1) Delhi Daredevils
Without doubt, one of the best T-20 teams on paper as well as performance. Delhi Daredevils will make any one sweat with jealousy as not many sides are lucky to have world class T-20 players such as the Delhi opening duo of Virender Sehwag and captain Gautam Gambhir, Australia’s exciting talent David Warner, Moises Henriques, the Australian all-rounder who was bought from the Kolkata Knight Riders outside auction this season, AB de Villiers, South Africa’s most reliable batsman and an excellent fielder in the 30-yard circle.
And yes, who will forget the revolutionary Sri Lankan batsman who by far is the best player of 2009 in the eyes of many. The man who invented the new shot over the wicketkeepers head. He is none other than Sri Lanka’s Tillakratne Dilshan.
All the above players have a certain amount of experience in international cricket. However, the young players too are really a talented lot. Dinesh Karthik is still in the infant stages of developing himself in the Indian team, yet the wicket-keeper batsman is known to be a good finisher.
He proved his worth in tough conditions in South Africa. The Delhi lads Rajat Bhatia, Amit Mishra, the leg-spinner who has made a name for himself in the Indian Test team, Ashish Nehra who is experienced but has lost out on a lot of cricket due to injuries but can be a good partner to Dirk Nannes when it comes to opening the bowling. If Dilshan has taken the world by storm thanks to his batting, Nannes has done the same with bowling. He is the perfect replacement for Glenn McGrath, whose contract has been bought out this season. Pradeep Sangwan and Avishkar Salvi add to the bowling depth of the team further.
However, the question is whether Owais Shah and Manoj Tiwary deserve to be removed from the Delhi roster and sold to Kolkata, when Delhi need a good bench strength in batting. Will McGrath’s buy-out cost Delhi? Will Gambhir’s captaincy inspire Delhi in the long-run, which didn’t do the team any good in the Champions League 2009? Well, time will tell.
2) Royal Challengers Bangalore
The team owned by Vijay Mallya flopped in the first season by finishing second-last. However, events took a u-turn and luck started going their way and they finished second in the tournament! Bangalore won many fans in South Africa, but they are back in India. Will pressure take a toll on the team?
Well, not really when it’s known that Anil Kumble is the skipper of the team. He is a true fighter as it is known how he won consecutive matches last season as the then new skipper of the team when Kevin Pietersen had to leave half-way from the tournament and left Bangalore in disarray as he was out of form too with the bat. They have vast experience in players such as Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher, the two South African stalwarts.
Bangalore perhaps has one of the best pool of young players amongst all the 8 teams. Manish Pandey was the find of Indian cricket last season, Robin Uthappa is a true match winner, Virat Kohli who is India’s new prodigy with the bat and on the field, R Vinay Kumar is a potential talent, A Mithun could make his debut for the team after a good domestic season, Eoin Morgan, England’s future who was picked in the auction and Ashok Menaria, the Indian U-19 captain.
However, Bangalore’s chances look grim due to injuries sustained by Kiwi players such as Ross Taylor and Jesse Ryder. With no Kevin Pietersen available, Bangalore chances take a dip in the pool as it remains to be seen whether their performance last year was a fluke.
3) Deccan Chargers
They were the champions of the IPL last season. Who would write them off this time? The team gave a fitting reply to its critics who said that they don’t deserve to play in the tournament when they finished at the bottom in the first season. But an inspirational comeback was so good for cricket that it showed that the IPL is here to stay due to its excellent quality of cricket.
Unlike Bangalore, Deccan is even more strengthened despite the fact that the Hyderabad franchisee was knocked out in the first round of the Champions League 2009 in India. And a humiliatng fact is that they haven’t won a single match at home.
The fact that Adam Gilchrist is like an all-rounder who is captain, wicketkeeper and opens the batting is not just motivating, but also it leaves Deccan with several choices in the team composition, especially when it comes to the middle order. Herschelle Gibbs was missed in the Champions League and his presence this time will boost the team.
VVS Laxman is a crowd favourite in any part of India and his batting is a treat to watch even if it is a T-20 tournament. With Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Scott Styris and the young brigade of RP Singh, the highest wicket-taker last season, Ryan Harris, Pragyan Ojha as well as T Suman can perform in India too.
Can’t we fancy Deccan as champions again? Well, we could.
Thus the IPL promises to be a thriller and even better than the first two seasons as more players means more excitement and better quality of cricket, which is important.
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