Eighteen IPL players have already taken the field in Trinidad in the first two days of the CPL, which is good news for the IPL franchises. They have had little flexibility in terms of getting their players ready for a high-intensity tournament like the IPL because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and will probably rate match practice higher than under a month’s worth of nets. Here’s a look at the IPL players and franchises who might most benefit from the CPL.
Who are the key players getting games in CPL?
If you are Chennai Super Kings, you’re already thrilled because Mitchell Santner has got runs and bowled a tight spell, Dwayne Bravo has sealed a nervy chase with the bat and Imran Tahir is in the wickets. In fact, there are few players who have shown up so far who wouldn’t be first-choice overseas picks for their IPL teams. Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders), Kieron Pollard (Mumbai Indians), Andre Russell (KKR), Nicholas Pooran (Kings XI Punjab) and Rashid Khan (Sunrisers Hyderabad) are all core players for their respective teams.
Even players like Oshane Thomas (Rajasthan Royals), Keemo Paul (Delhi Capitals), Mohammad Nabi (Sunrisers), Shimron Hetmyer (Capitals) and Mujeeb ur Rahman (Kings XI), who may not normally play all games in a season, could end up playing crucial roles in the beginning of the IPL. This could be the result of teams building strategies around the various isolation norms for players who will arrive later than others. All of them will have game time during the CPL.
Which franchises will be affected most?
The roadblocks for player preparation is primarily around two issues right now: first, the South African players may only arrive in the UAE in September, at least a week after most franchises get there. Second, the England-Australia series is scheduled to end only three days before the IPL begins, so players coming from there will not be immediately available in the IPL because of the quarantine protocols in place.
The teams that will be most affected by these are the Royal Challengers Bangalore (AB de Villiers, Chris Morris, Dale Steyn, Josh Philippe, Aaron Finch, Kane Richardson and maybe Moeen Ali), the Royals (Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes), Sunrisers (David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Mitchell Marsh) and the Super Kings (Faf du Plessis and Lungi Ngidi). The Royal Challengers and the Royals will have the biggest problems in terms of core structure, and between them they only have one representative in the CPL – Thomas (Royals).
On the other hand, there are IPL teams benefitting from their players participating in the CPL: the Super Kings have three key names getting games in Trinidad and the Sunrisers also have Rashid and Nabi playing the CPL, and would have had Fabian Allen too if he hadn’t missed a flight to miss the tournament. Alongside the Kolkata Knight Riders, who will probably have Narine and Russell match-fit before the IPL, these two teams will probably benefit the most. Kings XI will also be encouraged with bowlers Mujeeb and Sheldon Cottrell getting game time.
An IPL for overseas spinners?
Eight IPL-tied spinners have played in the CPL so far. Given that matches are going to be restricted to two venues in Trinidad, the pitches and conditions could soon favour the spinners as the tournament progresses. It is too early to say that the IPL might go the same way but historically, pitches in the UAE too have assisted slow bowling. Bowlers like Nabi, Sandeep Lamichhane (Capitals) and Chris Green (KKR) could well make cases for themselves to be picked regularly through the upcoming IPL, either alongside or in place of Indian bowlers who have not played since March.