D'Arcy Short, Shubman Gill and the other IPL debutants to watch out for

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Short is one of the most exciting talents in T20 cricket.

The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway in less than two days when Mumbai Indians take on Chennai Super Kings in the tournament opener on April 7.

Over the years, a host of international and Indian stars have taken the IPL by storm in their debut seasons. This season too, there will be no shortage of the most exciting of talents in the cricketing world undertaking their IPL baptism.

Here, we look at 10 such players worth keeping an eye on.

SANDEEP LAMICHHANE (DELHI DAREDEVILS)

The teenager is the first Nepalese cricketer to win an IPL contract and will be raring to make an impact for the Delhi Daredevils. The 17-year-old leg-spin prodigy has played a big hand in Nepal’s meteoric rise in the past two years, culminating with the attainment of a maiden ODI status for the landlocked nation.

Lamichhane will be the first Nepalese to play in the IPL.

Lamichhane will be the first Nepalese to play in the IPL.

MUJEEB ZADRAN (KINGS XI PUNJAB)

There is a reason Kings XI Punjab have splashed the big bucks on the Afghanistan spinner who has only recently turned 17. Having impressed in the ICC World Cup 2019 qualifiers, Zardan can bowl it all, be it off-spin, leg-spin or the googlies. Played a big part in Afghanistan’s march to the semi-final of the ICC U19 World Cup, too.

The Afghan teenager has all the variations possible in his bowling.

The Afghan teenager has all the variations possible in his bowling.

EVIN LEWIS (MUMBAI INDIANS)

The West Indies batsman has developed quite a reputation in T20 cricket already since making his international debut in 2016. The left-hander has cracked two T20I tons in only 14 matches and will line up for the Mumbai Indians for his IPL bow. As explosive a batsman as they come, Lewis comes into the tournament in fine knick.

The West Indies batsman is one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball.

The West Indies batsman is one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball.

D’ARCY SHORT (RAJASTHAN ROYALS)

The Aussie opener’s rapid rise in the past few months has been astonishing. He smashed the record for the most runs in a single Big Bash League (BBL) season by a country mile after scoring 572 runs for the Hobart Hurricanes. Has since made his T20 debut for Australia and blended in seamlessly.

Short set a new BBL record for most runs in the recently concluded season.

Short set a new BBL record for most runs in the recently concluded season.

HEINRICH KLAASEN (RAJASTHAN ROYALS)

The South African wicket-keeper batsman was an unheard of quantity before India toured the country recently. There, he toyed with India’s spinners, especially Yuzvendra Chahal, as he showed his T20 credentials with some exhilarating and and sometimes outrageous shot-making. That Royals decided to replace a batsman of Steve Smith’s pedigree with him shows the kind of impact Klaasen has already created.

Klaasen punished Chahal heavily in the recent limited-overs clashes.

Klaasen punished Chahal heavily in the recent limited-overs clashes.

MARK WOOD (CHENNAI SUPER KINGS)

The England pacer does not have a wealth of T20 cricket experience but his pedigree cannot be doubted. The Englishman’s raw pace makes him a dangerous customer on any track. Can comfortably clock 140kph on a regular basis and will be vital addition to MS Dhoni and his men.

The English speedster will be baking on his raw pace.

The English speedster will be banking on his raw pace.

JOFRA ARCHER (RAJASTHAN ROYALS)

Archer is another West Indies-born cricketer who has made rapid strides in T20 cricket of late. A huge hit in the recent BBL for Hobart Hurricanes, the all-rounder is one of the most sought after talents going around in T20 cricket currently. He is electric on the field and his skiddy fast-bowling has been a nightmare for BBL batsmen.

Archer is an excellent bowler and fielder in the format.

Archer is an excellent bowler and fielder in the format.

SHUBMAN GILL (KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS)

The teenager was picked up by the Kolkata franchise while he was lighting it up at the ICC U-19 World Cup in New Zealand. Gill finished as the player of the series, scoring a brilliant ton against Pakistan in the semi-final as India were crowned champions. He registered a first-class hundred in only his second Ranji Trophy match for Punjab last year.

Gill was the player of the tournament in the recent ICC U19 World Cup.

Gill was the player of the tournament in the recent ICC U19 World Cup.

KAMLESH NAGARKOTI (KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS)

Another Indian youngster who impressed in the U19 World Cup win, Kamlesh Nagarkoti has raw pace in abundance. He has fans back in India relishing the prospect of his senior debut already after clocking regularly in excess of 140kph in the World Cup where he picked up nine wickets. The 18-year-old had become the first Rajasthan player to claim a List A hat-trick last year.

Nagarkoti has grabbed eyeballs with his pace.

Nagarkoti has grabbed eyeballs with his pace.

PRITHVI SHAW (DELHI DAREDEVILS)

The skipper of India U19s at the World Cup, Shaw has been creating waves since he was 14 when he scored a mammoth 546 runs in a minor-cricket match in Mumbai. He has made an equally astonishing start to his senior career, scoring a ton for Mumbai on his Ranji debut before breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record to become the youngest century-maker (17) on his Duleep Trophy debut.

Shaw has made rapid strides in domestic cricket at a very young age.

Shaw has made rapid strides in domestic cricket at a very young age.

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Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and other stars in team-by-team guide to IPL 2018

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Strong squad: Mumbai Indians

It’s that time of the year when international cricket takes a break and they best players on the planet travel to India for some high-octane T20 cricket for a period of nearly two months.

With the Indian Premier League returning on Saturday, we analyse each of eight squads and give our prediction of where they will finish in the tournament.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Captain: MS Dhoni

Coach: Stephen Fleming

Best result: Champions (2010 and 2011)

Squad: MS Dhoni (c), Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Faf Du Plessis, Mark Wood, Sam Billings, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Asif K M, N Jagadeesan, Kanishk Seth, Monu Singh, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Chaitanya Bishnoi

Strength: With Dhoni, Jadeja and Raina back in the mix, CSK make an emotional comeback after a two-year suspension. Du Plessis, Bravo and Watson provide stability. Have a superb spin attack in Harbhajan and Tahir.

Weakness: The only area they could have a problem is not having an experienced pace attack meaning the spinners will need to step up.

Prediction: Finalists

MS Dhoni is back for Chennai Super Kings

MS Dhoni is back for Chennai Super Kings.

DELHI DAREDEVILS

Captain: Gautam Gambhir

Coach: Ricky Ponting

Best result: Third (2009 and 2012)

Squad: Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Glenn Maxwell, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Shami, Gautam Gambhir (c), Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Daniel Christian, Jason Roy, Naman Ojha, Prithvi Shaw, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Avesh Khan, Abhishek Sharma, Jayant Yadav, Harshal Patel, Manjot Kalra, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sayan Ghosh

Strength: Roping in two-time winner Gambhir as captain is a smart move for a squad that now has considerable batting strength with Roy, Maxwell and Munro in their ranks. Bowling look impressive with Boult and Shami leading the pace attack, while Nepal leg-spinner Lamichhane has the potential to make a big impact.

WeaknessHave a tendency to lose the plot if things are not going their way. Lack of success over a decade means team can crack under pressure.

Prediction: League stage

KINGS XI PUNJAB

Captain: Ravichandran Ashwin

Coach: Brad Hodge

Best result: Runners-up (2014)

Squad: Ravichandran Ashwin (c), KL Rahul, Andrew Tye, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Zadran, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, David Miller, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Singh Sran, Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Ben Dwarshuis, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Manzoor Dar, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar

Strength: Have a number of experienced players. Are being led by a bowler, which is pretty rare in cricket. Serious hitting power in Finch and Miller. Exciting young Afghanistan spinner Zadran comes into the tournament in top form.

Weakness: Yuvraj and Gayle are well past their prime. Take Finch and Miller out of the equation and batting looks thin. Apart from Tye and the captain, bowling looks lightweight.

Prediction: League stage

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Captain: Dinesh Karthik

Coach: Jacques Kallis

Best result: Champions (2012 and 2014)

Squad: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Vijay Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran

Strength: Have the most destructive batsman in the world in their ranks – Lynn. However, his fitness will remain a concern. Possess an outstanding spin attack of Narine, Chawla and Yadav. The return of Russell a massive boost.

Weakness: Mitchell Starc has pulled out which has taken the sting out of their attack. Narine’s action has been reported so will have to perform under the spotlight.

Prediction: League stage

MUMBAI INDIANS

Captain: Rohit Sharma

Coach: Mahela Jayawardene

Best result: Champions (2013, 2015 and 2017)

Squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan

Strength: Have exceptional line-up with incredible options. Rohit and Lewis at the top, Duminy and Hardik in the middle and Bumrah and Rahman with the ball make for an incredible team.

Weakness: Lack experience in the spin department, which can maker or break a team’s campaign.

Prediction: Champions

RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Captain: Ajinkya Rahane

Coach: Paddy Upton

Best result: Champions (2008)

Squad: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror, Heinrich Klassen

Strength: The services of Steven Smith will be missed but have a proven match-winners in Stokes and Buttler. Also have a number of impressive young stars in Archer and Short.

Weakness: Apart from Rahane, not a single first-choice Indian player in the team. Hardly any recognised spinner.

Prediction: League stage

 ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Captain: Virat Kohli

Coach: Daniel Vettori

Best result: Runners-up (2009 and 2011)

Squad:  Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton De Kock, Mohammed Siraj, Colin De Grandhomme, M. Ashwin, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Pavan Deshpande, Anirudha Ashok Joshi, Corey Anderson

Strength: As is the case almost every year, Bangalore have a brilliant line-up with immense balance. A very good mix of all-rounders in Woakes, Moeen, Anderson and Sundar.

Weaknesses: All good pace bowling options are overseas players which puts the team in a tough position as De Villiers and De Kock simply have to play. McCullum losing his edge and Moeen enduring a horrid time.

Prediction: Play-offs

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Captain: Kane Williamson

Coach: Tom Moody

Best result: Champions 2016

Squad: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Rashid Khan, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddarth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Carlos Brathwaite, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Jordan, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Ricky Bhui, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales

Strength: Despite the absence of David Warner, look strong. Williamson and Shakib provide a lot of solidity. In Bhuvneshwar and Rashid, have the best T20 bowlers in the world.

Weakness: With IPL icon Warner out, batting looks a bit thin. Pressure will be on Dhawan and Hales to deliver at the top.

Prediction: Play-offs

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Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga and other top bowlers in IPL history

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Malinga and Harbhajan have etched their names into IPL history.

The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League is all set to get underway on Saturday with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings.

Over the course of a decade, there have been plenty of performers, both international and domestic, who have lit up the tournament with bat and ball.

Here, we look at the top five bowlers in the competition’s 10-year-old history.

5. DWAYNE BRAVO

MATCHES: 106

WICKETS: 122

AVERAGE: 22.58

ECONOMY: 8.19

One of biggest stars of T20 cricket over the last few years, Dwayne Bravo has been a highly sought after name year after year in the IPL. The West Indies all-rounder’s array of slower deliveries made him a huge hit.

His best season with the ball in the IPL came in 2013 when he ended up as the highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 32 scalps at an astounding average of 15.53 to win the ‘Purple Cap’.

He won that accolade for a second time in 2015 where he picked up 26 wickets. Bravo is one of only two bowlers in IPL history to have ended up as the top wicket-taker in two different editions.

Bravo's subtle variations have been a huge hit over the years.

Bravo’s subtle variations have been a huge hit over the years.

4. PIYUSH CHAWLA

MATCHES: 129

WICKETS: 126

AVERAGE: 25.88

ECONOMY: 7.63

Once a big part of India’s limited-overs setup, Piyush Chawla has been out of the limelight for some time now. When it comes to the IPL though, the leg-spinner has been one of the most consistent performers.

A regular since 2008, Chawla has managed to pick up at least 10 wickets in all 10 editions of the tournament bar one in 2017. With spinners thriving in the IPL, Chawla has been of the more successful ones.

Upon moving to Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014, Chawla played a part in their title-winning campaign, picking up 14 wickets at an average of 21.64. He will once again line up for the Kolkata based franchise this year.

Chawla has been a consistent wicket-taking option over the years.

Chawla has been a consistent wicket-taking option over the years.

3. HARBHAJAN SINGH

MATCHES: 136

WICKETS: 127

AVERAGE: 26.65

ECONOMY: 6.95

Like Chawla, Harbhajan Singh might not be in contention for international cricket these days but that has not stopped him from becoming a major force for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL.

Having played all 10 seasons so far for the Mumbai franchise, Harbhajan’s main asset has been his economy-rate of under seven which is like gold dust in the format.

While he had a quiet IPL personally as Mumbai Indians lifted the trophy last year, Harbhajan’s contributions in their previous two titles are immense. The 37-year-old off-spinner picked up 24 and 18 wickets in the 2013 and 2015 title wins for the franchise respectively. He will play for Chennai this year.

Harbhajan'd economy-rate has been to die for.

Harbhajan’s economy-rate has been to die for.

2. AMIT MISHRA

MATCHES: 126

WICKETS: 134

AVERAGE: 24.33

ECONOMY: 7.41

The second leg-spinner in the list and by far the most successful one, Amit Mishra’s credentials in the IPL cannot be doubted.

The 35-year-old became the first player in IPL history to claim three hat-tricks when he achieved that feat playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad against the Pune Warriors in 2013. That was also his best season personally in the competition as he ended up with 21 wickets.

He was at his most economical in the first four editions, not giving away more than seven run per over in any of them. His economy-rate has since then climbed steadily but his wicket-taking abilities remain.

Mishra is the only bowler to claim three IPL hat-tricks.

Mishra is the only bowler to claim three IPL hat-tricks.

1. LASITH MALINGA

MATCHES: 110

WICKETS: 151

AVERAGE: 19.01

ECONOMY: 6.86

If there was ever an award for the best bowler the IPL history, Lasith Malinga would win it hands down. He has been, by some distance, the most effective bowler when it comes to taking wickets or stopping the run-flow.

Now appointed as the bowling mentor for Mumbai Indians, the Sri Lankan pacer had an astounding nine-year stay with the franchise as a player. He was awarded the Purple Cap in 2011 after picking up 28 wickets in the tournament. Having played his part in three title-winning campaigns for the franchise, Malinga remains a huge fan-favourite at Mumbai.

His value in the IPL can be summed up by the fact that his return of 11 wickets in last year’s edition was his poorest in his eight years in the league.

Malinga has been the most successful bowler by far in IPL history.

Malinga is the most successful bowler in IPL history.

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