Amidst the ICC World T20 hype, there have been some developments in the soon-to-be held IPL as well. Four franchises have appointed new captains while the venues have also been changed. Here’s an update.
Shikhar Dhawan appointed captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad: The Indian opener will lead Sunrisers Hyderabad in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which kicks off on April 16. The left-hander had led the side in the Champions League T20 last year, and was one of the players retained by the Hyderabad franchise this year. Dhawan was among the star performers for Hyderabad last season. Darren Sammy has been chosen as the vice-captain of the franchise for this year. Sri Lanka’s veteran batsman Kumar Sangakkara had captained the side last year.
Shane Watson will lead Rajasthan Royals: Australia’s super star all- rounder will take over the reins of Rajasthan Royals this season. Watson will replace the retired Rahul Dravid, who was the leader till last year, and now will take over as mentor of the franchise. The 32-year-old had played a major role in Rajasthan’s surprise win in the opening season when he had Graeme Smith combined brilliantly at the top of the order. Watson also contributed handsomely with the ball. The success in the inaugural season of the IPL actually revived Watson’s international career. However, leadership will be an altogether different challenge for him.
George Bailey will captain Kings XI Punjab: Australia’s T20 leader, Bailey will captain Kings XI Punjab in this edition of the IPL. Bailey will take over from another Aussies, veteran Adam Gilchrist, who captained the franchise in the last two seasons before announcing his retirement. Bailey was purchased by the franchise at this year’s auction in February for Rs 3.25 crore. Bailey has been Australia’s T20 skipper since 2011, and was actually made captain in his debut T20 match itself. He earlier represented Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, but did not get many opportunities to prove himself.
Kevin Pietersen gets a chance to lead Delhi Daredevils: His England career may have ended prematurely. However, the dashing batsman will now get a chance to prove his skills as a leader in the T20 format. He had a brief stint as England captain, but like his entire international career, it was marred by excessive controversy. Pietersen played the key role in England’s ICC World T20 win back in 2010. He did not feature in last year’s edition due to an injury, but had an extremely successful season with DD back in 2012, scoring 305 runs in 8 games. KP will replace Mahela Jayawardene as franchise leader.
Venues: Due to the Lok Sabha elections, the entire IPL won’t be held in India. The opening matches will be held in the UAE at three different stadiums -- in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. Some matches might also be held in Bangladesh. The remaining matches will take place in India post the elections.
--By A Cricket Analyst