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regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

IPL 2023: Know the team

On paper, Lucknow have one of the most complete sides in this IPL

Sudipto Gupta Published 27.03.23, 04:03 AM
KL Rahul.

KL Rahul. File photo

Lucknow Super Giants

Strengths

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On paper, Lucknow have one of the most complete sides in this IPL. They were impressive in their debut season in the last edition. And this time too, they can dream of making the playoffs. KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock form a solid opening combination, Deepak Hooda can take care of matters in the middle, Nicholas Pooran can be destructive if he gets into groove, Marcus Stoinis’s allround abilities are invaluable in the shortest format, Ravi Bishnoi and Krunal Pandya are effective T20 spinners and Mark Wood, Avesh Khan and Jaydev Unadkat lend variety to their fast-bowling arsenal. Lucknow have quite an army of all-rounders --- Stoinis, Krunal, Hooda, Daniel Sams, Romario Shepherd, Kyle Mayers. If used intelligently, they can plug gaps efficiently. With such a set of players, Andy Flower as coach and Gautam Gambhir as team mentor, Lucknow will be tough to beat, unless they mess things up themselves.

Weaknesses

Lucknow do not have a good set of Indian batters and if the likes of Ayush Badoni and Manan Vohra don’t get going, they will find it tough to find replacements. But more than that, it’s Rahul’s captaincy that will be under focus. The 30-year-old, despite his many captaincy stints at the international level and the IPL, hasn’t really impressed with his leadership skills. Having faced criticism from various corners for his recent form with the bat, it will interesting to see how Rahul copes with the pressure.

X-factor

Lucknow are more like a pack of wolves which needs to hunt together and it is difficult to single out anyone for special mention. However, Quinton de Kock can prove to be a difference-maker if he hits form. The South African opener is often underrated, but his record at the top of the order is impeccable. A ferrocious stroke-maker who can run away with the game in the blink of an eye, De Kock is also vastly experienced and adapts to conditions smartly.

Key signings

Nicholas Pooran, Jaydev Unadkat , Romario Shepherd, Daniel Sams, Amit Mishra

Last year: Beaten in Eliminator

Best finish: Same as above

Sourav asks Pant not to rush return

New Delhi: Sourav Ganguly has advised Rishabh Pant to “take his time to heal properly” from his injuries before launching his bid for a comeback to competitive cricket.

Sourav is the director of cricket at Delhi Capitals, the IPL franchise for whom Pant plays.

“I am sure that the national team is missing him as well. He’s young and he has got a lot of time left in his career. He’s a special player and he must take his time to heal properly. We wish him all the best and I’ll meet him as well,” Sourav said in a media release issued by Capitals.

Speaking about the upcoming IPL season, the former India captain said: “It’s been great to work with the boys and I am looking forward to the season starting. And (coach) Ricky (Ponting) has been fantastic. He brings a lot of intensity during training.”

Written with inputs from PTI

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