There is a plenty of buzz surrounding the Indian Premier League (IPL) season 2018 as it will mark the beginning of a new decade in the lucrative tournament. Moreover, the two controversial franchises – Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings will return to the cash-rich event after completing their two-year termination. RR and CSK were barred from the IPL for the past two seasons owing to corruption and fixing allegations against their respective owners.
Much like the fans, legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar is also excited to see the incredible talents of Chennai and Rajasthan. In his latest column for Times of India, Gavaskar stated that CSK once again will be a force to reckon with and he also expressed his delight on the murmur of MS Dhoni’s decision to promote himself at the batting order.
“All eyes will be on the two teams who return to the fold. Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals are back and have some incredible players in their ranks. Chennai Super Kings have been the powerhouse of the tournament with the charismatic MS Dhoni as their skipper. Whether he will be able to win his third IPL will depend a great deal on his bowling unit which now has the experienced and canny Harbhajan Singh among its ranks,” Gavaskar wrote.
“There is also Ravindra Jadeja who will be keen to show that he should be in the India limited overs teams. As always the key will be Dhoni himself and the news that he will bat higher up the order means that he gets more overs to cause mayhem and excite the crowds,” he further added.
In the opening encounter of the 11th edition of Indian Premier League, defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on CSK at the iconic Wankhede Stadium on Saturday (April 7).
The Rohit Sharma-led MI side are the most successful team in the IPL. They won its first IPL title in 2013 by defeating Chennai Super Kings in the final by 23 runs and repeated the triumph two years later by beating the same opponent with a margin of 41 runs. Mumbai won their third IPL title by defeating Rising Pune Supergiant in a thrilling final by 1-run last year and thus became the first team to clinch three IPL trophies.
Analysing MI’s chances in this season, Gavaskar wrote: “Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, are not going to give up their crown easily. Last year Rohit Sharma their captain batted down the order but it’s as an opening batsman that he has scored those big scores as he gets more overs to bat. The captaincy made a huge difference to him as he realised how much his runs matter to his team.”
Widely deemed as the original Little Master, Gavaskar also expects plenty of fireworks in the tournament opener between CSK and MI. He feels someone will set the tone just like Brendon McCullum had done 10 years ago by hitting an incredible 158* against RCB while playing for KKR.
“The first edition of the league took off in spectacular fashion with Brendon McCullum playing a scorching innings hitting 15 sixes on his way to 158 thrilling runs. This edition will also be hoping for a similar start and with two heavyweights beginning the tournament and at the iconic Wankhede stadium there should be plenty of fireworks on display,” Gavaskar concluded.