Less than a week remains for the biggest domestic T20 tournament to begin. The first match of the Indian Premier League 2019 will be contested between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore on 23rd March 2019.
Like every year, there are multiple overseas talents in each team. For two months of non-stop cricketing action, these players garner the limelight and also find a host of new fans.
Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, and Kieron Pollard are few of the foreign players who have made a special place in the heart of the Indian fans thanks to the brilliant display for their respective franchises over the years.
IPL 2019 will witness see many new overseas players. In this article, we filter out the top 5 overseas debutants who can have a massive impact in IPL 2019.
Here are the honorable mentions: Keemo Paul (Delhi Capitals), Joe Denly (Kolkata Knight Riders), Hardus Viljoen (Kings XI Punjab), Sherfane Rutherford (Delhi Capitals), Anrich Nortje (Kolkata Knight Riders), Oshane Thomas (Rajasthan Royals)
Also Read: IPL 2019: Best economy rates in IPL history
Without further ado, here are the Top 5 overseas debutants who are capable of setting the stage on fire in the coming edition of IPL:
#5 Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Sunrisers Hyderabad roped in wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow for a sum of ₹ 2.20 crores at the IPL 2019 auctions. The English player has been in good form lately. He played a match-winning knock of 68 off 40 deliveries in the first T20I played against the West Indies on 5th March.
The opening batsman also hit 37 off 31 balls in the 3rd T20I against the Windies on 10th March 2019. The Yorkshire-born player was also handy behind the stumps and took cumulatively 5 catches in the 3 T20Is.
The relentless batsman has a combative style of play. Bairstow has played 30 T20Is overall at an average of 27.0 and strike rate of 130.2. The right-handed batsman has all the firepower to make a significant impact in his debut IPL season.
The Sunrisers also have another wicketkeeping option in Wriddhiman Saha. However, the Indian player has not been consistent with the bat and hence Jonny may be the first choice behind the stumps, at least for the initial stage of the tournament.
#4 Shimron Hetmyer (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
22-year-old Shimron Hetmyer is an exceptionally talented batsman. The youngster has already played 24 ODIs for the Windies and amassed 899 at an average of 40.86 and a breathtaking strike rate of 110.31. He has made 4 centuries and 2 fifties.
Royal Challengers Bangalore paid a hefty sum of ₹4.2 crores to procure the services of Hetmyer.
The Guyana-born player first came to the limelight in 2016 when he was captain of the U-19 World Cup winning West Indies U-19 team. He led from the front and hit a fifty in the quarterfinal as well as the semifinal.
The top-order batsman recently played an explosive knock of 104 off 83 balls in the 2nd ODI against England on February 22. The youngster has not managed to make a significant contribution for the team since then despite being given an opportunity in 2 more ODIs and 3 T20Is.
RCB was heavily reliant on Kohli and ABD for runs in the previous season. It can be a major boost for the Bangalore-based franchise if Hetmyer can get going in IPL 2019. He is a destructive batsman and has the ability to change the game singlehandedly - making him one of the overseas players to keep a close eye on.
#3 Sam Curran (Kings XI Punjab)
The all-rounder has been rated highly by cricket experts. The 20-year-old has played 47 T20s in which he has accumulated a total of 478 runs beside picking up 45 wickets.
Tom Curran's younger brother does not have a large frame but is a brisk left-arm bowler with an ability to swing the ball. Sam also boards of a fantastic First-class record wherein he has clinched 133 wickets in 51 matches and also scored 1952 runs at an average of 28.70.
The Kings XI have a promising bunch of all-rounders with the likes of Curran, Varun Chakravarthy, and Moises Henriques in their ranks.
Curran is yet to play a T20I but has played 9 Tests and a couple of ODIs. He hasn't cemented a place in the national side but looks set to secure a place in the starting XI of the Punjab-based IPL franchise.
#2 Ashton Turner (Rajasthan Royals)
Ashton Turner was bought by the Rajasthan Royals for just ₹50 lakhs. The young all-rounder came to the limelight when he played a 43-ball 84 in the 4th ODI against India on March 10, 2019. The knock, which included 5 fours and 6 sixes, proved to be a match-winning one. Turner was named the Player of the Match and helped the Aussies level the 5-match series 2-2. Australia eventually won the ODI series 3-2.
The 26-year-old middle order batsman did exceptionally well for the Perth Scorchers during the 2018-19 Big Bash League as well. He amassed 378 in 14 matches at an average of 31.50 and strike rate of 132.63. Turner can also be used as a right-arm off-break bowler occasionally. He is a naturally attacking batsman but makes runs with orthodox shots and keeps it simple.
His athleticism while fielding makes him a complete all-rounder. With the look of things, it seems like Rajasthan Royals have got themselves a bargain buy.
#5 Liam Livingstone (Rajasthan Royals)
Right-hand batsman Liam Livingstone performed exceptionally well for Karachi Kings in the 2019 Pakistan Super League.
The Cumberland-born player scored a total of 321 runs in 11 matches at a strike rate of 130.48 and average of 32.10. Livingstone smacked 3 fifties as well.
The top-order batsman holds a brilliant first-class record. He has garnered 2356 runs in 43 matches at an average of 40.62.
The 25-year-old is a hard-hitting batsman. Liam's ability to bowl leg-breaks can also prove to be handy for the Rajasthan-based franchise.
Rajasthan Royals' Livingstone may play a major role in the later stages of the tournament when players such as Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Steven Smith depart to practice with their national teams for the upcoming World Cup.
After impressing for Lancashire and Karachi Kings, Liam is touted as one of the overseas debutants who can set fire to the stage in the upcoming IPL.
Which other overseas debutants do you think will set the stage on fire? Do mention your opinion in the comments section below.