The fourth edition of the Indian Premier League will be a big boost with the arrival of the Australian cricketers

 

By Dhruv Rupani

 

The fourth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) needed this much-needed boost. The ODI series between Australia and Bangladesh is over, which means Australia’s top cricketers can now give the IPL a qualitative boost with their presence. This is just the moment all the franchises were waiting for after having invested millions of dollars in the Aussies.

 

Shane Watson would be the biggest draw after his sensational form and his record-breaking innings of 185 off 96 balls the other day. Watson was the man-of-the-tournament in 2008 and his presence and pyrotechnics at the top of the order will make Rajasthan Royals a real force to reckon with. Watson is to play Friday’s home game against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

 

Shah Rukh Khan’s KKR will heave a huge sigh of relief with the series in Bangladesh finally over as Brett Lee will be back to strengthen the team. The zing was missing in KKR’s fragile and inexperienced pace attack against Chennai and Deccan in the previous games and Lee’s return would help change the equations.

 

James Pattinson proved his talent in Bangladesh. He, alongside Brad Haddin, gives the team management more options to choose from, in case if one or two foreign players fail in the upcoming matches.

 

Of course, there is Shakib al Hasan – one of the finest young talents around and the best all-rounder in world cricket. His inclusion makes KKR a flexible outfit, filled with players who are capable of performing, irrespective of the situation.

 

The Pune Warriors would benefit by the return of Tim Paine and Callum Ferguson. Graeme Smith is woefully out of form at the moment, and now that he got injured in the last game against Kochi, it might just force Yuvraj Singh to consider bringing in Paine into the team as an opener, which could also allow them to play an extra Indian batsman, since Paine is a wicketkeeper. Ferguson symbolizes Australia’s domestic strength and is a player who is their future, going by his antics for South Australia.

 

The southern ports of Chennai and Kochi will also be boosted with the inclusions of Michael Hussey and John Hastings respectively. Hussey hit a hundred in the final ODI and looks in ominous touch. Hastings, on the other hand, picked up a hat-trick in one of the games there.

 

The Deccan Chargers would have to contend with an out-of-form Cameron White, who might not get a place in the starting XI until May 5, perhaps when captain Kumar Sangakkara leaves for national duty. And the win on Thursday against Royal Challengers Bangalore at home worsens his case.

 

The IPL gains power with the Kangaroos playing in it. What fascinates me is the timing of the teams to pick these players in the starting XI. Would Lee and Watson make it to their respective teams tomorrow itself after a rigorous World Cup and Bangladesh tour exhausting them? Or would they play the waiting game and maybe get them on the field after a few days more?

 

Well, the IPL just gets better and better.