Two West Indies players and three Australians feature in our list of foreign recruits who could have an impact in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Overseas players have always made a huge impact in the Indian Premier League.
The league has drawn every top player on the planet for 12 seasons and 2020 will be no different. While overseas players do add a lot of value to a team, some prove to be the difference between winning and losing more often than not.
We take a look at five players who hold the key to their team’s fortunes:
Andre Russell – Kolkata Knight Riders
The two-time champions may have a new leader in Eoin Morgan, but the key to their success this season, like the previous one, lies in the hands of their talisman Andre Russell.
The reigning MVP scored 510 runs and picked up 11 wickets in 14 matches, often playing a game-changing knock for the Knight Riders. Russell is coming into the tournament on the back of a good campaign in the Caribbean Premier League where he scored 222 runs in just nine matches.
Russell is the Knight Riders’ X-factor and they need him to deliver if they are to go the distance this year.
Kieron Pollard – Mumbai Indians
Speaking of the Caribbean Premier League, winners Trinbago Knight Riders won the title undefeated under the leadership of Kieron Pollard.
The all-rounder had an outstanding season, scoring 207 runs at a scarcely believable average of 51.75 and a ridiculous strike rate of 204.95. Pollard has been a mainstay in the Mumbai Indians side since joining the team in 2011.
With Lasith Malinga absent, Pollard, alongside Rohit Sharma, will be the leaders in the Mumbai Indians locker room and the duo will not only have to lead the reigning champions by experience but also by example.
Pat Cummins – Kolkata Knight Riders
The Knight Riders raised a lot of eyebrows when they shelled 15.5 crores for Australian pacer Pat Cummins, but given his record in the shortest format of the game, it comes as little surprise why the two-time champions were so keen on his service.
At the international level, Cummins has picked up 37 wickets at a brilliant economy rate of 6.93 and a tremendous strike rate of 17.84. The Knight Riders needed a premier speedster to pair him alongside Sunil Narine and they did just that with Pat Cummins who is one of the best T20I bowlers in the world.
Glenn Maxwell – Kings XI Punjab
The IPL is returning to the United Arab Emirates after six years and so is Glenn Maxwell to the Kings XI Punjab.
Maxwell scored 300 runs in just five matches for Punjab in Dubai and was instrumental in helping them reach the IPL final for the first time in franchise's history. They lost the high-scoring final against Kolkata Knight Riders in heart-breaking fashion but neither Maxwell nor KXIP have managed to hit the heights of 2014 ever since.
But the team and the players have reunited and are looking to run it back in 2020 and will be aiming to go one better than they did in 2014.
Shane Watson – Chennai Super Kings
With 953 runs in the last two campaigns, Shane Watson has been Chennai Super Kings’ talisman with the bat at the top of the order.
The veteran Australian single-handedly won the final in 2018 against Sunrisers Hyderabad with an unbeaten century and came mighty close to guiding them to back-to-back titles for the second time in franchise's history last season, but came just short, as Chennai lost to Mumbai by the narrowest margin possible.
With Suresh Raina opting out of the 2020 IPL season, the pressure on Watson to deliver a solid start will intensify and it will be intriguing to see if he can rise to the challenge.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain, Prakash Singh