Whether they’re due for a big performance or returning to the big stage after a long layoff, here’s a look at one player from each IPL team that you should be keeping an eye on this upcoming season.
#1. Mumbai Indians: Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah first rose to prominence following a very successful IPL campaign and has since proved himself to be an extremely effective bowler in all formats of the game. However, his unusual action coupled with how regularly the Indian team plays has started to take a toll on his body, with the injuries creeping in. Having recently made his return to the national team following a lengthy injury layoff, Bumrah will be looking to get back to his best ahead of the T20 World Cup later on in the year.
Wild Card: Another Indian who has had his fair share of injury worries is Hardik Pandya, who is still nursing a bad back and will be eyeing IPL 2020 as his return to competitive cricket.
#2. Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni
The 2020 edition of the IPL will be the first time in a long time for cricket fans to see MS Dhoni in action, as the former Indian skipper hasn’t featured for the national side (or indeed his domestic side) for an extremely long time now. One would assume that he wishes to turn out for India at the T20 World Cup, so it will be interesting to see what kind of form he is currently in. His ability to play match-winning knocks as well as his ability to influence games from behind the stumps remains unquestionable, and he is an undoubted asset for any team to have.
Wild Card: Having put in increasingly confident performances for India in recent times, Shardul Thakur will be looking to kick on and push for a regular berth in limited-overs cricket with a solid showing in IPL 2020.
#3. Delhi Capitals: Marcus Stoinis
T20 seems to be the format Marcus Stoinis is most well-suited to, with the big Australian having reinvented himself as an opener in the Big Bash. With all-rounders as coveted as they are in T20 cricket, Stoinis’ explosive hitting at the top as well as his changes of pace in the middle overs might prove to be invaluable for the Delhi Capitals as they look to improve on an encouraging performance from last year.
Wild Card: With MS Dhoni’s future up in the air and India’s wicketkeeper spot up for grabs, Rishabh Pant will be looking to once again shine in the IPL and stake his claim as India’s first-choice behind the stumps in the limited-overs format.
#4. Kings XI Punjab: Glenn Maxwell
The big-hitting Australian recently took time off from the game to deal with some mental health issues but seems to have returned to the Big Bash in excellent nick. Maxwell returns for another stint with Kings XI Punjab and will be looking to use his experience of playing in Indian conditions to put in some match-winning performances during the course of this year’s IPL.
Wild Card: Having established himself as India’s Test opener, this might be the year Mayank Agarwal stakes a claim in India’s limited-overs set up as well with a strong showing in the IPL.
#5. Rajasthan Royals: Ben Stokes
With a series of unbelievable individual performances in the 2019 World Cup as well as the subsequent Ashes series, Ben Stokes played some of the best cricket of his life last year. He will be looking to carry on his form into 2020 with his big hits and crucial wickets, with a view to leading England to yet another World Cup triumph by the time the T20 World Cup rolls around.
Wild Card: Indian cricket fans have high hopes for Yashasvi Jaiswal, the teenager who rose to fame after scoring a double century for Mumbai in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. While most of us have heard about his exploits, this will be the first time for a lot of people to see him in action.
#6. Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli
The Indian skipper has been RCB’s standout performer for years, and will once again be looking to lead from the front. IPL’s record run-getter is coming off a dream decade and will be looking to start the new one off on the right foot by leading RCB to success in the IPL.
Wild Card: Joshua Philippe might be an unknown quantity for most Indian fans, but has been making waves in Australia as an exciting wicket-keeper batsman who thrives in the T20 format.
#7. Kolkata Knightriders: Andre Russell
Injuries have prevented the big burly West Indian to truly realise his potential and even cut his season short last year. However, the short time he was in action was enough to remind people of his undoubted talent, especially with the bat. Having switched to a fitness regime modeled on Americal football players, Russell will be hoping for an injury-free season so that he can show the world what he really can do on the cricket pitch.
Wild Card: Shubman Gill is another young Indian talent who has been on the fringes of the Indian team for a while now, and will be looking to impress the selectors with a good showing in this year’s IPL.
#8. Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner
After a staggering 692 runs in 12 matches won him the Orange Cap last season, David Warner seems to have put ‘Sandpapergate’ and a torrid Ashes series behind him with a string of Test centuries recently. The southpaw is one of those overseas players who seem to thrive in Indian conditions, and his past experience coupled with his recent good form makes him one to watch out for this season as well.
Wild Card: Although batsmen the world over seem to have worked out how to Rashid Khan to an extent, the Afghanistan captain still comes up with simply unplayable spells every now and again that are an absolute joy to behold!