Indian Premier League Cricket 2011 (IPL 4): A New Zealand Preview
The 2011 version of the Indian Premier League started overnight.
This year’s revamped IPL sees two more teams added to make a 10-team tournament. Also, most players have moved onto different squads after the majority of players were thrown back into the player auction.
IPL 4 will feature nine New Zealand players, including three in their first year of IPL. This preview breaks down which of them has gone where, and whether they will see much game time, remembering that just four overseas players can be in a team’s playing XI each game.
Chennai Super Kings
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TIM SOUTHEE has been signed by defending champions Chennai on the back of a strong showing in the World Cup. He was the third highest wicket taker, with 18 and was named as 12th man in the World Cup tournament team. He has now got a chance in the IPL, brought into the Super Kings as cover for injuries to Dwayne Bravo and Doug Bollinger. Having former Blackcaps captain Stephen Fleming as his coach should help Southee get some opportunities. Although they also have overseas pace options in Ben Hilfenhaus, Nuwan Kulasekara and Albie Morkel.
SCOTT STYRIS was picked up by Chennai for US$200,000, after spending the first three IPL’s at Deccan Chargers. This is a great deal for a player with Styris’ experience and all-round ability. He should play most games to form a potent middle order, along with captain MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Mike Hussey. Fleming knows what he will get with Styris—a hard hitting batsman, a good tight bowling option and a reliable fielder. At 35, Styris shows no signs of slowing down. This is a shrewd move by Fleming, especially at this price.
Kochi Tuskers Kerala
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BRENDON McCULLUM has a big profile in India, largely due to his 158* off 73 balls in the very first IPL match back in 2008. Then, he was playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders. But now he has moved onto one of the two new franchises, Kochi, who paid US$475,000 for his services. McCullum will likely open the innings for Kochi in their maiden campaign. And he might not even have to keep, which he seems to favour these days, as Kochi also have former Indian international glovesman Parthiv Patel on the roster.
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JAMES FRANKLIN has been picked up by last year’s beaten finalists Mumbai after a very good ODI series in India last year. Mumbai paid US$100,000 for Franklin, which is loose change in the world of IPL cricket. Not that Franklin will be complaining, as he gets one of the biggest opportunities (and biggest pay days) of his up and down career. With Clint McKay withdrawn from the Indians, Franklin may get some chances. But they also have big time all-rounders Andrew Symonds and Kieron Pollard, along with highly rated Australian Moises Henriques.
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NATHAN McCULLUM has been rewarded for his good form in ODI cricket with a US$100,000 IPL contract at new franchise Pune. Older brother Nathan has shown he is a very canny operator with bat and ball, and a superb athlete in the field. This opportunity is just rewards as he has gone from strength to strength in the last couple of years. He could get plenty of game time being the only overseas spin option in the Pune squad, although they have all-rounder Angelo Matthews and lower order pace options Jerome Taylor and Wayne Parnell.
JESSE RYDER, assuming he can stay fit, is another good deal for a New Zealand player—Pune have signed him up for just US$150,000. His time in the IPL at Royal Challengers Bangalore was hampered by injuries. But he is a quality ball striker, and on his day, he will tear any bowling attack apart. He will likely open the batting with South African captain Graeme Smith. He also offers an option with the ball for captain Yuvraj Singh and is a top drawer point fieldsman.
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JACOB ORAM was signed just this week to replace the withdrawn Paul Collingwood. After a good World Cup, including a man of the match effort against South Africa in the quarterfinals, Oram finds himself back in the IPL, after a two year stint at the Chennai Super Kings. He takes over Collingwood’s contract of US$250,000. He has landed in a great situation, as the only international all-rounder of note on the Royals squad. A good tournament here could re-ignite his career, which seemed to be winding down just a couple of months ago.
ROSS TAYLOR, "the million dollar man," comes to the Royals with a big T20 reputation. After several good performances for Bangalore in the first three IPL tournaments, Taylor was easily the most expensive New Zealand player at the 2011 auction, heading to Rajasthan for a square US$1 million. With a T20 strike rate of 1.45 sixes per innings, Taylor will be the Royals’ go-to man with the bat. Captain Shane Warne has already expressed how excited he is to have Taylor on board.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
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DANIEL VETTORI may not captain New Zealand anymore, but he has been handed the captaincy of Bangalore. Despite only just joining them this year after his spell with the Delhi Daredevils, he is seen as the ideal man to lead the Royal Challengers who signed him for US$550,000. This is according to last year’s captain and now team mentor Anil Kumble, who regards Vettori as a player who commands respect. He will have a quality squad around him, including AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Zaheer Khan and Virat Kohli—all in great form from the World Cup.