5th. Two seasons in a row, KKR have lost out on net run-rate. Never convincing last year, managed to pull victory out of jaws of defeat.
The much hyped finishing trio of Dinesh Karthik-Eoin Morgan-Andre Russell did not materialize. Brendon McCullum’s infamous notebook & lack of clarity on their position contributed to the underwhelming year. Oh and the DK-Morgan captaincy switch mid-tournament did not help at all.
The story of the year was Varun Chakravarthy. An architect whose cricket dreams were broken finally found fame with match winning performances. He was even selected for an international cap, but fitness issues kept him back.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann replaces Rinku Singh, who suffered a knee injury. Captain Eoin Morgan also suffered a split webbing in the India vs England series, but is hopeful to be ready by the first match.
Prasidh Krishna. An international cap can definitely raise confidence of a player. Will we see a Prasidh Krishna 2.0 in IPL 2021? With a lack of Indian fast bowlers in the squad, he has to carry the burden on his shoulders.
With their first three games in Chennai, don’t be surprised if KKR picks the experienced Harbhajan Singh–Shakib Al Hasan instead of pace duo of Pat Cummins-Lockie Ferguson. If Shakib can occupy a spot in the top order, then the finishing strength of KKR can finally showcase their abilities.
Can KKR manage to play both Russell and Ben Cutting, especially at Bangalore? With so many international stars in the line up, Ben Cutting might not make everybody’s foreign 4, but can hit the ball a long, long way.
Where Can Things Go Wrong For the Knight Riders?
Plain & Simple. Get the XI right, go to the qualifiers. Keep shuffling and create a ‘fluid middle order, ‘ and get stuck in the middle of the points table.
Maybe one way to go is to have different XIs per venue. Have a spin-filled lineup for Chennai (Pawan Negi, Varun, Kuldeep, Harbhajan, Shakib the options) and pack it with pace in Mumbai (Cummins, Lockie, Ben Cutting, Russell, Mavi, Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier the options).
The scheduling will benefit KKR this season. If they can capitalize on their first three games in Chennai, they will have 5 games at the Chinnaswamy at the backend. Opposition beware. Sixes galore with this lineup.
Kamlesh Nagarkoti to get a full season?
Shakib Al Hasan
Broken Cricket Dream
Dinesh Karthik, the finisher – Can he make India’s World Cup squad of 23? Or have we seen the last of DK in Indian clothing?
Kolkata Knight Riders Preview Predictions
What do you think of the Kolkata Knight Riders Preview? Your First XI? Will they make the IPL 2021 qualifiers?
Indian Premier League Auction 2021 – It is time for yet another iteration of the IPL.
The IPL held just last September provided joy to many amidst the pandemic, provided several life lessons, and had its share of Super Overs. Now, in the final season before the overhaul and big auction (may expand to 9 or 10 teams in 2022), a short auction was held last week.
The auction had its moments—Chris Morris, the most expensive player EVER, RCB splurging on lower order allrounders, and Sunrisers just present for the participation points (only bought 3 players).
Here is our review of Indian Premier League Auction 2021: The winners, the losers, early predictions, and expected starting XIs.
Here is a quick review of all the international players sold by country.
Afghanistan (Afg): Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Australia (Aus): Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Glenn Maxwell, Dan Christan, Riley Meredith, Nathan Coulter Nile, Jhye Richardson, Moises Henriques
Bangladesh (Ban): Shakib Al Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman
England (Eng): Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Dawid Malan, Liam Livingstone
New Zealand (NZ): Kyle Jamieson, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham
South Africa (SA): Chris Morris, Marco Jansen
West Indies (WI): Fabian Allen
Australia were the big gainers with 8 picks (even though the likes of Aaron Finch and Marcus Labuschagne did not find a team), while Sri Lanka had 0 picks. It seems that the era of West Indies T20 freelance monopoly is coming to an end. England is snatching this tag given their marvelous limited overs depth.
Indian Premier League Auction 2021: Auction Highlights, Starting XI, and Early Predictions
*Note: The prices are in Indian Rupees as in the auction (Conversion: $1 U.S. dollar = 73 Rupees)
*Teams highlighted in their respective jersey colors
Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
Indian Internationals: Cheteshwar Pujara (50 lac)
Indian Uncapped: Krishnappa Gowtham (9.25 crore), Harishankar Reddy (20 lac), Bhagath Verma (20 lac), C Hari Nishanth (20 lac)
Foreign Recruits: Moeen Ali – Eng (7 crore)
Verdict: Pujara finally gets an IPL deal while Gowtham & Moeen Ali can add the much needed zeal in the CSK lineup. Balanced bowling line up, local Chennai lads in the squad who lifted the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy, and experience in the batting. Final round for Dhoni, Bravo, Uthappa, and Tahir?
Early Prediction: Barely miss the top 4 due to net run rate (The irony)
Squad:Dwayne Bravo, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, R Sai Kishore, Cheteshwar Pujara, Narayan Jagadeesan, Karn Sharma, KM Asif, C Hari Nishanth, Harisankar Reddy, K Bhagath Varma
Delhi Capitals (DC)
Indian Internationals: Umesh Yadav (1 crore)
Indian Uncapped: Ripal Patel (20 lac), Vishnu Vinod (20 lac), Lukman Meriwala (20 lac), M Siddharth (20 lac)
Foreign Recruits: Steven Smith – Aus (2.2 crore), Tom Curran (5.25 crore), Sam Billings (2 crore) – Eng
Verdict: Good buys for the reserves with Umesh, Steve Smith, Tom Curran, and Billings (Smith most likely to warm the bench). Settled XI, great balance, but can they capture the big moments and maintain momentum?
Early Prediction: The 2020 finalists go one step further? Champions?
Indian Uncapped: Sheldon Jackson (20 lac), Vaibhav Arora (20 lac), Venkatesh Iyer (20 lac)
Foreign Recruits: Shakib Al Hasan – Ban (3.2 crore), Ben Cutting – Aus (75 lac)
Verdict: Shakib & Ben Cutting big steals for KKR, but not too sure about Harbhajan Singh & Pawan Negi? Envious finishing prowess, inexperienced Indian fast bowlers the concern, but the real question is—will Brendon McCullum’s notes produce the correct line-up?
Indian Uncapped: Yudhvir Singh (20 lac), Arjun Tendulkar (20 lac)
Foreign Recruits: Adam Milne (3.2 crore), Jimmy Neesham (50 lac) – NZ, Nathan Coulter-Nile (5 crore), Marco Jansen (20 lac) – SA
Verdict: Backups in the form of Chawla, Milne, Neesham & Zaheer Khan the mastermind behind the 20 year old left arm pacer, Marco Jansen. IPL 2021 is just an exercise to see how many different ways Mumbai Indians can come with to win the trophy.
Early Prediction: Just to change things a bit, they fail to qualify for the Top 4. Champions in the reverse direction (Who am I kidding?)
Foreign Recruits: Jhye Richardson – Aus (14 crore), Riley Meredith – Aus (8 crore), Dawid Malan – Eng (1.5 crore), Moises Henriques – Aus (4.2 crore), Fabian Allen – WI (75 lac)
Verdict: Dawid Malan, current word’s best T20 batsman, & Fabian Allen were quite the deal. Looking forward to Shahrukh Khan, the finisher, and hopefully Jalaj Saxena, the first class veteran. Definite contenders this time around. The change of name to PBKS to bring the luck?
Early Prediction: Top 4 Finish
Expected Starting XI
KL Rahul (C/WK), 2. Mayank Agarwal, 3. Dawid Malan/Chris Gayle, 4. Nicholas Pooran, 5. Deepak Hooda, 6. Shahrukh Khan, 7. Fabian Allen/ Moises Henriques, 8. Arshdeep Singh, 9. Chris Jordan/ Jhye Richardson, 10. Mohammad Shami, 11. Ravi Bishnoi
Foreign Recruits: Chris Morris – SA (16.25 crore), Mustafizur Rahman – Ban (1 crore), Liam Livingstone (75 lac)
Verdict: All weak points from IPL 2020 fixed. With Shivam Dube and Chris Morris, the double Rs may not have to rely on Tewatia magic alone. The foreign 4 pick themselves, but Miller, Livingstone, the Fizz, and Andrew Tye are T20 specialists themselves.
Early Prediction: Top 4 Finish…in the first half. Then momentum is lost, and they end up in the bottom two. The usual.
Foreign Recruits: Kyle Jamieson – NZ (15 crore), Glenn Maxwell – Aus (14.25 crore), Daniel Christian – Aus (4.8 crore)
Verdict: They won the Indian Premier League 2021 Auction battle—Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson, & Dan Christian. Finishing problems fixed. With basically the entire Indian bowling lineup returning from Australia’s success, promising uncapped openers, & the golden touch of Christian, RCB may finally cross the line.
Early Prediction: Finalists.
Expected Starting XI
1. Mohammed Azharudeen, 2. Devdutt Padikkal, 3. Virat Kohli (C), 4. AB de Villiers(WK), 5. Glenn Maxwell, 6. Daniel Christian, 7. Washington Sundar, 8. Kyle Jamieson/Daniel Sams, 9. Mohammed Siraj, 10. Navdeep Saini, 11. Yuzvendra Chahal
Since this is the final IPL before the big auction in 2022, this small auction was expected to have several players unsold.
Broken Dreams of IPL 2021 Auctions:
Hanuma Vihari—hero of Sydney. Unpicked in the first couple of rounds, his name was called again for the final auction round. Still unsold. Insult to injury. Literally. (The only prominent currently in the Indian setup to not have a deal since Pujara was picked).
Aaron Finch—one of the best T20I players of all-time just could not manage a consistent IPL season.
Shaun Marsh, an end of an era. Along with Shane Watson, was the bright overseas star. KXIP stalwart in the early years, Orange Cap of IPL 2008, but could not buy any buyers.
Alex Hales. Enough said.
IPL Auction 2021: Entire Unsold List
Foreign: Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Evin Lewis, Aaron Finch, Glenn Phillips, Alex Carey, Kusal Perera, Sheldon Cottrell, Adil Rashid, Ish Sodhi, Qais Ahmad, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rovman Powell, Shaun Marsh, Corey Anderson, Devon Conway, Darren Bravo, Rassie van der Dussen, Martin Guptill, Marnus Labuschagne, Oshane Thomas, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell McClenaghan, Jason Behrendorff, Naveen Ul Haq, Ben Dwarshuis, Thisara Perera, Ben McDermott, Matthew Wade, Sean Abbott, Josh Inglish, Scott Kuggeleijn, Wayne Parnell, Reece Topley, Chris Green, Isuru Udana, George Linda, Jack Wildermuth, Gerald Coetzee, Tim David
Umar Gul’s retirement evoked an emotional response from all around the world following his final match at the National T20 Cup. Here is our take on Umar Gul’s most memorable moments, his legacy, and what we can learn from him.
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If you love watching fast bowlers and stumps rattled, stay tuned. Several videos ahead! Watch till the end to listen to Gul in his own words.
Pakistan cricket is known for unearthing fast-bowling talents one after the other, especially left-arm quicks. Pakistan is world cricket’s pace bowling factory. Imran Khan and Sarfaraz Nawaz created a rich legacy.
Over the years, they have produced the intimidating Wasims, Wahabs, and Waqars, the breathtaking Shoaibs and Samis, and the gifted Asifs and Amirs. The list is endless. Recently, with the rise of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Naseem Shah, it never seems to stop.
Umar Gul, the architect of Pakistan’s 2009 T20 World Cup victory, is not even mentioned. That is exactly how Gul’s career panned—under the radar.
My favorite memory of Umar Gul though is from the 2009 T20 World Cup. It was just a great World Cup to watch – Netherlands upsetting England courtesy Stuart Broad, the Dilscoop mesmerizing spectators on the international stage, and a clinical Pakistan team.
Gul’s best performance came at a crucial Super 8 stage, when he picked 5 for 6 against New Zealand, reducing them from 73-4 to 99 all out.
He continued his form as Pakistan’s highest wicket-taker in the 2011 ODI World Cup and was a regular member of the international squad till 2013, when injuries began to halt his career. Unfortunately apart from a brief recall in 2016, Gul’s international career was over at the age of 32.
Gul’s legacy is forever etched in stone with the 2009 World T20 triumph, but his impact in cricket is much more.
He taught the world how to bowl in T20 cricket.
These days, T20 leagues invest in “death-overs specialists” with the likes of Andrew Tye, Jasprit Bumrah, Chris Morris, and Shaheen Afridi, but this would not have been possible without Umar Gul’s contribution. He practically created that spot.
Although death bowling was his focal point, Gul was more than just yorkers.
He had the skills as a proper line and length pace Test bowler but evolved his art with reverse swing, bouncers, and most importantly, change of pace slower deliveries, which was uncommon at that time.
As always, Umar Gul would adapt. New situation, new environment, new teammates. Mentorship has been one of his great characteristics throughout his career.
He partnered with the likes of Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, and Mohammad Irfan to transition to another era. In the dry tracks of UAE, they would find new tricks to the fast bowling trade, bringing life out of these pitches.
He was not the fastest of the Pakistani bowlers, nor could he swing it like Asif, but he made sure to reinvent himself when the time was required. He was a shrewd and thinking cricketer. Always one step ahead of the batsman. Having a variety of skills is one aspect. Utilizing the skill at the right moment and varying it effectively—now that is what makes him great.
Animated on the field and quiet off the field, he did his duty. He changed cricket and inspired millions of budding cricketers around the world, mentoring youngsters in the domestic team even to the last day.
We can all learn from Umar Gul and apply these traits in our daily life as well. Change is the only constant in life, and we should learn to adjust accordingly. If we focus on the process and continue to improve our skills, there is no reason why we cannot compete with the best in the world.
Life will throw several challenges at you. You may get injured, have a bad day at the office, go through emotional turbulence, but do not worry.
Hang in there and just keep swimming as Umar Gul did.
What will I miss? Personally, I just adored Umar Gul’s action. It was fluent, uncomplicated, had a slight stop, but was straight to the point.
He was truly a magician.
Thank you, Umar Gul. Have a happy and healthy retirement.
Umar Gul in his Own Words
The best way to end this journey is Umar Gul in his own words. A wonderful send-off to a champion bloke. Listen below.
Well, well, well, the IPL is here. It is that time of the year. Okay not quite, 2020 is weird. Anyway, six months delayed, but IPL-13 is finally here.
Cricket has restarted and England has done their part in hosting West Indies, Pakistan, and Australia. Now it is time to jump ship across to the U.A.E. for the Indian Premier League.
ESPNCricinfo recently did a series on all-time IPL XI teams. Although we agree on some players, I have a different take on most teams. So for the next few days, we will be doing IPL All-Time XI, 2 teams each day.
Why not start with the teams that inspired the IPL craze? Yes, I am talking about the winners of the 1st IPL, Rajasthan Royals, and Kolkata Knight Riders for whom Brendon McCullum blazed 158 in the first game of the IPL.
All-Time XI – Rules
First, we will first give you a chance to vote on who you think should be in the All-Time XI and then display our All-Time XI.
Limit to 11 players per team (you can play around with the balance of the team)
Maximum of 4 foreign players in the XI
Needs to be able to field a team (a wicket-keeper and 5 bowling options at least)
Note, with major auctions every three years, several players may be in multiple All-Time XI teams.