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IPL 2023 teams pack a punch

The recently concluded Indian Premier League auction should set up a thrilling IPL 2023 cricket season. Now that we know the final squads going into the season, I am betting on Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians coming out on top. 

Each IPL team gets a total of INR 90 crores (or US $11 M)  to acquire players. Here’s a look at how the teams used their purses to prepare for the battle royal this season.

Punjab Kings

The Punjab Kings came into the auction with the largest purse, but I didn’t see them put their royally generous kitty to good use. Their only major acquisition was English all-rounder Sam Curran, who was bought for a record-breaking INR 18.50 crore. Curran, who is only 24, is an excellent fast bowler, and also can deliver a handy inning with the bat. He is one of the best all-rounders in the world, as he blazed his way to winning the ICC Player of the Tournament at the T20 World Cup 2022. Curran is now set to be their star for the next decade.

Their next costliest buy was Sikandar Raza, an all-rounder from Zimbabwe, who went for INR 50 lakh. He also had a stellar T20 World Cup performance and the team will be hoping both of these players bring it on.  

The odd thing is they then chose to fold, even though they had INR 12 crore remaining in their purse; they could have bought another big hitter player like Manish Pandey. Was that a good gamble? Time will tell. 

The team’s success largely depends on the individual performances of Liam Livingstone and Jonny Bairstow. They are in luck because Bairstow is in the best form of his career. If the two fire, and Arshdeep, Curran, and Rabada get wickets to tumble, the Kings could put up a fight.

First XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, Raj Angad Bawa, Jitesh Sharma, Shahrukh Khan, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh

Secret Sauce: Punjab has built a formidable bowling attack. Arshdeep Singh has really improved since the last edition of IPL, and, when you pair him up with Sam Curran and Kagiso Rabada, you have a batsman’s nightmare. 

Weak Link: The main problem with their squad is their Indian batting options. They lost Mayank Agarwal. Without him, their only established Indian batsman is Shikhar Dhawan. They also have Raj Angad Bawa, who played in the most recent U19 World Cup. Last season, he got to play only a couple of games, and he didn’t have much impact. This season Punjab would do well to develop him and let him play all of the games. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball:  Another poor season near the bottom of the table.

Kolkata Knight Riders

The Kolkata Knight Riders had the smallest squad before the trade deadline and were looking to take the team in a new direction. Instead of waiting for the auction to bid for talented young players, KKR  spent over INR 20 crore ahead of the time in trades to pick up all-rounder Shardul Thakur and New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson. This is an interesting strategy and it remains to be seen if it will work.

With their remaining purse, they were able to sign Shakib al Hasan, David Wiese, Narayan Jagadeesan, Vaibhav Arora, and Litton Das. Bowler Vaibhav Arora looked good in his limited opportunities with Punjab last season. Jagadeesan, a former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) player, has lit up the domestic circuit with five centuries in a row – definitely a player to watch. 

First XI: Narayan Jagadeesan, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer, Nitish Rana, Shakib al Hasan, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora/Umesh Yadav, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Varun Chakravarthy 

Secret Sauce: Great spin bowlers

Weak Link:  Relatively weak batting lineup

Adi’s Crystal Ball: 8th place finish

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians have put together a squad to look out for at IPL 2023. (Photo courtesy: Mumbai Indians via Twitter)

Mumbai Indians were one of the few teams that retained most of their core players, so they came into the auction with a humbler INR 21 crore. In the last couple of seasons, Mumbai has prioritized buying young players, such as Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, and Tim David.  That trend continued this season. They spent INR 17.5 crore on Cameron Green, an all-rounder from Australia. 

Green was my favorite player in the auction this season. At only 23, he can be a formidable threat – he can be an attacking batsman who can take down any bowler and, with a bowling pace over 145 km/h, he can be any batsman’s nightmare. When Australia toured India in September last year, Green scored 50 runs in 21 balls against bowling giants like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Axar Patel, and Jasprit Bumrah

He has, however, not lit up the scorecard since then, and has looked average with the ball. MI will be hoping that Green will bring his magic back in the upcoming season. There’s still concern about Green’s availability following his finger fracture, but his better-than-expected recovery may bode well for the Mumbai Indians.

First XI: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, SKY, Cameron Green, Tilak Varma, Dewald Brevis/Tristan Stubbs, Tim David, Jofra Archer, Jasprit Bumrah, Jhye Richardson/Jason Behrendorff, Hrithik Shokeen

Secret Sauce: MI is building a team for now and the future. They have an incredible top three in Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and SKY. Their pace bowling attack is exceptional, with Jasprit Bumrah and young English bowler Jofra Archer in the lead. Archer looked fantastic in the SA20, South Africa’s T20 league. If Archer keeps up his form, MI will have one of the best bowling duos in the tournament. 

Weak Link: For IPL 2023 MI is missing experience in the middle overs and a true frontline spinner. Their most experienced spin bowler is Piyush Chawla, who has been in a shaky form recently. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball: MI is one of the best teams in the tournament. If all their stars fire, they stand a good chance of bringing home the trophy. 

Gujarat Titans

Defending champions Gujarat Titans continued their winning streak at the auction: they got every player they bid for!  While they picked up Shivam Mavi, Joshua Little, Kane Williamson, and KS Bharat at the auction,  they lost Lockie Ferguson to KKR in a pre-auction trade. Ferguson provided immense value with his pace. He was replaced by Shivam Mavi, an Indian quick bowler who made his sensational international debut this year, taking four wickets for just 22 runs. Although Mavi is not as quick as Ferguson, he will be helpful in the middle and death overs. Another solid buy is Kiwi Kane Williamson, who will not only provide stability at the top order but also great leadership. 

First XI: Wriddhiman Saha, Shubman Gill, Kane Williamson, Hardik Pandya, David Miller, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Ravisrinivasan Sai Kishore, Yash Dayal/Shivam Mavi, Mohammed Shami, Joshua Little

Secret Sauce: Good batting lineup

Weak Link: None!

Adi’s Crystal Ball: Although GT has a well-rounded squad, it is unlikely that David Miller can repeat his career-best-season performance from IPL last year. The Titans will make the playoffs and have an overall successful season. 

Delhi Capitals

Rishabh Pant’s horrific accident has left the Delhi Capitals in a sticky situation. With Pant’s availability still up in the air, the Capitals are left with only one other wicketkeeper, the England international Phil Salt. They gave up Shardul Thakur to KKR  prior to the auction, and used the funds to buy a few players – Mukesh Kumar, for a stunning INR 5.5 crore, Rilee Rossouw, Manish Pandey, and Phil Salt. Mukesh Kumar, their most expensive buy, is a fast bowler who dominated in domestic tournaments. He should provide Delhi with an excellent Indian fast-bowling option. Manish Pandey is also an excellent buy for them, and now with Pant’s injury, his role becomes even more critical. 

First XI: Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Manish Pandey, Phil Salt, Lalit Yadav, Rovman Powell, Axar Patel, Mukesh Kumar, Anrich Nortje, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed

Secret Sauce: The bowling squad is well-balanced and good

Weak Link: Rishabh Pant’s injury has changed their batting outlook. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball: DC has an explosive team, but the injury of Rishabh Pant is a major setback. They will likely miss the playoffs this year. 

Rajasthan Royals

Defending champions, Rajasthan Royals, have retained most of their winning team. (Photo courtesy: )

The Rajasthan Royals came tantalizingly close to winning the Trophy in 2022. They came into the auction with a solid squad, with only a few roles needing fixing. In recent years, the Royals seemed to have a haphazard auction strategy, often signing at the end of the auction many overseas players at their base prices. This year, however, they had a more strategic auction. They spent INR 5.75 crore on Jason Holder, which gives them a potent pace bowling all-rounder option, something they tried with James Neesham last year. They also signed Adam Zampa, Joe Root, and Donavon Ferreira. I think that the Royals had one of the best auctions overall, as they brought in key talent that they were lacking last season. 

First XI: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson, Devdutt Paddikal, Shimron Hetmyer, Riyan Parag, Jason Holder, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna

Secret Sauce:  Great batting attack, spearheaded by Jos Buttler who is in red-hot form. Their bowling attack with Boult, Holder, Ashwin, and Chahal is also well-balanced. 

Weak Link: The Royals don’t have too much batting depth, so if their top-order batsmen fail, they could find themselves in trouble. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball: RR has a well-balanced, experienced team and could lift the trophy at IPL 2023. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad

The Sunrisers Hyderabad had nothing to crow about from last season, so they released their longtime skipper Kane Williamson, now a part of the Gujarat Titans. They came into the auction with the second-biggest purse this season. Instead of going for the likes of Sam Curran or Ben Stokes, they chose to pick English player Harry Brook

Brook was another favorite of mine, as he represents the new movement of white-ball cricket. Brook is an attacking player and has been in excellent form. The Sunrisers paid  INR 13.25 crore for Brook and had enough left over to get Mayank Agarwal for INR 8 crore. Now that the England and Wales Cricket Board has withdrawn Brook from the SA20, they hope he will be available to play in the IPL season. Other major buys were Heinrich Klaasen and Adil Rashid

First XI: Mayank Agarwal, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Harry Brook, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen/Glenn Phillips, Abdul Samad, Washington Sundar, Marco Jansen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik

Secret Sauce: Good fast-bowling options

Weak Link: No established captain. My vote goes to the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Adi’s Crystal Ball: It’s a new team and may not click right away. They will likely not make it to the playoffs in IPL 2023. 

Royal Challengers Bangalore

The Royal Challengers Bangalore made it all the way to the second qualifier last season, where they fell to the runners-up, Rajasthan Royals. They knew their team needed some fixing, and they did just that at the auction. One of the main concerns was Australian star Glenn Maxwell’s injury. Maxwell broke his leg, and it is unlikely that he will be fit to play in the upcoming season. RCB filled this hole with English all-rounder Will Jacks for INR 3.2 crore. Jacks also bowls off-spin and is attacking in the middle overs. Also, they signed fellow Englishman Reece Topley, who can help with their power play bowling struggles. 

First XI: Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis, Rajat Patidar, Will Jacks, Mahipal Lomror, Dinesh Karthik, Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, Josh Hazlewood/Reece Topley, Mohammed Siraj 

Secret Sauce: They stayed with the stars who took them to the playoffs last year, and added more firepower this season. 

Weak Link: Short batting lineup

Adi’s Crystal Ball: RCB have built a good squad, and like last year, the performance of their middle order will be key. A lot depends on a repeat performance this season. If their stars fail to fire as they did in 2022, they could narrowly miss the playoffs. 

Lucknow Super Giants

Last season, the Lucknow Super Giants placed fourth. In this auction, they spent the majority of their money on one player, West Indian Nicholas Pooran. They tried to find an aggressive middle-over player last season, but no one really clicked. LSG also picked up Daniel Sams and Jaydev Unadkat, both left-arm fast bowlers. 

First XI: Quinton de Kock, KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni/Manan Vohra, Nicholas Pooran, Krunal Pandya, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Mohsin Khan, Ravi Bishnoi

Secret Sauce: If Pooran clicks, he is dynamite. 

Weak Link:  Pooran is inconsistent. The team also released players like Jason Holder and could not find adequate replacements. They lack good Indian middle-order players. 

Adi’s Crystal Ball: Unlikely to make the playoffs this year. 

Chennai Super Kings

After a disappointing 9th-place finish in 2022, the Chennai Super Kings had to tweak a few things in their lineup for the upcoming season. Now that CSK is back to playing in Chepauk, and this might be 4-time-title-winning captain  M S Dhoni’s final year, this season will mean a lot to the team. Entering the auction with INR 20 crore, the grapevine was that they would go all in for  English all-rounder Sam Curran. After all, they are known for their loyalty to prior squad members. However, they changed course, picking up England skipper Ben Stokes. Stokes is the quintessential CSK player, who can do some damage with both the bat and the ball. He has experience as a captain, which can come in handy after MSD signs off. 

CSK also signed Kyle Jamieson, Shaik Rasheed, and Nishant Sindhu. The 6-foot-8  Jamieson can swing the ball both ways. Rasheed and Sindhu are both skilled young players from the latest Indian U19 World Cup team. One gaping hole in the squad is the lack of death bowling options, now that DJ Bravo has retired. They will have to rely on Deepak Chahar to see them through the death overs. 

First XI: Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devon Conway, Moeen Ali, Ambati Rayudu, Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Mukesh Choudhary, Maheesh Theekshana

Secret Sauce: Ben Stokes 

Weak Link: No good death bowling options

Adi’s Crystal Ball:  CSK will do well in home games, but they will struggle in the death overs in away matches. They should still make the playoffs. 

Adi’s Power Rankings

  1. Rajasthan Royals
  2. Mumbai Indians
  3. Chennai Super Kings
  4. Gujarat Titans
  5. Royal Challengers Bangalore
  6. Lucknow Super Giants
  7. Delhi Capitals
  8. Kolkata Knight Riders
  9. Punjab Kings
  10. Sunrisers Hyderabad

Adi Anand

Adi Anand is a 9th grader living in the Bay Area. He is an avid sports fan. In his free time, Adi likes to read.