IPL 2021: Aakash Chopra predicts the top 6 overseas performers in the tournament
IPL 2021 is scheduled to start on April 9 with a clash between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Updated - Apr 4, 2021 4:32 pm
With less than a week remaining for the brand new season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to start, former India opener Aakash Chopra has predicted the top six overseas performers of the upcoming edition. IPL 2021 is scheduled to start on April 9 in Chennai with a clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians, and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Chopra started by picking Sunrisers Hyderabad David Warner who is one of the most successful overseas players in the history of IPL. Chopra hailed the Australian star for his ‘unique’ ability to adapt to Indian conditions. Since IPL 2014, Warner has scored more than 500 runs in every season so far. In 2016, he led Sunrisers Hyderabad to their first IPL title and had scored more than 800 runs that season.
“He (David Warner) is a very strong player. Although let’s be honest, his first nine matches will be on grounds that might not suit him that much, but he won’t be affected by that. He’s got this unique ability that despite being an Australian, he adapts to Indian conditions as if he’s making his Tik Tok videos. You’ll once again find him scoring 400-500 runs. We saw last year that he can change his gears and play carefully which is what’s required early on this season,” said Aakash Chopra in a video uploaded on his YouTube channel.
At number two, he picked Warner’s teammate and Afghanistan superstar Rashid Khan. Rashid has been one of the best bowlers in the IPL since being signed up by Sunrisers in 2017. Last season, he picked up 20 wickets and played a key role in Sunrisers’ march to the playoffs. Chopra predicted a special season for Rashid and also backed him to win the purple cap.
“I feel he (Rashid Khan) is going to do something special. He is a sensational player. Five matches are in Chennai, and four matches are in Delhi, and he’ll find a lot of turn on both the pitches. He has also played a lot more cricket recently than his counterparts, so he’ll be ready. My prediction is he’ll be the purple cap holder this season as well,” said the former cricketer.
AB de Villiers is a man from a different planet: Aakash Chopra
Next on Aakash Chopra’s list was Chennai Super Kings’ all-rounder Sam Curran. The England youngster was one of the few positives for CSK last season where he took 13 wickets and scored 186 runs. Chopra said that CSK skipper MS Dhoni has become a fan of Curran as he hailed the latter’s versatility. The former cricketer-turned-commentator picked AB de Villiers as his fourth overseas player.
“I feel Sam Curran has three qualities, and (MS) Dhoni is making great use of them. I have seen this after a long time that Dhoni has become almost a fan of a player, and that is Sam Curran. He is a very shrewd bowler. He can swing the ball early on, bowl the slower ones, the cutters, you’ll find him bowling in different parts of the innings. The second is his batting. Dhoni might send him higher up to order and ask him to play freely. Or he could be asked to play the long innings and in the lower order as well, like in the recent ODI against India. His versatility will be his third factor,” he said.
“He (AB de Villiers) is a man from a different planet. We all feel he’s taking a risk, but he does the impossible very easily. I have a request for RCB – don’t go into matchups, like not sending him against leg spinners. If he bats at the right position, he will belt everyone. Also, he might not have a lot of matches remaining in the IPL, so we can see him leaving an indelible impression this season,” he added.
Chopra finished his prediction by picking Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran at number five and six respectively. Stoinis had a fine outing in IPL 2020 where he scored 352 runs and took 13 wickets for Delhi Capitals. Pooran also looked impressive in IPL 2020 and scored 353 runs in 14 games for Punjab Kings.
“The best of Marcus Stoinis came in the last season, and I think he’s going to continue in the same fashion. He’ll have more responsibility this season because Shreyas Iyer isn’t there. I have a good feeling that he’ll do well as a batsman and as a bowler as well; he’s doing a fairly good job,” said Chopra.
“Nicholas Pooran is one of the most fascinating talents to watch. When he’s batting, you actually stop, watch and admire. I expect Punjab Kings to do a lot better this season, and for that to happen, Nicholas Pooran will be imperative,” he added.