IPL 2014: Kevin Pietersen, Pat Cummins among foreign recruits facing important tournament
Kevin Pietersen gets a full season in the IPL this time © Getty Images
Like their Indian counterparts, there are many overseas cricketers who head into the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 keeping their goals in mind. Kevin Pietersen, Pat Cummins, Corey Anderson and Brendan Taylor are the players who would be raring to go in this IPL and make a mark. Devarchit Varma has more.
While Kevin Pietersen would be eager to return to the cricket field after a long gap, leading the Delhi Daredevils, Australia’s pace sensation Pat Cummins will be making his Indian Premier League (IPL) debut for the Kolkata Knight Riders. While there is a long list of Indian players for whom this tournament is very important, there are several overseas players who would like to produce good performances. Let’s take a look:
The maverick batsman is out of England reckoning and his availability for the full season is a boon for the Delhi Daredevils. Pietersen, while playing for England had his share of controversies and now that he has got a chance to play in a full season of IPL, the 33-year-old will be raring to go. The Delhi Daredevils bought him with the hope to revive their side, and this provides Pietersen an opportunity to make a mark with his attacking batsmanship and aggressive leadership skills.
The explosive Australian batsman made headlines when Mumbai Indians bought him for a whopping price of USD 1 million, but was not given enough chances to prove his worth. Nevertheless, the Indian fans came to know more of him when he batted exceptionally well during the limited-overs tour of India last year. Even in the ICC World T20 2014, Maxwell looked in splendid form and Kings XI Punjab would hope that the Australian cricketer continues his good run in the subcontinent.
Like many of the fans, Mitchell Johnson too would have been surprised by the fact that Mumbai Indians decided not to retain him for IPL 2014. Nevertheless, after recovering from an injury that kept him away from the ICC World T20 2014, the left-arm pacer would be eager to stamp his authority. It was in IPL 2013 that Johnson started to get into the rhythm and is now amongst the most feared bowlers in the world.
David Miller announced himself with a brilliant ton against Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2013 © IANS
David Miller was the only overseas player retained by Kings XI Punjab and the South African would be a vital cog in their batting line-up. His ordinary show in the ICC World T20 2014 would certainly have disappointed his fans, but in a format like T20 where there is a lot of uncertainty, one can never be ruled out. Miller would be expected to continue to dazzle and lead Punjab to victories from unlikely situations, like he did in the last season.
Pat Cummins has started training, and all eyes will be on the Kolkata Knight Riders’ pace attack when he will team up with the lanky South African pacer Morne Morkel. Cummins would also be benefitted immensely as Wasim Akram is back in the Kolkata set up, and he would be eager to make a mark in international circuit after a long break.
Ryan ten Doeschate
Ryan ten Doeschate’s absence in the Netherlands’ squad for a few years may have hurt their fortunes a bit, but nevertheless, the talented right-handed batsman is set to continue his stint in the IPL. Ten Doeschate has been Kolkata Knight Riders’ key player in the past couple of seasons, and he would be expected to continue the good show.
Corey Anderson is certainly among the overseas players to watch out for in the IPL 2014. The all-rounder is out from the familiar fields of New Zealand, where he excelled against the West Indies and India, and is now out in a different battle field with unknown challenges. He is an exciting prospect for the Kiwis in the longer run, as Anderson is an attacking batsman by nature and can also chip in with the ball.
Shane Watson continues to don the Rajasthan Royals’ colours, and in this season, he will lead the team without the presence of his mentors in the side (on-field) — Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne. Even though Dravid would be mentoring Rajasthan, but Watson’s leadership skills will be tested. Rajasthan would be playing their home matches in Ahmedabad, which means they no longer enjoy the benefit of playing at their fortress, the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur. Watson may have not got many opportunities to lead Australia, but here is his chance to show his leadership credentials.
The only Zimbabwean player in the tournament, the explosive yet underrated Brendan Taylor would be under pressure to prove that the franchises can also excel by giving opportunities to players from the lower-ranked countries. Taylor is a wicketkeeper-batsman by nature, and he might as well be selected ahead of Naman Ojha.
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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)