In the aftermath of the ball-tampering row in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, Cricket Australia have finally delivered their verdicts over the three guilty players Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft.
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for 12 months each from international cricket and domestic cricket; while Bancroft copped a similar ban, for 9 months. In addition to that, the trio was also ordered to do 100 hours of community service and Warner will not be considered for any leadership position in future.
As soon as Cricket Australia delivered its verdict, IPL commissioner Rajiv Shukla too suspended Steve Smith and David Warner from IPL 2018.
Now with two spots available for the IPL 2018 in Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, we look at some replacement options for both the franchises.
Check out the possible replacements for Steve Smith and David Warner in IPL 11 for RR and SRH.
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LUKE RONCHI (NZ)
Former Australian and New Zealand keeper-batsman Luke Ronchi had a tremendous PSL 2018, where he scored 435 runs in 11 matches including a best of 94* and a strike rate of 182.00.
36-year-old Luke Ronchi retired from international cricket some time back but has continued playing in the T20 leagues all around. He has evolved as a brilliant hard-hitting opener and with 3157 runs in 161 T20 matches and a strike rate of 157.29 to boast of, he will be the perfect opener for a team like Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in IPL11.
SRH had a cemented opening combo of Dhawan and Warner, where Dhawan hit out and Warner played through the innings. Now Ronchi could do the same and Dhawan could bat through the innings. Also, he is in the form of his life and SRH could buy him and may repeat their feat of IPL 2016 and win the tournament.
MARTIN GUPTILL (NZ)
Martin Guptill was a shocking omission from the list of sold players in the IPL 2018 auctions. His record in T20s stands at 5798 runs in 199 matches with a strike rate of 128.04 and 3 centuries to boast of, with the highest score of 120*.
Guptill has played for Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians in IPL previously. He was definitely a player worth investing in and though his record in IPL isn’t stellar; Guptill will be a worthy addition to Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He can bat at the top and in the first four easily, dominating the bowlers during the middle overs and take the responsibility of batting till the last.
EOIN MORGAN (ENG)
Eoin Morgan has played for Bangalore Royal Challengers, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Sunrisers Hyderabad previously in IPL.
He has played 244 T20 matches and scored 5203 runs with a strike rate of 127.43. Morgan is known for his big and innovative hitting in middle order. He knows how to rotate the strike rate and runs hard between the wickets. He can also lead the side in IPL, thanks to his immense success with the England side in the last 2-3 years.
Morgan will be definitely on the radar of both RR and SRH and it will be exciting to see which franchise gets him for the upcoming IPL 11 season.
HASHIM AMLA (SA)
Hashim Amla has also played for Kings XI Punjab in IPL for two seasons, scoring 420 runs in just 10 matches in IPL 2017, including two centuries and a strike rate of 145.83.
A deceptively fast scoring batsman in T20s, Amla is known for taking fewer risks for more gains. He has played 132 T20 matches, scoring 4049 runs with 2 centuries and strike rate of 130.06 and an average of 34.60. This is an envious record, but for some reason, IPL has never warmed up to having Amla for a longer haul.
However, here is another chance for the SRH and RR franchises to get the talented South African in their teams for IPL 2018.
JOE ROOT (ENG)
Joe Root had put his name in the IPL 2018 auction with a base price of INR 2 cr. He was highly hopeful of getting a bid from one of the eight franchises. But to the surprise of many, Root went unsold and he expressed sadness and surprise at the result.
The reason behind him not getting any bid for his lack of exposure in the T20 format. He has played 57 T20s, scoring 1325 runs with 7 fifties and the best score of 92*. He doesn’t play in any T20 league and even in the T20s, he has not played in the T20I format for England since the 2016 World T20.
He wasn’t picked for the T20I matches against NZ recently and it didn’t help in Root getting an IPL bid. However, Root has shown that he is brilliant in the format, just look at his innings against South Africa in the World T20 2016. He is also a brilliant fielder in slips and inner circle.
It is just the matter of having faith in his abilities and giving him a chance to play in IPL, to enjoy rich dividends.