Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener-turned commentator, has picked the top-six spinners to watch out for in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League [IPL].
The 13th edition of the IPL is all set to take place in the United Arab Emirates [UAE] between September 19-November 10. All the matches of the tournament will be played on the slow tracks of Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Dubai, meaning that spinners could play a decisive role as far as the fortunes of their respective teams’ are concerned.
Chopra went on to pick Afghan sensation Mujeeb Ur Rahman at the sixth spot. Rahman, who will be featuring for the Kings XI Punjab, has a plethora of variations at his disposal and the fact that he can bowl both in the powerplay as well as in the middle-overs, makes him a dangerous prospect.
”At No.6, I am picking Mujeeb Ur Rahman. He will be seen playing for Punjab. He has two or three very good variations. He bowls with the new ball and also in the middle overs. His quicker one which comes in slightly is very good. He has a carrom ball and a very good googly. You cannot call him either an off-spinner or a leg-spinner. He is also playing in the CPL, so will be coming with form.” Aakash Chopra said on the Youtube channel.
Imran Tahir occupies the 5th spot in Aakash Chopra’s list. Apart from all the variations that the leg-spinner has at his disposal, Chopra reckoned that his experience as well as the fact that the presence of MS Dhoni brings the best out of the South African leg-spinner, as the major reasons behind his selection.
“At No.5, I am going with Imran Tahir. What a spin-bowling department CSK has with Jaddu, Bhajji, Tahir, Karn Sharma, Piyush Chawla and Santner. They have an army of spinners. But Imran Tahir for a variety of reasons, the first being he does very well in T20 cricket. He has a very good googly with a flatter trajectory and bowls slow flighted deliveries in between as well. And Dhoni will get the best out of him.” Aakash Chopra added.
No Kuldeep Yadav or Ravindra Jadeja in Aakash Chopra’s list
Chopra went in with Delhi Capitals latest recruit Ravichandran Ashwin at the 4th spot. Hailing Ashin as ’24-carat gold’, Chopra reckoned that Ashwin’s skills as well as his temperament in tough situations could prove to be helpful for DC.
“At No.4, I am going with Ravichandran Ashwin. It is a new team for Ash and I feel he will play a big role for Delhi Capitals. He has the experience, he has a normal off-spin and the carrom ball and bowls the googly also in between. But the thing I like most about him is his temperament, he doesn’t get flustered. He is like 24-carat gold. He will be giving 7-7.25 runs per over the whole season, will play all the matches and take a lot of wickets.” he added.
Sunil Narine, who is currently having a good season with both bat and ball in the Caribbean Premier League made his way at the 3rd spot in Aakash Chopra’s list.
“At No.3, I am going with Sunil Narine. His action has changed a little and has not been that effective after the change. But he will have the CPL form and will also get the big grounds. So if Dinesh Karthik uses him well, then this player will do very well and win matches for KKR.” he added.
Aakash Chopra went in with the two leg-spinners in Yuzvendra Chahal and Rashid Khan for the last two spots. He omitted Kuldeep Yadav, owing to the fact that the ‘Chinaman’ had a forgettable season last year.
“I have two leg-spinners left and there is a lot of fight between the two but I am going with Chahal at No.2. His biggest plus point is his brain. Skill-wise he is very good but he outfoxes the batsmen with his brain. The big grounds will also help him.” Chopra said.
”At No.1, I have got the Afghanistan lion, Rashid Khan. I have kept him at No.1 due to 2-3 reasons although we saw in the last IPL that batsmen had figured him out a little. But he is coming after playing the CPL. So he will get into this tournament and hit the ground running. He has also mentioned that he is developing a new delivery. Shane Warne had seen that delivery and he was very impressed.” he added.