Two new teams were added to the Indian T20 League ahead of its 15th edition with franchises from Lucknow and Gujarat now a part of the biggest T20 league in the world.
The Lucknow franchise was purchased by renowned businessman and sports enthusiast Sanjiv Goenka, whose RPSG Group conglomerate successfully placed a bid of INR 7,090 crore last year to buy the team.
Ahead of the 15th edition of the Indian T20 League, the Lucknow franchise has been shaping up pretty well behind the scenes prior to their bow in the biggest T20 extravaganza across the globe.
With two-time Indian T20 League winning captain Gautam Gambhir as mentor and the legendary Andy Flower as coach, Lucknow put together strong supporting staff that guided them to plenty of smart acquisitions and prudent buys at the two-day mega auction in Bengaluru last month.
Here we have a closer look at what Team Lucknow will offer in their maiden Indian T20 League campaign.
Team Lucknow squad
Ahead of the Indian T20 League 2022 mega auction, the two new teams were presented the opportunity to sign players who could form their core squad. At the player draft, Lucknow roped in KL Rahul (INR 17 crore) as their team captain alongside Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (INR 9.2 crore) and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (INR 4 crore).
In the two-day mega auction held in Bengaluru last month, Lucknow went on to make judicious acquisitions, buying international stars like wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock (INR 6.75 crore), Evin Lewis (INR 2 crore), Jason Holder (INR 8.75 crore) and Sri Lankan pacer Dushmantha Chameera (INR 2 crore). Andrew Tye makes for another great acquisition in the T20 format for the team as the Australian gets ready to replace an injured Mark Wood.
As far as their domestic talents are concerned, Lucknow secured quite a few noteworthy names. Manish Pandey (INR 4.6 crore), all-rounder Krunal Pandya (INR 8.25 crore), Avesh Khan (INR 10 crore) and Deepak Hooda (5.75 crore) will all be donning Lucknow colours in the upcoming campaign.
Team Lucknow squad for Indian T20 League 2022:
KL Rahul (captain), Ravi Bishnoi, Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda, Jason Holder, Manish Pandey, Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper), Krunal Pandya, Andrew Tye, Avesh Khan, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Krishnappa Gowtham, Dushmantha Chameera, Shahbaz Nadeem, Manan Vohra, Mohsin Khan, Ayush Badoni, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Evin Lewis, Mayank Yadav
Team Lucknow strengths and weaknesses
One glance at the Lucknow squad highlights their well-rounded and formidable bowling unit, which will be a big threat for opposition batters in the new season. T20 specialist Andrew Tye could be entrusted to make early in-roads into the opposition along with the experienced Jason Holder.
Avesh Khan is another option they can utilise early on even though he will primarily be responsible for keeping things tight at the death alongside Dushmantha Chameera and Tye. Additionally, Lucknow boasts a variety of spin options as well with the likes of Krunal Pandya, Shahbaz Nadeem and Krishnappa Gowtham, all capable of single-handedly turning the tide of a contest on their day.
Lucknow’s batting looks slightly limited on paper and it will be interesting to see how they perform with the willow should some of their bigger names fail to get going. While KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock make for a formidable opening pair with Manish Pandey at No.3, it will be intriguing to watch what happens if the aforementioned trio finds it difficult to produce their best.
Their dearth of tried and tested batting options isn’t just limited to the top order since a lot will be riding on their power-hitting middle order that features Krunal Pandya, Marcus Stoinis and Deepak Hooda. If their middle-order fails to perform to expectations, a lot of the onus will be on their top order, which isn’t exactly spoilt for choice as far as established international stars go.
Who can be the highest run-scorer for Team Lucknow?
A proven performer on the Indian T20 League stage, expect KL Rahul to lead from the front and finish as his team’s top run-getter in the upcoming campaign. Rahul, who finished as Punjab’s top-scorer (626 runs) last season, has been in fine form for India recently, consistently scoring runs on the international stage across all formats.
He has made 3,273 Indian T20 League runs at a magnificent average of 47.43 with two centuries and 27 fifties. As already mentioned, he enjoyed a fine campaign on a personal front last time around. The season prior in 2020 witnessed Rahul win the Orange Cap for most runs (670) and he was also adjudged the Game Changer of the Season in that edition.
Who can be the highest wicket-taker for Team Lucknow?
Avesh Khan looks primed to finish as his team’s top wicket-taker in Indian T20 League 2022 and he is likely to be Lucknow’s go-to bowler this season. The 25-year-old enjoyed a fine breakthrough campaign last time around, notching 24 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 25.82.
Avesh’s performances last year didn’t go unnoticed with the selectors handing him his T20I debut. He heads into the new Indian T20 League campaign as a capped Indian talent with a couple of international scalps under his belt. With more confidence and experience now than a year back, expect Avesh to go from strength to strength and be Lucknow’s top wicket-taker.
Where will Team Lucknow finish in Indian T20 League 2022?
Starting from scratch as a new franchise in any league isn’t easy and that’s even more so in the ultra-competitive environment that’s synonymous with the Indian T20 League. That said, Lucknow can make the playoffs if all their stars stand up and be counted on most occasions although that’s easier said than done with the players still getting to know one another.
Lucknow Indian T20 League 2022 schedule, fixtures and match times
All times are in India Standard Time (IST)
|Day and Date
|Monday, March 28
|Gujarat vs Lucknow
|Thursday, March 31
|Lucknow vs Chennai
|Monday, April 4
|Hyderabad vs Lucknow
|DY Patil Stadium
|Thursday, April 7
|Lucknow vs Delhi
|DY Patil Stadium
|Sunday, April 10
|Rajasthan vs Lucknow
|Saturday, April 16
|Mumbai vs Lucknow
|Tuesday, April 19
|Lucknow vs Bangalore
|DY Patil Stadium
|Sunday, April 24
|Lucknow vs Mumbai
|Friday, April 29
|Punjab vs Lucknow
|Sunday, May 1
|Delhi vs Lucknow
|Saturday, May 7
|Lucknow vs Kolkata
|Tuesday, May 10
|Lucknow vs Gujarat
|Sunday, May 15
|Lucknow vs Rajasthan
|Wednesday, May 18
|Kolkata vs Lucknow
|DY Patil Stadium
Author: Andre Pitts
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Featured photo: Twitter/KL Rahul