The T20 format, especially IPL, tailor demands all-rounders as they give a team right balance and an extra option to the captain. The all-rounder's presence also makes a big impact on the opponent’s game plan psychologically. Here’s a look at 5 all-rounders who we think will make an impact this season.
Shane Watson, Royal Challengers Bengaluru, Australia : The Australian all-rounder is a dream buy for any team and no wonder Royal Challengers Bengaluru spent a whopping Rs 9.5 crore in the auctions last year to buy him. Watson is an explosive right handed batsman who can smoke the ball hard and can adapt himself from an opener to a finisher’s role. He has scored 2 hundreds playing for Rajasthan Royals and averages 32.70 with the bat in all IPL. He has a decent bowling average of 26.98 and is a useful bowler who can break partnerships with his subtle variations. He swings the ball at a decent pace and can surprise the batsman with a quick bouncer. Watson is a safe fielder and is always in the face of the opponents which make him thrilling to watch. He is energetic in the field and gives more than 100% except for the helpless injuries. Over the years, Shane Watson has faced a lot of troubles with career threatening back and shoulder injuries which keep him in doubt all the time. RCB will be hoping he stays fit as he gives them a much-needed edge over other teams. In the previous IPL he was amongst wickets for RCB with 20 scalps but failed to make a valuable contribution as a batsman. He will be itching to perform in the IPL this year.
Dwayne Bravo, Gujarat Lions, West Indies: The Caribbean all-rounder is one of the most skilled players in this format. He is an exceptional talent who does justice to all departments of the game. He had a successful stint with Chennai Super Kings until Gujarat Lions bought him after CSK’s suspension in 2015. He is a great thinker of the game and has an unorthodox batting technique which is very effective in T20 format. He bats in the lower middle order and possesses a unique technique of clearing the infield. He is a clean striker of the cricket ball and has a variety of shots which are effective against both spin and fast. Bravo bowls at a decent pace and has clever variations which are not easy to read at the end overs. He is impeccable in the field and has pulled off some great run outs and catches in the outfield. He is among the most entrusted and reliable players for his team. Dwayne Bravo hasn’t had a successful season with Gujarat Lions and will be hungry to perform for Gujarat Lions.
Chris Morris, Delhi Daredevils, South Africa: The tall South African all-rounder is a powerful batsman lower down the order and generates good pace while bowling. He was signed by Delhi Daredevils for 70 million rupees and was impressive with the all-round abilities last year. Morris averaged 65 with the bat and played one of the best innings in the previous IPL. Chasing 173, he scored an unbeaten 82 off 32 balls but failed to get Delhi Daredevils past the winning line as they lost the match by 1 run. He is a powerful hitter of the cricket ball and scored runs at a strike rate of 179 which is amongst the best. Morris picked up crucial wickets and was economical throughout the season. He is undoubtedly a tailor made player for this format who provides the ideal balance to the team. It will be exciting to see if Morris can bring luck and change fortunes of Delhi Daredevils.
Ben Stokes, Rising Pune Supergiants, England: The aggressive all-rounder from England is among the most expensive buys of IPL. He was bought for a massive amount of 145 million rupees by Rising Pune Supergiants. Ben Stokes doesn’t have staggering numbers in T20’s to boast about but has done exceptionally well in the limited overs cricket and the longest version in the recent times. He is among a few genuine all-rounders in World Cricket who is improving each day. Ben Stokes bowls right arm fast and clocks at a speed of 140 kmph consistently and may well do a fine job for Rising Pune Supergiants. He is an aggressive left-handed batsman and can bat anywhere between number four and six positions. He is someone who keeps the crowd alive and is energetic in the field. With Mitchell Marsh ruled out of the IPL due to an injury, we may well see Ben Stokes play full season and if he strikes the right chord then Rising Pune Supergiants may well be one of the favorites to win the title.
Krunal Pandya, Mumbai Indians: The 25 year old all-rounder from Baroda was bought by Mumbai Indians for 20 million rupees in 2016. He is lightning fast in the field and has terrific strength which makes him an exciting young cricketer. Pandya is an exceptional player for the shortest format with multiple skills. He can clear the fence with ease and is flexible batting at any order. In a game against Delhi Daredevils last season, Krunal Pandya scored a terrific 86 off 37 balls batting at number 3 which helped Mumbai Indians post a huge task of 206. He later went on to pick 2 for 15 and was declared player of the match. Krunal scores at a strike rate close to 165 which is highly appreciable in this format. He bowls slow left-arm orthodox and doesn’t allow the batsmen to get over the top. It will be interesting to see how he performs in the upcoming IPL.
Article by MKM Faiyaz Ahmed