Here come the champions.
Last year, they won 11 games and lost three. As you are all aware, everyone thought they were going to be bunnies, but won under the great leadership of Shane Warne. They destroyed Delhi in the semifinals and won the finals on the last ball.
The team spent the least last year, and in the process of winning the championship, become the sweet hearts of the nation by coming together.
Last year's result—champions (11-3-0).
Let's go right to the squad
Batsmen (Internationals Starred)
Robert Quiney *
Coach: Shane Warne
Some scheduling issues to be aware of when choosing the playing XI. The IPL starts April 18 and ends May 24. The Australian-Pakistan series ends only on May 7. The English and the West Indies will play starting May 6 and won’t be back. For the Royals, they would lose Shane Watson for the first nine games.
Let’s pick the seven Indian players from this squad. Obvious choices include Yusuf Pathan,Trivedi, Ravindra Jadeja, Munaf Patel, and Swapnil Asnodkar. I would also add Khan and Rawat.
The first five played really well last year. Pathan was a game changer with bat and ball. Jadeja came in late and scored quickly. Patel bowled as their front line bowler and did a very good job. Asnodkar was a pocket-sized rocket. Rawat did well behind the stumps and Trivedi held his own. Khan seems to have taken everyon by storm. his orker in the warm up was amazing. my only worry is that he might not have the mental fortitude to knwo when under pressure.
The Pakistanis not being allowed to play really hurt them; Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal and Sohail Tanvir will not be playing due to India-Pakistan internal conflicts.
Tanvir was the best bowler in the tournament last year and scored the winning runs last year and will be sorely missed. Watson was the man of the tournament and made a name for himself here. He will be playing for Australia for the first nine games. Tait is said to be injured due to hamstring problem. To compound matters, Justin Langer is playing for Somerset over the IPL this year.
The four international players in the XI are Warne, Smith, Dmitri Mascarenhas, and Hardwood. So the batting lineup would be this:
The team at first glance looks good, but the talents seem lacking. Smith will do well and so will Pathan. Asnodkar was a surprise last year, but the good bounce in SA tracks might hurt him due to his height and inexperience. Mascarenhas has to play like Watson last year. the expectation on Jadeja are more and he will ahve to play like rain for CSK or sharma for DC.
Warne will be amazing as captain; he can get four good overs. Morkel will be their front line bowler and will have to carry most of the load. He will be familiar with the tracks, which will be a plus. Munaf is part of Indian XI, but I am still not sold on him. Warne could hide him last year but this year he might be exposed for being the weak link along with Trivedi. Watson was one of the best bowlers last year. We will have to see how Mascarenhas does now.
The wicket keeping is a question mark in Rawat, but they don’t have any other options. Smith is good in slips. Munaf is still a work in progress. They will be better than average, but not spectacular.
A brilliant and inspirational captain is nice to have. A good opening combo is nice. A strong all 'rounder gives the team nice balance.
The team really is lacking for talent. Last year, no one expected them to be good and could surprise everyone with their domestic players. This year, everyone will be aware of them and their players.
The opposition will have found the weakness of their domestic players and put pressure on them by targeting them. Last year, other teams had a lot of changes and were still trying to figure out how to play this format. This year, their opponents will be more settled and can compete as a team.
Last year, these guys had few people coming in and out compared to other teams. This year, other teams are more settled and have figured them out.
Most Important Player
Dmitri Mascarenhas—Can he be this year’s Shane Watson?
Expensive Player Riding the Bench
Tyron Henderson( $650,000)—He might play, but I don’t think he will be worth the money.
Middle of the pack. The lack of surprise will be a big loss. They might squeak in to the semis due to Warne, but I wouldn’t bet on that.