The platform where the talent meets opportunity is back to groom some more future cricketing stars. The hype has been around the Cricket World Cup 2019 and rightly so. However, IPL still is the heart and soul of many cricketing fans across the globe.
There were a few good updates and few bad ones prior to the beginning of the tournament. The good one being that the IPL 2019 will take place in India and the bad one was that some major international stars will be missing the entire or a considerable portion of the tournament.
Having said that, in T20 cricket, players come out of the blue. The players who are least expected to win you games may turn out to be the eventual heroes. That's what the IPL is all about. Hence, teams are always keen to keep a close eye on some newbies.
This year too, the franchises have picked up some interesting players who will be playing their first-ever IPL. So let's have a look at the four new buys to look forward to seeing in action.
#1 Sam Curran (England) by Kings XI Punjab for ₹7.2 crore
Indian cricket fans must have fond memories of Sam Curran from the last year's tour of England where he proved to be a nemesis for the visitors. He was always there and thereabout to haunt the Indians. He is young and fiery. He has got an amazing knack of picking up crucial wickets of top-order batsmen with his swinging balls and also to take the game away from the opposition by scoring some crucial runs with the bat.
He's a real talent and he has shown that. However, his performances have come largely with the red ball only. He's a bit one-dimensional with the ball so when it does not swing, he looks a little flat. Also, he is yet to show his power game with the bat at the death against quality T20 bowlers. Hence, he has got a lot to promise but a lot to prove yet.
#2 Shimron Hetmyer (Windies) by Royal Challengers Bangalore for ₹4.2 crore
Windies' resurgence in international cricket has been due to the inclusion of power hitters and match winners like Shimron Hetmyer. He was extremely impressive in the CPL 2018, West Indies tour of India and Bangladesh in 2018-19 and also in the home series against England. He has proven that he has the X-factor to surprise the opposition and he is equally fearless.
RCB has traditionally liked to stack their top-order up with some power hitters. They have decided to go with yet another one this year. Hetmyer, however, has had his struggles against spin and short ball.
Teams these days have all the data available and will be looking to exploit his weaknesses. It will be a great learning curve for him to play alongside legends like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. If he can tackle his little weaknesses, he will be a handful for the RCB in IPL 2019.
#3 Varun Chakravarthy (India) by Kings XI Punjab for ₹8.40 crore
Officially the most expensive player of the Vivo IPL 2019, Varun Chakravarthy would not have even imagined it in a dream. But now he has the reality to cherish. He is one of the numerous players who has come through ranks on the back of their domestic performances and has caught the eye of most franchises.
Known to have seven different variations, he has earned the tag of a mystery spinner. He bagged 31 wickets in the Chennai League 2017-18, spent time in the CSK nets, bowled to the KKR captain Dinesh Kartik and had a good TNPL 2018. He is promising and also impressed former Australian great Michael Hussey.
T20 cricket loves mystery spinners and the likes of Sunil Narine and Rashid Khan have proven why mystery spinners are match-winners. However, they can experience misery too like the Indian uncapped spinner KC Cariappa who created a lot of hype but failed to deliver.
Hence, he will have to be spot-on with his variations.
#4 Jonny Bairstow (England) by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for ₹2.2 crore
England has become a dominant force in white-ball cricket in the last two years. A lot has been made possible by their aggressive opening pair of Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow. Bairstow, who was mainly a test specialist for England earlier has made a sensational transformation into a match-winner in limited-overs cricket. He has been prolific with the bat.
While his partner Roy got picked up in the last season, it's his turn now to showcase his skills in the world's biggest T20 league. Roy struggled after the powerplay when he had to face spin and his continuous failures saw him eventually getting dropped.
Bairstow, who will not be available for the entire season will be hoping that he counters the spin threat well. His wicketkeeping skills may also be tested because the Hyderabad pitch has traditionally been a little bit on the slower side and has assisted the spinners.