The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League was halted midway in May due to the rising Covid-19 cases in the country. It is all set to resume from September, but the edition is likely to proceed without the Australian and England players, due to their packed schedule. However, New Zealand players are likely to be available for the tournament.
The reported absence of English and the Australian players might mean more chances to the seven Kiwi players — a few of whom did not get an opportunity in the first half of the IPL this year.
We take a look at the seven cricketers and their chances of slotting into their respective IPL team’s first XI.
Trent Boult (Mumbai Indians)
The speedster was always going to be a certainty in the XI despite the availability of the Australians. Boult, along with Jasprit Bumrah, has been the wrecker-in-chief for the franchise, with Boult’s early swing troubling batters in the powerplay overs. Traded from Delhi Capitals, Boult has been a revelation for the defending champions, picking up 33 wickets in just 22 matches since IPL 2020.
He has the best figures in the powerplay overs — picking up 18 wickets at a strike-rate of 17.33. Moreover, he has sent down a whopping 181 dots in this interim. Even if Nathan Coulter-Nile was available, Boult would have made the cut.
Kyle Jamieson (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Like Boult, Jamieson is a certain starter in the XI for RCB, especially after his heroics in the World Test Championship final, (which RCB skipper Virat Kohli is not forgetting anytime soon!) The speedster was picked up for a whopping INR 15 crore ahead of the 2021 season and left his mark with nine wickets in seven games. He can also contribute with the bat lower down the order and would have been certain to make the XI, irrespective of the presence of Glenn Maxwell or Daniel Christian.
Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Though Williamson has reinvented himself as a T20 batsman, the Sunrisers Hyderabad franchise would often bench him, preferring to go in with Jonny Bairstow at the top instead. The Kiwi player was handed the captaincy prior to the suspension of the IPL, which would have made him certain to make the XI once the tournament resumed. However, SRH have plenty of problems nonetheless — if the Australians and the Englishmen are absent, the franchise will be without the services of David Warner, Jason Roy, and Jonny Bairstow. Williamson, thus, will have plenty on his shoulders.
Lockie Ferguson (Kolkata Knight Riders)
With the tactic of playing two overseas pacers bringing great success to a number of franchises of late, it was expected that KKR would go in with Pat Cummins and Lockie Ferguson in IPL 2021. However, the franchise instead opted for only Cummins in their XI, which adversely affected their bowling strength. In Cummins’ potential absence, Ferguson is a certainty to make the XI, and he would be aiming to replicate his showing from last year.
Jimmy Neesham (Mumbai Indians)
Neesham is possibly the only Kiwi player who might not be a regular once the IPL resumes. The all-rounder was picked by a franchise that believes in backing their players, and with the middle order already packed with big-hitters, Neesham might have to warm the bench. Mumbai also does not have many Australians or Englishmen in their squad — and the ones present are regulars — which means Neesham might have to continue warming the benches.
Tim Seifert (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The wicketkeeper has a strong chance of making his IPL debut as KKR are set to be without skipper Eoin Morgan for the remainder of the season. The Englishman’s absence leaves a gaping hole in the middle-order, which can be solved with Seifert batting at the top, alongside Shubman Gill, with Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi following. KKR also struggled with their run-scoring and strike-rate in the powerplay overs, and the presence of Seifert at the top — who has a T20I strike-rate of over 133, could go a long way in giving the team an aggressive start.
Finn Allen (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The youngster impressed in the Super Smash earlier this year and was bought by the franchise as a replacement for Josh Phillipe. The Kiwi star could make the cut if Glenn Maxwell is absent as the side does not have another overseas power-hitter, who could take his spot. Allen, however, might be a better fit opening the innings, forcing Virat Kohli down at three with AB de Villiers to follow, at four.
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