Former Indian Aakash Chopra has picked ten players who could be at an advantage ahead of IPL 2022. The BCCI reportedly plans to make IPL 2022 a ten-team affair, with a mega auction likely to take place ahead of the tournament. Aakash Chopra earmarked ten cricketers who could benefit from the addition of two new teams and picked seven overseas amongst those.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ spinner Kuldeep Yadav was the first to make the list as Aakash Chopra thinks he has done well in T20 cricket but is not getting a chance now. He predicts that a change of franchise will do him good. The 43-year old next went with Chris Lynn, who he thinks has not got enough opportunities either as Mumbai Indians benched him in IPL 2021 when Quinton de Kock was available.
“The first name I am keeping in this list is Kuldeep Yadav. He has been there with KKR for so many years, has done exceedingly well in T20 cricket but is not getting the chances now. He might have asked KKR earlier also to release him as some other team might play him. The second name in my list is Chris Lynn. He has also not got too many opportunities. He was with KKR earlier where one year was not that good and after that went to Mumbai. Mumbai also played him a couple of matches and when Quinton de Kock was available, that was it, over and done,” Aakash highlighted in his Youtube channel.
Aakash Chopra picked another Knight Riders’ player in Lockie Ferguson, hailing him as a runaway match-winner since he could bowl yorkers at death and has knuckle balls and cutters. The former Indian player also chose his Kiwi teammate in Mitchell Santner, stating he bowls economically and could play the big shots at will.
“The third name, again a Kolkata connection, is Lockie Ferguson. He is a runaway match-winner. He is a four-over bowler in T20 cricket, who can bowl the yorkers at the death, he also has a knuckle ball and a leg-cutter. Next I have kept CSK’s Mitchell Santner. He gives 3-4 overs with the ball and can play the big shots. He is an all-rounder kind of player who will give you a lot. He can get quite a few chances to play in some other franchise,” the 43-year old said.
The cricketer-turned-commentator made an interesting choice in Ajinkya Rahane, who he stated as having scored two centuries and one of the only two players to hit six boundaries in an over. Aakash feels that Rahane does not deserve to be restricted to the bench and needs to play.
“Another interesting name I am bringing here is Ajinkya Rahane. He has hit a century in the IPL, he also has the record of hitting 6 fours in an over, one of the three people who have done that and now suddenly he has been put in cold storage,” the ten-Test veteran stated.
Aakash Chopra names two England stars in the remaining five players:
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane made an entry to the list as Aakash Chopra feels the leggie does well in the T20 leagues but has not been able to get many chances in IPL. Chopra also pointed out that the Delhi Capitals released him and went unsold in the IPL 2021 auction.
“After that, I am picking Sandeep Lamichhane. He does well in other T20 leagues but he is not getting a chance here at all. He was released by Delhi but no one bought him. Come the big auction, every team needs a leg-spinner and you will not get 10 Indians, even if you include two or three overseas,” Aakash Chopra observed.
The 43-year old went on to pick England’s Jason Roy and feels that he could tear the bowlers apart in flat wickets and franchise would surely bid for him. Chopra added Rajasthan Royals’ Shreyas Gopal to the list as the leggie has not been getting consistent chances despite delivering compelling performances. The ten-Test veteran thinks that every team needs a wrist-spinner.
“Jason Roy, when the new franchises come, the ten teams will need 27-28 openers. So he will definitely be one of the openers. He will also smash the bowlers a lot if he goes to a franchise where the pitch is good. Shreyas Gopal, he is with Rajasthan but not getting the opportunities. He took 20-odd wickets one year but has not got consistent chances after that. Everyone needs a leg-spinner but when Rahul Tewatia was there, he was not being played,” the cricketer-turned-commentator underlined.
Aakash Chopra backs England Test captain Joe Root to lead one of the teams. The 43-year old understands that Root is not a regular fixture in England’s T20 team; however, he remains a handy batsman and plays spin well. Lastly, Chopra added Kolkata’s Tim Seifert to the list as he plays a lot of unconventional and is likely to get opportunities if there are ten teams. Seifert also provides a keeping option.
“I am once again going with KKR. I am thinking about Tim Seifert. He is a mini McCullum, who plays the unconventional shots. He was with KKR but didn’t get the chance to play but he is likely to get more chances when there are ten teams. He can keep as well and opens the batting,” he concluded.