Just few days remain for the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to get under way with cricket’s biggest stars set to battle it out for their respective franchises.
The IPL has always attracted the biggest names from the international and Indian domestic circuit and the 2019 edition promises to be no different.
Like always, there will be a few players who will be making their maiden IPL bow. Here, we look at the five most promising IPL debutants to watch out for.
MITCHELL SANTNER – CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
The New Zealand all-rounder was set to make his IPL debut last season but an untimely knee injury dashed his hopes at the last minute.
One of the permanent fixtures in New Zealand’s limited-overs setup, Santner can be a real asset on Indian pitches with his left-arm orthodox spin and handy batting abilities.
The Kiwi all-rounder has a career T20 economy-rate of just over seven runs an over and is a bonafide wicket-taking option. That Chennai opted to retain him for the upcoming edition despite him missing the entire 2018 season tells you all you need to know about the franchise’s immense faith in the southpaw.
JONNY BAIRSTOW – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
It is surprising that it has taken IPL franchises this long to cast their eyes towards Jonny Bairstow. The England batsman is one of the most fearsome and consistent openers going around in limited-overs cricket and will be a welcome addition to the IPL.
It is the Sunrisers who have decided to take up the Englishman’s services and the right-hander should be able to provide stability at the top of the order. With a T20I batting strike-rate of over 130, Bairstow will definitely be one of the most exciting batsmen to look forward to in the upcoming edition.
SAM CURRAN – KINGS XI PUNJAB
Making his IPL bow along with Bairstow this season will be his England compatriot Sam Curran. The all-rounder burst into prominence with his match-winning displays for England in the Test series against India last year.
Curran’s ability to swing the ball prodigiously into the right-handers and his excellent batting down the order won him many admirers all over the world, not least the IPL franchises.
In the end it was Kings XI who blew out the other franchises and made Curran the most expensive purchase of the 2019 IPL auctions. Whether the young all-rounder can be as effective on subcontinent conditions remains to be seen but his progress will be exciting to watch nevertheless.
SHIMRON HETMYER – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
One of the biggest draws in the IPL auction was Shimron Hetmyer and it was Royal Challengers Bangalore who got their hands on the West Indies dasher.
The 22-year-old has been rapidly making a name for himself as one of the most explosive batsmen in the shorter formats of the game and gave an excellent account of himself during Windies’ tour of India last year.
The left-handed batsman has a career T20 strike-rate of over 140 and is equally brutal against both pacers and spinners. Hetmyer could just be the missing spark Bangalore need in their quest for a maiden IPL title after years of underachievement.
ASHTON TURNER – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
Ashton Turner was largely an unheralded name at the time of the IPL auction and not many eyebrows were raised when Rajasthan Royals secured his services. However, just months later, it looks like the Royals have hit the bullseye with Turner’s capture.
The Aussie all-rounder took the cricketing world by storm in the recent series against India when he smashed an unbeaten 84 off just 43 deliveries to help his side win the fourth ODI.
It was just the second ODI appearance for Turner, who has created a reputation for himself as one of the cleanest hitters in the Big Bash League (BBL). India’s formidable bowling attack looked helpless against Turner’s astonishing hitting powers and his performance over the series will have the rest of the IPL franchises on guard when they take on Rajasthan.
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