IPL 2019: West Indies' Chris Gayle, Afghanistan's Rashid Khan and other top foreign stars

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Chris Gayle will turn out for Kings XI Punjab.

The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is almost upon us with the BCCI’s franchise T20 league set to get under way on March 23.

As always, the IPL has managed to attract the cream of international cricket with players of 10 different nationalities set to descend upon Indian soil.

Here, we have compiled a list of the top star from each of the 10 countries.

Australia – David Warner

The all-time leading overseas run-scorer returns to the competition after missing out on the 2018 edition due to the ball-tampering controversy.

The left-handed opener is a massive fan favourite at Sunrisers Hyderabad after leading the side to the 2016 title and will be key once again this season, especially with the departure of Shikhar Dhawan.

With the IPL serving as his preparation board for the 2019 World Cup, expect Warner to create a bang for the right reasons in the tournament.

India – Virat Kohli

The poster boy of the IPL and Indian cricket, Kohli will once again look to break Royal Challengers Bangalore’s title drought after umpteen years of heartbreak.

The Bangalore skipper is the second highest run-scorer in the competition behind only Suresh Raina and will be looking to become the first man to breach the 5,000-run mark when his side take on Chennai Super Kings on March 23.

Kohli will look to end RCB's title wait.

Kohli will look to end RCB’s title wait.

South Africa – AB de Villiers

He might have hung up his South Africa cricket boots, but AB de Villiers remains one of the biggest international draws in the competition.

His partnership with Kohli has been sensational at times for Royal Challengers Bangalore and why the franchise hasn’t been able to win a title yet despite their immense riches of talent remains one of the competition’s biggest mysteries.

Afghanistan – Rashid Khan

As many as three Afghanistan players will be on show in the IPL in what is a testament to the incredible rise of the side in international cricket. Of them, Rashid Khan is the biggest star with the leg-spinner no longer a stranger to the competition.

Ranked No1 with the ball in the T20 format, Rashid has done the business in every franchise league he has participated in across the globe.

Rashid Khan is the biggest name in Afghanistan cricket.

Rashid Khan is the biggest name in Afghanistan cricket.

Bangladesh – Shakib Al Hasan

The star all-rounder is the only Bangladesh player in the fray this year in the IPL and is expected to miss the early stages of the tournament due to an injury.

Shakib, however, has been a consisted performer over the years in the IPL and has the ability to change the game with both bat and ball.

West Indies – Chris Gayle

No other nationality apart from India is as heavily represented in the IPL than the West Indies with as many as 13 players from the Caribbean set to participate.

The biggest draw of them remains ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle, who comes into the competition on the back of a sensational ODI series against England where he amassed 424 runs in four matches and tonked a total of 39 sixes.

New Zealand – Kane Williamson

The Kiwis have a fairly strong contingent (11) as well in the IPL this year with skipper Kane Williamson the headline act once again.

His T20 prowess was once doubted, but Williamson changed that perception completely last year when he admirably led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the play-offs with some astute captaincy and excellent batting at the top.

Kane Williamson was excellent for Hyderabad in 2018.

Kane Williamson was excellent for Hyderabad in 2018.

England – Jos Buttler

World No1 ODI side England have nine players including Jofra Archer in the fray for the IPL this year with Sam Curran ending as the most expensive overseas purchase in the auction.

There is no shortage of star power in the England contingent, but Jos Buttler should be the man to watch after the brilliant form he has been in across all formats.

Buttler was sensational in the 2018 edition after being promoted to open the innings for Rajasthan Royals and he will be looking to take apart bowling attacks once again this year.

Nepal – Sandeep Lamichhane

That Nepal have representation in the IPL is a commendable and the country has their teenage sensation Sandeep Lamichhane to thank for that.

Now in his second year with Delhi Capitals, the leg-spinner will be looking to make a splash after impressing in the closing stages of the 2018 edition. Since then, Lamichhane has turned heads in all the major T20 franchise leagues around the world and he will be desperate to make his mark now in the IPL.

Lamichhane has put Nepal on the map.

Lamichhane has put Nepal on the map.

Sri Lanka – Lasith Malinga

There is surprisingly only one Sri Lankan in the IPL this year and it is a man who performed the role of a bowling mentor in the 2018 edition.

Lasith Malinga is the all-time leading wicket-taker in the competition (154) and is back as a player once again for the Mumbai Indians. His career seemed to be all but over last year but the veteran has come bouncing back and is now the skipper of the Sri Lanka ODI side.

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