Kolkata: As Mumbai Indians (MI) take on Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the first match of the phase 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Dubai today, the hype will be back in the tournament halted a few months back due to the pandemic. But, hype overlooked, the gulf part of the IPL will be a platform for players to prove a point or two – we look at the most talked-about ones among the Indian lot:
Virat Kohli: That he is still a force to reckon with in the shortest format of the game as a player and a leader especially after having decided to step down as T20I skipper after the T20WC, the RCB skipper would be all set for the challenge. The much elusive IPL Trophy in his bag will be the perfect icing on the cake too – a message to his detractors.
Rohit Sharma: Will he be India’s next T20 skipper? The odds are in his favour but with reports of Virat Kohli recommending his ouster as his deputy in ODIs on age-related grounds, the Hitman will be egging himself on to prove that age is just a number. It’s quite evident that the rift between Kohli and Sharma is only widening and the MI captain has a lot at stake in this IPL. Watch out guys!
KL Rahul: Will the Karnataka batsman succeed Virat Kohli as India’s T20 skipper? The super-talented cricketer is in the running if not as the skipper but the vice captain. A resounding show with the bat and as leader of the Punjab Kings, will reinforce his claim to the coveted job.
Shikhar Dhawan: Love him, hate him but you can’t ignore him! The southpaw from the Delhi Capitals is having a tough ride both on the personal and professional fronts – a painful divorce and a royal ignore by the selectors for the T20 World Cup, he would be impatient to make a point that he is not finished yet. And an angry Dhawan could spell doom for his rivals.
MS Dhoni: Now, why is he in the list? Hasn’t he retired from international cricket? Does MS Dhoni have anything left to add to his repertoire? May be not, but the newly-inducted Team India mentor for the T20 World Cup, would love to have one last go at the IPL Trophy before he calls time on all forms of the game. With Virat Kohli reportedly running out of favour with the BCCI for his adamancy, the CSK captain, with yet another IPL triumph against his name, would give the Board the ammunition to give him the leeway to see sense in an emotional Kohli and if required, adapt a harsher attitude if the latter goes haywire.