Delhi Capitals Ishant Sharm
Delhi Capitals will be the team to beat in the IPL this year, says Mr. Cricket UAE Anis Sajan. Image Credit: PTI

Mumbai Indians bounced everyone out by picking Jofra Archer and paying a whopping 8 crore for him even though he won’t be fit to play for this year’s Indian Premier League.

On the first day of the auction, Mumbai Indians made the big signing in Ishan Kishan by investing 15 crore and then it all went quiet but when Archer’s name came up in the auction they went all out to win his signature.

Owner Aakash Ambani was clear that they are looking to the future and when Archer is fit, together with Jasprit Bumrah, they will be a lethal bowling pair.

They also went in heavy in buying Singapore born Tim David for 8 crore who is a dasher but it needs to be seen how he will do in the IPL. They also got Tymal Mills, Riley Meredith and Daniel Sams along with Jaydev Unadkat to make their bowling stronger in the pace department. It will be interesting to see if the decision to invest in a player - who is injury prone will - be fit and available in next year’s IPL and whether the heavy bouncer they put out today makes an impact.

Mystery spinner

Chennai Super Kings bought Devon Conway of New Zealand to replace Faf du Plessis who can also keep. They also went in for Sri Lankan mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana who should be a surprise package and effective as he is yet to be decoded by any team. They also added the pace of Adam Milne to replace Josh Hazlewood and have their team sorted out.

Delhi Capitals added another power hitter in Romvman Powell who could be the next Andre Russell. They also bought India’s under-19 captain Yash Dhull and rewarded him for the country’s recent success in the World Cup. With the addition of Khaleel Ahmed as left arm pacer, Delhi Capitals to me look the best side on paper.

Punjab Kings bought England’s Liam Livingston on the second day for 11.5 crore making him the most expensive foreign player. He is not only a dasher but also a very good leg break bowler and a good fielder. For the record he had left last year’s IPL complaining of bubble fatigue but I am sure this year’s price might remove all that fatigue. Punjab Kings also added Odean Smith of West Indies who is a handy all-rounder and hits the ball a long way. Punjab Kings have always struggled to have a sound captain and it will be interesting to see whom they make their skipper but Anil Kumble did hint that Shikhar Dhawan might be the one to lead the Punjab Kings this time around.

In form opener

Kolkata Knight Riders gave a lifeline to Ajinkya Rahane by buying him. They also got dangerous and in form opener Alex Hales and wicket keeper batsman Sam Billings as they were the only team left without a keeper batsman but on paper their batting looks thin even though they have a good bowling attack.

Rajasthan Royals seemed to struggle on the second day and looked clueless and the frustration could be seen on the face of their head coach Kumar Sangakkara as they were not able to pick the players of their choice. On paper they look weak both in batting and bowling and skipper Sanju Samson’s work will be cut out when the IPL begins.

Similarly Sunrisers Hyderabad look very thin on paper both in experience and power hitting and if Kane Williamson does not recover from his injury, they will be short on batting. They don’t have any big names barring Nicolas Pooran and his form will be key for their success in the IPL.

Royal Challengers Bangalore also have a batting headache in the middle order, apart from Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis and Glenn Maxwell, they don’t have much experience and will be hoping Dinesh Karthik - whom they picked - will do the finishing job in the batting. They also have to select their captain since Kohli has stepped down and it needs to be seen if they go for du Plessis or Karthik as their skipper.

Solid side

The new team Lucknow Super Giants have built a solid side but the first year of an IPL is always tough for a new franchise and it needs to be seen how KL Rahul and Andy Flower lead their team which has big names like Marcus Stoinis, Jason Holder, Mark Wood, Manish Pandey and Evin Lewis.

The 10th team Gujarat Titans also will be under serious trial in the first year and it needs to be seen how Hardik Pandya can get the best out of the side which has the magician Rashid Khan along with Jason Roy and David Miller.

The IPL will be played mostly at three Venues which be Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, Brabourne Stadium and Pune and only time will tell which team has picked the right players but my gut feeling says Delhi Capitals have all the bases covered and will be the side to look out for this year.