Historically, West Indies players have always done well in the world’s biggest T20 extravaganza – the Indian Premier League.
And this year, it should be no different; they enter the IPL with lots of expectations and promise.
However, the performances by some of the Windies players at the start of the competition is left wanting.
Albeit, the saying, “It’s not how you start that’s important, but how you finish!” rings true!
The Windies performances will depend on team combinations, roles, and ability to adapt to unfamiliar positions.
The role of West Indies players in respective teams will vary accordingly:
- Kings XI Punjab:
The Kings has three West Indies players for three distinct roles.
Chris “Universe Boss” Gayle has been retained by Kings this year.
He is yet to play a game and must be champing at the bit. His role will be to give the team a head-start to allow his fellow opener and skipper KL Rahul to bat long throughout the innings.
Then, there is Nicholas Pooran in the team who can give stability to the tentative middle order.
He can play the anchor role for his team by rotating strikes and keeping the scoreboard running. At the same time, he has the ability to switch gears at any stage of the match.
Fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell will be lethal with the ball as the tournament progresses. His spell with the new ball will be crucial for the team.
- Kolkata Knight Riders:
The Kolkata Knight Riders has two of the best West Indies players in their line-up.
Andre Russell has been a match-winner for the team in the previous season and will look to continue from where he left off.
The only main concern for Dre-Russ is the batting order. He needs to be pushed up the order if the top-order batters fail to give the team a good starting platform.
If Knight riders don’t repeat the same mistake, they did last season or Jamaica Tallawahs did this year, there will be a strong possibility of a Russell storm in the middle of a desert.
Knights also has the utility player Sunil Narine who can pick regular wickets with less economy rate and make quick runs in no time.
Narine’s all-round ability allows the team to go with an extra batsman in the playing 11.
Delhi Capitals is the only team that is built around a strong core of Indian players.
The Windies player, Shimron Hetmyer, may have to play a floating role around these players.
He won’t be given a fixed spot in the playing 11. He may have to adapt to playing between positions of 3 to 6 when called upon.
Keemo Paul is also another important player in the team whose pace and variations could be handy on the UAE’s pitches.
- Sunrisers Hyderabad:
Jamaican cricketer Fabien Allen is part of Sunrises Hyderabad set up this year.
It will be difficult for this team to accommodate Allen in the playing 11 unless there is an injury to one of their key players.
However, Allen could get a look in to strengthen the team’s spin bowling department.
West Indies test captain Jason Holder has been picked in the team as a replacement for Michell Marsh.
Although he does not feature regularly in T20 teams, he has the ability to bowl good overs and hit huge sixes. His leadership experience could also be used by the skipper David Warner.
- Mumbai Indians:
Mumbai Indians has Kieron Pollard, who has severed them for quite a while now. This year, he has up the ante in his bowling skills and could add value to the middle overs.
With his change of pace, he could make an enormous difference in picking up wickets.
Pollard’s batting has improved significantly post-lockdown. We have already seen his batting performances in the CPL. He could be the most valuable player in the IPL. He gives Mumbai Indian a strong balance in the middle order.
- Rajasthan Royals:
The Royals has big Oshane Thomas who can threaten the batsmen with sheer pace and bounce. However, it will be tough for Oshane to get into the playing 11 given the other big guns from overseas — Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes (if fit and available), and Jofra Archer.
- Chennai Super Kings:
Super Kings has the experienced campaigner Dwayne Bravo in the team. He hasn’t been part of playing 11 in the initial games.
His fitness has been a concern for the Kings. However, Bravo can play as a batsman in the eleven to add some firepower in the weak middle order.
- Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Bangalore is the only team without a West Indies player in the squad. They could have added a Windies power-hitter or death-over specialist to fill the gaps in their squad.
In sum, Windies players are expected to command attention with their performances, and their fans will undoubtedly be cheering them on as well as their favorite IPL team.
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