The Indian Premier League (IPL) has turn out to be the breeding ground for Indian batsmen. Through the years many a batsman has risen from IPL ranks and progressed to play for India — Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Manish Pandey are a couple of prominent examples. The seasoned all-formats batsmen too have carved a niche for themselves — Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma are the top three scorers in the IPL. On the other hand, the pitches in the UAE, IPL’s home this season, are expected to be on the slower side and unlikely to yield the 200-plus scores that are seen in India. Nevertheless, Indian batsmen would see this as the most productive platform to push their names for higher honours.
Here is a look at the top 10 Indian batsmen to watch out for:
Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The RCB captain has rarely had an off season in the IPL and is expected to add to his tally of 5412 runs – the highest in IPL history. Kohli has pushed his strike rate from 122.22 in 2017 to 141.46 in 2019 after enjoying a golden 2016 season where he smashed four centuries and 973 runs scored at 152.03 runs per 100 balls. RCB made the last in 2016 on the back of Kohli’s run juggernaut and his team would count on him to deliver the goods yet again.
Strike rate: 131.61
Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)
Rohit Sharma has won the IPL five times as a player, including four times as captain of Mumbai Indians, and a few credit for this feat lies with Rohit himself who has 4898 IPL runs, the third highest in the league. Equally adept at opening the batting in addition to playing in the middle order, Rohit’s ability to accelerate towards the death retain him at par with any batsman in the finisher’s role.
Highest: 109 not out
Strike rate: 130.82
Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals)
The big-hitting Pant had a breakthrough 2017 season and went one up in 2018, averaging 52.61 and striking the ball at 173.60 in 14 matches. A wicket-keeper batsman for Delhi Capitals, Pant bats mostly in the top five and relies on his power game for runs. The left-hander has the entire shots in his book and he’s equally good against pace and spin.
Highest: 128 not out
Strike rate: 162.69
KL Rahul (Kings XI Punjab)
The new KXIP captain has enjoyed a purple patch in IPL prior to now two seasons. Having missed the 2017 season because of injury, Rahul returned to the league hungry for runs and satiated his cravings by scoring over 1200 runs prior to now two seasons, averaging 54.91 in 2018 and 53.90 in 2019. The strike rates of 158.41 and 135.38 in 2018 and 2019 respectively tip at a change of roles for the batsman in the team but returns of 659 and 593 runs respectively show that he has performed his role with some success.
Highest: 100 not out
Strike rate: 138.15
Shikhar Dhawan (Delhi Capitals)
Dhawan moved to Delhi Capitals from SunRisers Hyderabad before the 2018 season but that hasn’t impacted his returns in the league with the bat. Aggregates of 497 and 521 runs in 2018 and 2019 show that the left-hander from Delhi has enjoyed his home turf. Tasked with opening the batting for Delhi, his returns will be an important for a team that’s choc-a-bloc with top order batsmen.
Highest: 97 not out
Strike rate: 124.80
MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings)
The CSK captain has retired from international cricket and that could show in how he goes approximately his batting in IPL. Dhoni has led CSK since the league’s inception and has won the title three times including 2018, the first season after CSK’s ban after IPL 2015 because of spot-fixing allegations. Some of the great finishers in limited-overs cricket, Dhoni has the knack for taking the game deep and finishing it off with high percentage shots towards the end of the innings.
Highest: 84 not out
Strike rate: 137.85
Manish Pandey (SunRisers Hyderabad)
Manish Pandey has slipped under the radar at lots of the teams he has played in. At Kolkata Knight Riders he used to be overshadowed by the big-hitting Andre Russell and at SunRisers Hyderabad, the opening twosome of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow steal the thunder. On the other hand, Pandey used to be integral to SRH’s crusade final season, accumulating 344 runs at 43 and a strike rate of 130.79 batting in the middle order.
Highest: 114 not out
Strike rate: 120.82
Shubman Gill (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The 20-year-old had a breakthrough season with KKR in 2018 but tapered off a bit final season. Nevertheless, returns of 499 runs from two seasons with four fifties merit a longer investment in the youngster and KKR are banking upon the lanky right-handed batsman from Punjab. He’s an U-19 World Cup winner and could be best utilized at the top of the order.
Strike rate: 132.36
Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals)
Two good seasons at Rajasthan Royals led to an India recall for Sanju Samson. On the other hand, opportunities for India were limited in the shortest format and Samson would look to press for some more India honours by building on the preceding two IPL seasons where he averaged in the 30s and struck at the ball at 137.81 in 2018 and 148.69 in 2019.
Highest: 102 not out
Strike rate: 130.24
Prithvi Shaw (Delhi Capitals)
The U-19 World Cup winning captain and the man who scored a century on Test debut for India, Shaw has been a rising star in the echelons of Indian cricket for the past two years. His returns for Delhi Capitals in IPL 2019 were impressive, too: 353 runs at 22.06 and strike rate of 133.71. On the other hand, these stats are regressed compared to how he played in his debut season in 2018 when he struck the ball at 153.12.
Strike rate: 141.03
Note: All stats courtesy iplt20.com.
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