IPL 2019: Old wine in new banner, fresh faces, old guards and redemption trailshttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/ipl/ipl-2019-mi-csk-delhi-capitals-kxip-dhoni-virat-kohli-rohi-sharma-5638939/

IPL 2019: Old wine in new banner, fresh faces, old guards and redemption trails

As another season of the IPL ushers in, the teams would look to begin from the scratch, putting the travails and triumphs behind, more so after an auction that saw the franchises making wholesale changes.

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The 2019 IPL begins from today. (Image: IPL)

CSK: Old legs, fresh vigour
Captain: M S Dhoni
Coach: Stephen Fleming
Best finish: Champions 2010, 2011, 2019
Last season: Champions

For a format previously considered a young man’s game, CSK has made a habit out of changing perceptions. The team invites the description ‘Dad’s Army’ for the number of players aged closer to 40 than 30, the thinking being that a run saved here or there in the field is not worth those scored and the wickets taken by an experienced campaigner. The formula worked brilliantly in their fairytale comeback last year, but can they do it agai when they are a year older? Their experienced core has been there and done that, but in the absence of the injured Lungi Ngidi, their batting and spin bowling will have to do most of the heavy lifting.

DC: Pace heavy
Captain: Shreyas Iyer
Coach: Ricky Ponting
Best finish: Playoffs 2008, 2009, 2012
Last season: 8th

The Daredevils were a disaster over the last several years, so the easiest remedy was to change the name. But the Delhi franchise was not always a laughing stock. The team made the playoffs in three of the first five seasons, before going into freefall, as they failed to stick to a core group. This time, they are relying on Indian batting talent and imported pace bowling. But for a team which plays its home fixtures at the low-and-slow Kotla, it remains to be seen how the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult and Chris Morris deal with the conditions. Watch out for 18-year-old Nepalese leggie Sandeep Lamichhane, who made quite an impression in limited opportunities last season.

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KXIP: Paper tigers
Captain: Ravichandran Ashwin
Coach: Mike Hesson
Best finish: Runners-up 2014
Last season: 7th

The one team that can give Delhi a run for its money in the race for the perennial wooden spoon. Despite having some eye-catching performances, they almost always come up short. Their batting looks strong on paper with the blockbuster opening pairing of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul, followed by the prolific Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair and foreigners Nicholas Pooran and David Miller. However, even with the acquisition of Mohammed Shami, their pace bowling stocks look thin. They have invested big time in mystery bowlers (Varun Chakravarthy, Mujeeb ur Rehman and Murugan Ashwin). R. Ashwin will have to be on the top of his game – especially captaincy – if the team has to make a mark this season.

KKR: Utility men
Captain: Dinesh Karthik
Coach: Jacques Kallis
Best finish: Champions 2012, 2014
Last season: Playoffs

This team is a classic case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. There are no ‘greats’ in this team, but it gets the most out of its personnel. But they have been handed a rough deal with pacers Shicam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and South African Anrich Nortje ruled out before the tournament, leaving only Kiwi Lockie Feguson as an out-and-out fast bowler. They will now have to bank big-time on their spinners – Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, KC Kariappa and Piyush Chawla. Their batting has been efficient over the years and they have the X-factor of Andre Russell.

MI: Best of both worlds
Captain: Rohit Sharma
Coach: Mahela Jayawardene
Best finish: Champions 2013, 2015, 2017
Last season: 5th

They have arguably the best T20 batsman in the world (Rohit) and the best bowler (Jasprit Bumrah). And if the trend of the last few years continues, an odd year could bring them more success. The team has a strong Indian core featuring the Pandya brothers. The team often gives the impression of struggling in the first half of the season, before gathering steam when it really matters. Quinto de Kock has been in great form and he and Rohit can be a dynamic pairing. It will be interesting to see whether Yuvraj Singh can make an impact and whether Lasith Malinga, the only Sri Lankan playing in the league, can recreate some of his old magic.

RR: Thin, even on paper
Captain: Ajinkya Rahane
Coach: Paddy Upton
Best finish: Champions 2008
Last season: Playoffs

They have bet on several players who are unlikely to be available come the business end of the tournament (Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, Ashton Turner, Jofra Archer). This lack of foresight necessitated a strong Indian core, which is not evident. They have West Indian Oshane Thomas, who is untested at this level. Varun Aaron, Dhawal Kulkarni and Jaydev Unadkat are unlikely to intimidate many quality batsmen. Neither will K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal and Ish Sodhi. If the Royals go deep into the tournament, the batting is likely to revolve around Rahane and Sanju Samson. But shorn of its big-ticket imports, Royals do look a bit thin on paper.

RCB: Short of bowling mettle
Captain: Virat Kohli
Coach: Gary Kirsten
Best finish: Runners-up 2009, 2011, 2016
Last season: 6th

It is Kohli’s team and he will have to be at his best if the perennial underachievers have to land their first title, but with the World Cup starting soon after, one wonders how much effort and intensity the Indian skipper would like to expend on the league. Once again, the team looks like it can hit a million runs but can’t defend them, especially at the high-scoring Chinnaswamy Stadium. AB de Villiers has retired from international cricket, so will he be in good enough nick? Shimron Hetmyer has an impressive ODI record, but not a good T20 one. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj and Nathan Coulter-Nile are never too economical, which will put Tim Southee to bowl the crucial overs. Kohli also relies heavily on leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal.

SRH: Best bowling team
Captain: Kane Williamson
Coach: Tom Moody
Best finish: Champions 2016
Last season: Runners-up

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They look stronger than last year with the return of David Warner and the addition of Martin Guptill and Jonny Bairstow. But will the Australian opener hit the ground running after the ban. Their bowling, featuring the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi and Billy Stanlake, is the best in the competition. Vijay Shankar would like to garner a few points to shore up his World Cup selection, while Shakib al Hasan and Mohammad Nabi rarely let the team down. The only possible weakness could be their Indian specialist batsmen, with Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey the best of them.