A brand new season of Indian Premier League (IPL) is about to begin on Saturday (April 7) and cricket lovers across the globe are eagerly anticipating the start of the eleventh season of world’s premier domestic T20 league. Following a grand mega auction where all the eight franchises went in for a reshuffle and brought in fresh blood, IPL 2018 is expected to be bigger and better. The tournament will also see the much-anticipated return of former champions Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings as they have now completed their two-year suspensions and look all set to return. Among other things to watch out for in this year’s edition will be the various global T20 stars who will be making their IPL debuts and have caught the fancy of fans and pundits alike ever since they were signed up at the auction in January. Having performed well for their respective countries or in other domestic T20 leagues across the world, these players will come in with big reputations and have been signed up for big money by the eight IPL franchises. As such, the pressure will certainly be on once they take the field in their debut games in the coming days.
Here, we list down five such foreigners who can set the IPL alight this season:
1. D’Arcy Short (Rajasthan Royals)
Australian opener D’Arcy Short went from being a relatively unknown commodity to a star entity in a matter of months after his exploits in the recent Big Bash League (BBL07) where he compiled a mammoth 572 runs for Hobart Hurricanes and emerged as the season’s highest run-getter. The young left-hander was instrumental in his team’s run to the BBL final and was eventually rewarded with a place in Australia’s T20 side for the tri-series featuring England and New Zealand. What his BBL exploits also did was to fetch Short a dream maiden IPL contract as the returning Rajasthan Royals shelled out a whopping INR 4 crore to secure his services. Come April 7 and D’Arcy Short IPL 2018 will certainly be one of the star attractions in this year’s tournament.
2. Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals)
Yet another player who took the BBL by storm and was one of the finds of Australia’s domestic T20 competition is Jofra Archer. Adept with the new ball in powerplay overs and a master of bowling inch perfect yorkers in the death overs, Archer also emerged as one of the star picks at this year’s auction and drew the interest of almost every franchise. In the end, he was signed by Rajasthan Royals for an eye-catching figure of INR 7.20 crore and will headline their bowling attack in IPL 2018. Despite recent struggles with injury and lukewarm form in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the all-rounder is one of the most sought after talents going around in T20 cricket currently and Jofra Archer IPL 2018 will be one of the players to watch out for in his debut season.
3. Tom Curran (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Coming in as a last-minute replacement for star bowler Mitchell Starc, England’s Tom Curran will have a lot riding on his young shoulders when he turns out for two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in his maiden IPL campaign this season. Having made his international debut only as recently as in January in highly testing surroundings of the Ashes series against Australia, the Surrey bowler is still very new to the big stage but his pedigree to do well among the game’s elite cannot be doubted. The Englishman’s subtle variations and raw pace make him a dangerous customer and Tom Curran IPL 2018 might just emerge as this year’s surprise package.
4. Evin Lewis (Mumbai Indians)
Ever since his international debut in 2016, Evin Lewis has forged quite a reputation as one of the game’s biggest hitters and looks set to carry the West Indies’ proud tradition of producing one T20 stalwart after the other. It was the 26-year-old opener’s ability to send the ball into the third tier that attracted the attention of three-time champions Mumbai Indians and induced them into parting with INR 3.80 crore to get Lewis onboard for IPL 2018. The Trinidadian has also cracked two sublime T20I hundreds in his relatively short career and has all the ingredients in place to take the tournament by storm this year. Rohit Sharma and Mumbai Indians will be banking on Evin Lewis IPL 2018 to play a key role as they look to win their record fourth title in the upcoming season.
5. Billy Stanlake (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Giant Australian fast bowler Billy Stanlake is yet another BBL product who has quickly made a name for himself as an effective T20 bowler. With a height of 6 feet, 8 inches and searing pace in his armoury, Stanlake is not an easy prospect to face any batsman and has troubled the very best in his young career so far. The pace and bounce that the 23-year-old regularly generates makes him a genuine wicket-taking option for Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Kane Williamson in IPL 2018. Brought in at his base price of INR 50 lakhs, Billy Stanlake IPL 2018 has the potential to ecmerge as a contender for one of buys of this year’s tournament as he goes about scripting Sunrisers’ second title win alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan.
6. Mujeeb Zadran (Kings XI Punjab)
Only the third cricketer from Afghanistan to have been selected to play in the IPL after Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, 17-year-old spinner Mujeeb Zadran will have plenty of eyes trained on him as he takes his first steps towards super-stardom in IPL 2018. Signed by the Kings XI Punjab for as much as INR 4 crore, Mujeeb will also realise a lifelong dream when he will get to play under and alongside Ravichandran Ashwin – a player whose Youtube videos he grew up watching. Following in the footsteps of countryman Rashid Khan, the teenage spin sensation has impressed fans and pundits alike with his variations ever since he made his international debut in December last year. Mujeeb Zadran IPL 2018 is a highly exciting prospect and will certainly be a player to watch out for in IPL 11.