possibly the case with the Rajasthan Royals this season. Considering that most of their players have a liking to bat in the top-order, Ajinkya Rahane might have to sacrifice his opening slot yet again. Moreover, with Steve Smith returning, he could be batting at four or five this season.
Rahane isn’t the biggest hitter of the cricket ball and the position doesn’t really suit him. However, he wasn’t effective at the top of the order either last season. He scored 370 runs in 15 games at an average of 28 and strike rate of 118. He could be a hit-or-miss kind of player considering the combinations of RR for IPL 2019. Though, he will be very important for the team when the Australia and England players depart at the latter stages of the tournament.
7. Mohammad Siraj | Royal Challengers Bangalore
One of the best and fierce batting line-up in the IPL was slightly disintegrated last year. The team had to let KL Rahul and Chris Gayle go. However, they have got a strong line-up with the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shimron Hetmyer and Shivam Dube. It is their bowling which is a major concern yet again heading into the new season.
The team didn’t make any new purchases in the bowling department and they will have to continue with the likes of Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Siraj in their eleven. Siraj picked up 11 wickets in as many games last year at an average of 33 and an economy rate of 9. The pacer has found it hard to adjust to the higher levels of cricket and it has been a struggle for him thus far. He seems to be the weakest capped player for the RCB this season.
8. Wriddhiman Saha | Sunrisers Hyderabad
The Sunrisers Hyderabad have got Shreevats Goswami already in their ranks. They bought another quality wicket-keeper in the form of Jonny Bairstow. Thus buying Wriddhiman Saha again came completely out of the context. The fans expected SRH to acquire an aggressive Indian batsman who could also keep wickets.
But the management kept faith in Saha. Opening the innings for a majority of the last season, Saha’s performance was not so good. He scored 122 runs in 11 games at an average of 15 and strike rate of 120. The Hyderabad franchise shelled out Rs 1.20 crores to avail the services of the wicket-keeper batsman, about five times less than what it was last season.
Yet, one cannot completely trust him to do well given that he is likely to bat lower down the order this season. Moreover, he is making a comeback after a long injury layoff and will be rusty when it comes to facing the top-quality bowlers.