IPL 2020: 1 Pakistan cricketer that would improve each IPL team

Isaac Marshall
·6-min read

Sohail Tanvir was the leading wicket taker for the first ever IPL.
Sohail Tanvir was the leading wicket taker for the first ever IPL.

After seeing all the teams in action in this year's edition of the IPL, their strengths and weaknesses have become apparent. Some teams are struggling to cover for regular starters, while changes in balance and overseas picks have caused substantial gaps in some first XI's. So, if Pakistani players were permitted to take part in the IPL, who would be top of each teams' auction list? Let's have a look.

One Pakistani player that would improve each IPL team

Chennai Super Kings: Babar Azam

Babar Azam is probably the most reliable whit ball batsman in the world.
Babar Azam is probably the most reliable whit ball batsman in the world.

Reliability seems to be Chennai's number one concern in the IPL, and they may have to consider roping in overseas top-order batsman and pacers. As they have recruited younger pace bowlers like Sam Curran and Lungi Ngidi for the current season and already have spinners covered very well, with Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir in their ranks, the Super Kings will need to focus on recruiting overseas openers soon.

It would be fantastic if they turn to Babar Azam. Babar's constant solid starts and reliable strike rate would be ideal for Chennai to build around.

Delhi Capitals: Khushdil Shah

Khushdil Shah would be a good fit for the Capitals. Alex Carey is the only genuine batting alternative to Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis, and it's hard to see why he would be picked given his most famed prowess is as a keeper.

Khushdil would be a nice choice to battle with Hetmyer for his spot, given the West Indian has been pushed down further than Delhi originally intended, with Iyer and Pant taking the three and four role.

Khushdil Shah made his T20I debut against Australia.
Khushdil Shah made his T20I debut against Australia.

Young 25-year-old prospect Khushdil smashed a 35 ball ton against the likes of Sohail Khan, Mohammad Hasnain and an in form Anwar Ali. He is likely to be Pakistan's finisher in the future, as he is their most destructive batsman. He can also keep wickets, which adds an extra dynamic to his usefulness as a reserve, and this aspect should also be used by Pakistan.

Kings XI Punjab: Wahab Riaz

Wahab Riaz is congratulated after picking up a wicket against England.
Wahab Riaz is congratulated after picking up a wicket against England.

Kings XI are crying out for an experienced death bowler this IPL. Chris Jordan has not been up to the mark, and their unwillingness to play Hardus Viljoen makes it unlikely that he'll ever be a first choice player.

Wahab Riaz would be a good addition to Kings XI in the IPL. The experienced left-armer would give them a variation at the death, partnering Arshdeep Singh and Mohammad Shami. Since his international comeback, Riaz has been very consistent in his T20 performances.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Shadab Khan

Kolkata Knight Riders have one of the strongest sets of overseas players for their first XI in this IPL. Eoin Morgan will be given time to settle, all-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell are always guaranteed picks, while Pat Cummins is solidly backed up by rapid Kiwi Lockie Ferguson and the dangerous swing bowler Ali Khan.

To give KKR some variation, Shadab Khan might be a good pick. A genuine batsman, Shadab can bat anywhere from three to the finisher role. Shadab always maintains the run rate when batting high up, while also having the ability to stop the rut. His bowling would also be invaluable as Shadab is one of the world's premier leg-spinners.

Shadab Khan is now one of the world's elite leg spinners and all-rounders.
Shadab Khan is now one of the world's elite leg spinners and all-rounders.

With Kuldeep Yadav falling out of favour as a sure pick in the IPL, an all-rounder like Shadab might be a useful inclusion, while he could also be a fantastic alternative to Sunil Narine or Andre Russell; batting in the top six and bowling three or four overs.

An additional piece of information to cement this choice is Shadab having represented Trinbago Knight Riders, which has always given a player a better chance of being picked for KKR in the IPL. Past players who were picked after representing TKR include Darren Bravo, Rovman Powell, Javon Searles and the aforementioned Ali Khan.

Mumbai Indians: Shaheen Afridi

Even at the age of 20, Shaheen Afridi is capable of blowing any team away.
Even at the age of 20, Shaheen Afridi is capable of blowing any team away.

The IPL's most successful franchise have always had a merry-go-round of overseas pace bowlers. This years' choices, Trent Boult and James Pattinson, have been solid. but another top class pacer would really cement Mumbai's dominance and starting XI.

Shaheen Afridi would be fantastic for Mumbai's balance. Able to open the bowling or come in first change, he could alternate with Bumrah based on the opposition while Boult always takes the new ball.

Rajasthan Royals: Kamran Akmal

The only player on the list who has already featured in the IPL, Kamran Akmal would be a good fit for the Royals a second time around. The experienced and dangerous opener would be ideal as a straight-swap back-up for Jos Buttler, knowing their bench only compromises of David Miller for batsmen in the top six and no wicket-keepers.

Kamran Akmal represented Rajasthan Royals in 2009.
Kamran Akmal represented Rajasthan Royals in 2009.

While you might argue Robin Uthappa and Sanju Samson could take the gloves, so Rajasthan could just go for an out-and-out opening batsman to be a reserve, Uthappa is not absolutely certain as a first choice player and Samson isn't used to donning the gloves in the IPL recently, so keeping the same formula might be wise.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Mohammad Amir

This seems like the most obvious pick of the list. Not only is Virat Kohli's admiration for Amir well known and reciprocated, but it would make perfect sense for the Royal Challengers to purchase Amir's services. A world class left-arm opening pacer to replace Mitchell Starc has long been Bangalore's auction agenda, even going so far as having to force Isuru Udana to become an opening pacer.

Even when off form, Mohammad Amir is a reliable and consistent wicket-taker.
Even when off form, Mohammad Amir is a reliable and consistent wicket-taker.

Mohammad Amir would solve these issues and allow a far better team composition, allowing the Challengers to pick either Moeen Ali or Chris Morris as the designated all-rounder at number six. Royal Challengers were always a threat with a stable, opening overseas pace bowler and would look far more threatening with Amir as one.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Mohammad Hafeez / Haider Ali

On immediate inspection, this selection may look a little odd but once we take a close look at the squad, it makes perfect sense. With Kane Williamson having just about cemented his place in the first XI to accompany Warner and Bairstow, the Sunrisers have no reserves in top order batsmen.

Aside from Rashid Khan, who is also in the first XI, the overseas contingent is made up of Jason Holder, Mohammad Nabi, Billy Stanlake and Fabian Allen.

Mohammad Hafeez congratulates Haider Ali on a debut fifty against England.
Mohammad Hafeez congratulates Haider Ali on a debut fifty against England.

Mohammad Hafeez would be ideal to join the orange army as an alternative to the current top three should they need someone to step in. Not only is his form with the bat impressive at the moment, he can also provide an extra bowling option, which would be very well received by Hyderabad this season.

Another top order batsman who can very comfortably open or be first drop would be Haider Ali, although he obviously has far less experience and doesn't provide an additional bowling option.