Chennai: When the Indian Premier League (IPL) starts on Friday, Rohit Sharma will step down with an intention to maintain his legacy, while Virat Kohli would like to create a new legacy. Also, everyone's eyes will be on veteran Mahendra Singh Dhoni as to what strategy he comes up with after his team failed to make it to the play-offs for the first time last season. Due to the increasing cases of Corona virus, the league will be held in a biologically safe environment and spectators will not be allowed to come to the stadium.
Two IPL tournaments in just five months is not an ideal situation for concerned stakeholders but the second seven weeks will be exciting for fans amidst the second wave of Kovid-19 cases where they get to see big sixes, precision yorkers and new talent. Corona virus cases have increased in India in recent times and about one lakh new cases are being reported daily. The first match of the tournament will be played between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore here and the presence of a big hitter in both the teams will ensure that there is plenty of spectators who will not be able to come to the stadium due to the epidemic.
The tournament has also been hit by the Corona virus and some players and support staff have been found positive before the start of the league. But due to the tight biologically safe environment for the Games, the Board of Cricket in India (BCCI) expects the tournament to be conducted as smoothly as in the previous tournament in the UAE. The upcoming tournament is very important for India as the T20 World Cup is to be held in the country this year. Kohli will try to monitor the performance of his potential players of the World Cup through this tournament, while the eyes of England captain Eoin Morgan and Kieron Pollard will also be focused on the performance of the players of their country, playing for their respective franchises.
With five titles, Rohit, the most successful captain in IPL history, would like to score the first title hat-trick in the league with the sixth trophy. If Rohit fails to bat, then Quinton Dickock will be ready to succeed. If both of them fail, then batsmen like Ishan Kishan and Surya Kumar Yadav will be responsible. If Mumbai's top order completely fails, then Pandya Bandhu (Hardik and Krunal) will come out to beat the opponent. Also, the team has a stormy batsman like Pollard who is also very important for the team due to his strong fielding on the field. The bowling will depend on bowlers like Trent Boult and Rahul Chahar. The team of Mumbai Indians can only lose on their bad days and on their good days they are like a nightmare for any opposing team.
Rohit's rival and national team captain Kohli will go on to win the IPL title for the first time but the combination of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) does not look as effective as Mumbai. The team has spent a huge amount on Glenn Maxwell and New Zealand's Kyle Jameson has become a millionaire overnight while his bowling on Indian wickets has not been tested yet. Would have been made Yuzvendra Chahal is seen losing rhythm. Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini have not been able to perform very effectively in limited overs cricket so far.
Amidst all this, Dhoni's eyes will be set on the flat pitch of the Wankhede Stadium as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have to play there instead of Chepak's slow pitch. The return of veteran Suresh Raina will pave the way for Imran Tahir to play in most of the matches, while the possibility of Moeen Ali and Sam Curren playing in any order as an all-rounder makes the team look better than last season.
On the other hand, Dhoni's 'protagonist' Rishabh Pant will be desperate to make a mark while captaining the Delhi Capitals for the first time. He will try to take inspiration from his senior and highly experienced Dhoni. Pant has been in very good form since playing a strong innings at Gabba last year and is probably the most confident player in Indian cricket at the moment. The team has experienced batsmen like Prithvi Shaw, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, as well as veteran Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane. Among the bowlers, Daromdar Kagiso Rabada, Enrich Noortje, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra and Akshar Patel will be on hand so that last year's runners-up team will try to go one step further this time.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad team is one of the most consistently performing teams. The team has probably the best foreign T20 players in the world in the form of David Warner, the world's best T20 bowler Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson, Jason Holder, Jason Roy and Johnny Bairstow. Kolkata Knight Riders will be hoping to return to the form of aggressive rallying rounder Andre Russell while the team would like Varun Chakraborty to perform well once again. At the moment of limited overs in international cricket, the best captain Eoin Morgan will try to bring stability to the batting order and at the same time hope that Sunil Narayan's action is not once again dubbed as questionable.
The owners of Punjab Kings will be hoping that changing the name of the team will change their fate but a lot will depend on the performance of captain Lokesh Rahul. Mohammed Shami will be keen to regain his rhythm. The spectators are once again awaiting Chris Gayle's stormy batting but the team is certainly not a title contender in the beginning. Rajasthan Royals will miss Jofra Archer's absence in the beginning. The performance of the team under the guidance of Sanju Samson has been lacking in consistency over the past few seasons and the team will depend on Ben Stokes, Jose Butler and Chris Maurice for good performances.