IPL 2022: Focus on Umran Malik, Williamson, R Ashwin as SRH meets RR
Pune, March 28 (IANS): In its 15 years of existence as the best T20 league in the world, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has many youngsters making their mark. He also saw many one-season wonders, which shone for a few months and then slowly faded.
Umran Malik, the 22-year-old pacemaker from Jammu and Kashmir, hopes to avoid a similar fate at IPL 2022. Malik was one of the success stories in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and his superb performance the led to being chosen as a net thrower for India’s squad for the T20 World Cup. He was also one of the players that two-time IPL winner Sunrisers Hyderabad had picked up for IPL 2022.
Malik will be in the spotlight on Tuesday when Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Rajasthan Royals in their first game of IPL 2022 at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) stadium here.
This will be Malik’s first chance to prove that his performance in the UAE was no flash in the pan and that he is capable of building on that to claim a spot in the national team. Although Malik will have to do a lot more than he did in IPL 2021 (11 wickets in eight matches), the J&K youngster has shown plenty of promise.
The SRH think tank will also be keeping a close eye on skipper Kane Williamson, who has been out of action since last year’s T20 World Cup. After taking over midway through last year, Williamson will be looking to play his first full season as captain. Going into the IPL rested and recovered, Williamson will bring fresh ideas and experience as international captain to SRH, whose fortunes the franchise hopes to turn around after the indifferent season in 2021.
Apart from Malik and Williamson, the focus will also be on Rahul Tripahty and Kartik Tyagi in the SRH team. Tripathy also performed well at IPL 2021 as a top hitter while Tyagi, who caught the eye by setting up a sensational final for Rajasthan Royals to defend four points against Punjab Kings in the United Arab Emirates. last year will be another one hoping to avoid the one-season wonder tag.
Now with SRH, Tyagi hopes to show the Royals what they lost by not holding him back or picking him up at auction. SRH will be without Rashid Khan, who joined the Gujarat Titans, for the first time since 2017.
The Rajasthan Royals, winners of the inaugural IPL in 2008, will be looking to get off to a good start. They have major changes in their personnel and will bank on their superb bowling unit which has Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, who is likely to partner Boult on the power play, R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.
On the batting front, Rajasthan had retained skipper Sanju Samson, fly-half Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Buttler and in the bidding they picked Devdutt Padikkal, likely to strike at No. 3, and Rassie van der Dussen, who has been in great form for South Africa recently. . The team is very different from the one they had in 2021 and Samson hopes their fortunes will change with the new season as well.