10 Players Likely to Thrive in UAE Conditions in the IPL
This year’s Indian Premier League—IPL—schedule contains something a bit different from the norm, with the first 20 games of the tournament scheduled to be played outside of India in the United Arab Emirates.
Moved to the UAE because of a clash with India’s general elections, it presents whole new challenges and possibilities for the eight franchises and their rosters of international stars and homegrown talent.
Players will need to adapt to what will be unfamiliar conditions to many, however, there will be some players likely to be licking their lips at the prospect of playing in the UAE ahead of returning to India for the tournament’s second phase in early May.
With that in mind, read on for 10 players who will be confident of making a big impact in the UAE, and who may well find conditions to their liking.
1. Chris Gayle
Capable of scoring runs on virtually any surface—and being aggressive while doing so—Chris Gayle will be especially confident on the flat pitches of the UAE.
The man who scored a century in last year’s IPL will be confident of repeating the trick in either the UAE or India, and may well fancy his chances in the opening phase.
2. Shakib Al Hasan
With spinners largely the bowlers who profit most from the surfaces of the UAE, Shakib Al Hasan will be hopeful of capitalising with his left-arm spin bowling on pitches that may well offer some turn.
Shakib is also a batsman capable of playing a superb innings too, and he will be doubly confident of contributing with both bat and ball in the first phase.
3. Kevin Pietersen
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen will have a point to prove as captain of the Delhi Daredevils, and will want to use the opening phase of the IPL to show his country what they are missing.
On the even bounce of the UAE, he will surely be capable of playing some big innings for his side from the outset.
4. Dale Steyn
It seems an obvious choice, but South African Dale Steyn remains one of the best seamers in the world on any given surface—even those that may not favour fast bowling.
His performances in the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh showed he is more than capable of taking wickets on pitches that are not conducive to pace, and he should do the same in the UAE.
5. Virat Kohli
It has been a very successful few months for Virat Kohli, who looks in superb form and should continue that in the UAE.
A stalwart of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kohli was highly impressive for India in the recent World Twenty20 and should profit again on the flat pitches in the UAE.
6. Jacques Kallis
Recent international retiree Jacques Kallis returns to the IPL and will once again be a player to watch, especially in the UAE.
His nagging seamers, combined with his solid batting mean he is a handful on any pitch, and he will be incredibly useful for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
7. Mike Hussey
Last year’s top batsman, look for Mike Hussey to pick up where he left off—only this time for the Mumbai Indians rather than the Chennai Super Kings.
Retired from international cricket for over a year, in Australia’s Big Bash League he showed that he still has plenty to offer in Twenty20 cricket.
8. Corey Anderson
New Zealander Corey Anderson has exploded onto the scene in the last few months, and seems well set to enjoy a successful time in the UAE before the move to India.
Highly regarded at international cricket level, Anderson will be hopeful of translating his explosive batting and solid bowling to the UAE with the Mumbai Indians.
9. Amit Mishra
Indian spinner Amit Mishra is another player who enjoyed a superb World Twenty20 and could well enjoy a similarly successful time in the UAE.
He has had something of an inconsistent international career, but his past in the IPL should serve him well in its opening phase outside India.
10. Ravichandran Ashwin
Finally, another Indian spinner who will be hopeful of success in the UAE is Ravichandran Ashwin—a successful spinner and a capable batsman.
Proving himself to be India’s premier spin bowler, Ashwin may well enjoy bowling in the UAE on some spin-friendly pitches.