The IPL this year might not have as much fanfare or craze around it because of the tournament with great prestige which follows it. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will start on May 30 and the start of IPL 2019 has been preponed to March 23rd to ensure enough recovery time for players.
The cricket boards of Australia, England, and South Africa have announced that they will recall their players in their World Cup squad playing in the IPL on May 1 meaning that they won't be available for the business end of the tournament.
The teams faced a big problem with respect to the availability of their overseas stars and had to make late adjustments to their targets during the auction in order to get adequate backup players to replace them when they leave.
Let's take a look at key players from each team who could leave midway through the tournament because of the World Cup.
#1 Chennai Super Kings- Faf Du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi and Imran Tahir
You would think that the Chennai Super Kings who prefer experience over youth would have many players not affected by the World Cup as they wouldn't have the pressure of international duty but it's not so.
The Proteas skipper, du Plessis leaving won't affect CSK too much because they have plenty of good Indian options who can bat in the same positions. But the same can't be said about Tahir and Ngidi.
Tahir is a natural wicket-taker and provides energy whenever he's on the field. Ngidi was the game-changer for CSK last season and his fiery spells of good quality fast bowling will be missed sorely and CSK will be without an overseas pace bowler.
#2 Delhi Capitals- Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada, the South African pace bowling spearhead will be a key player for the IPL side, the Delhi Capitals as well. The team missed his services last season when he was ruled out after sustaining a back injury.
The Proteas pacer is in the form of his life for both country and franchise as he won the Mzansi Super League with the Jozi Stars. He is also No.1 on the ICC Test Bowlers Rankings and No.7 on the ODI Rankings. Rabada has turned into a bowling-allrounder which is well suited for this format and has kept himself fit this time around. He will want to make as much of an impact and contribution before he heads home for the World Cup.
Thankfully, the New Zealand Cricket Board hasn't called its players back and hence Trent Boult will stay. There are also possibilities that Chris Morris, the South African all-rounder might be called up but the chances are slim.
#3 Kings XI Punjab- David Miller
David Miller is expected to be the only departure for the Kings XI Punjab midway through IPL 2019. The Proteas batsman is one of the key players for his national side and is certain to be in the World Cup squad. He has been a savior of sorts for KXIP on many occasions in the past and has played many memorable innings for the team but wasn't used properly last season.
Punjab have strengthened their middle order but they must use Miller properly before he leaves as he brings strength as well as stability to their middle order and they must be ready to sacrifice another overseas player for his cause.
Andrew Tye is in the reckoning for a place in the World Cup squad as the youngsters like Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff are most likely to partner Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins in the squad. Sam Curran also isn't in the reckoning for an ODI call-up.
#4 Kolkata Knight Riders- Chris Lynn
The Kolkata Knight Riders have been careful and clever in their selection process this season as only Chris Lynn is expected to leave and even his departure remains a doubt as players like D'Arcy Short and Shaun Marsh have been performing well.
With the return of Steve Smith and David Warner, Lynn's place in the squad is hanging in the balance and how the side does against India in the ODI series will determine this.
The dashing opener has been a key player but KKR has been accustomed to losing players due to injury and this season too, acquired a good replacement for him in the form of Joe Denly. They may have to rest players like Kuldeep Yadav or skipper Dinesh Karthik himself if they make the playoffs comfortably but will remain comfortable with respect to their squad balance.
#5 Mumbai Indians- Quinton De Kock and Jason Behrendorff
The Mumbai Indians possess few of India's most important players for the World Cup and will almost surely rest them if they get a chance to do so in this season of the IPL. Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya will be kept on a tight leash with respect to fitness and fatigue. But they aren't the only players who will affect the hopes of the Mumbai Indians due to the World Cup.
Quinton de Kock, who they acquired from the Royal Challengers Bangalore is sure to be in the World Cup squad for South Africa and will leave the tournament half-way through it. De Kock is a stunning player to watch when he's batting and has taken many wonderful catches and effected many stumpings as a wicket-keeper.
He will be missed but Ishan Kishan will back up. Another player who could miss out will be Behrendorff, the T20 specialist bowler who has grabbed his ODI opportunity with both hands and is now a front-runner for the extra pacer's spot in the Australia squad.
#6 Rajasthan Royals- Ben Stokes, Steve Smith, and Jos Buttler
The Rajasthan Royals have some of the best overseas players in the entire league but will have to deal with them leaving midway through the tournament. Jos Buttler, who was their talisman last season paved their way to the playoffs in a one-man show as he displayed his destructive abilities by scoring 5 consecutive half-centuries and destroyed opposition bowling attacks.
Buttler is also one of the most important players for England in the World Cup and will have to return back to prepare for the big tournament. Another player who they will miss will be Ben Stokes. The all-rounder is among the finest in the world and that's the reason why his country wants him back before May 1.
Stokes didn't perform too well last season but with a match-winner like him, things can change in the fraction of a second. Steve Smith who was reinstated in their squad will most likely miss this season as CA will want him to stay fit for the World Cup as he has already suffered an injury recently.
#7 Royal Challengers Bangalore- Marcus Stoinis, Moeen Ali and Nathan Coulter-Nile
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have assembled a great squad this season but they have to make sure that they get the most out of the overseas players who will leave for the World Cup.
Marcus Stoinis who won many laurels in the Australian Cricket Awards has been in great form in the past year for both country and T20 franchise. He has turned into a complete all-rounder and has made a lot of runs with the bat and has proved to be a wicket-taker with the ball.
Moeen Ali is an integral part of the England squad for the World Cup and though it remains to be seen if RCB will use him extensively, he has performed well for them in the past and they can use him as a differential option.
Nathan Coulter-Nile who's RCB's answer to a quality overseas pacer was a surprise inclusion in Australia's ODI squad against India but he has an outside chance of making it to the World Cup squad so the team has to be prepared.
#8 Sunrisers Hyderabad- David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, and Shakib al Hasan
The Sunrisers Hyderabad will be yet another team who will be affected by players leaving due to the World Cup as both David Warner and new recruit Jonny Bairstow will leave midway through the tournament. Warner who is set to return after a year-long ban sustained an injury in the BPL which seriously casts doubts over him playing in the IPL, though a statement from CA is awaited.
Bairstow has been in the form of his life playing for England and was on the wish list of many teams in the IPL though SRH emerged winners. He is the star opener of the England team and is expected to make it to the WC squad.
Shakib al Hasan will be another player who the Bangladesh Cricket Board might want to hold back from playing in the IPL as the injury he sustained in the BPL would've changed their mindset.