Being a fast bowler is one of the most challenging tasks in T20 cricket. Fast bowlers are expected to pick wickets with the new ball, at the time when batsmen want to take full advantage of the powerplays and at the death, when batsmen are looking to smash every ball out of the park. This is the reason why it has become extremely vital for the teams to have quality pacers in their squads.
The Indian Premier League teams have understood this and have focused on having skillful fast bowlers who can bowl effectively with the new ball as well as in the death. While it is important to have bowlers who can bowl with control, it is equally important to have attacking bowlers who are wicket-takers. Every team thrives for a balanced pace-attack. Also, the fast bowlers are more susceptible to injuries and thus teams should make sure that they have enough backup options.
A lot of teams failed last season due to under-performing pace-attack and thus released a lot of fast bowlers this time around. Here are three teams that will need to sign fast bowlers at the auction to make up for the release of fast bowlers.
#3 Royal Challengers Bangalore
Squad: AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Parthiv Patel, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Virat Kohli, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal.
After last season's debacle, Royal Challengers Bangalore released as many as 12 players out which four were fast bowlers. While they reinstated their faith in Indian pacers Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj, they axed overseas pacers Tim Southee, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Dale Steyn. Even though they have retained the Indian lot, RCB will be worried about their pace department as except for Navdeep Saini none of the pacers were able to make an impression last season. This means buying fast bowlers will be one of their top priorities at the auction.
Also see – World Test Championship points table
#2 Kings XI Punjab
Squad: Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, K Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Harpreet Brar, Jagadeesha Suchith, Karun Nair, KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, M Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan.
Just like RCB, Kings XI Punjab were let down by their pacers. While Mohammed Shami kept chipping away with the wickets for the Kings, he did not get adequate support from the other end. Kings' expensive buy Sam Curran failed to perform consistently while Andrew Tye, who was the purple cap holder in IPL 2018, looked completely out of sorts. Both these overseas pacers were dropped on the virtue of their poor form. Thus, KXIP will need reinforcement in the pace department. While they will have their eyes on the local fast bowlers, they will also need to buy some experienced overseas names. KXIP has the largest purse remaining among all teams which will give them an advantage over other teams at the auction.
#1 Rajasthan Royals
Squad: Ankit Rajpoot, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Mayank Markande, Rahul Tewatia, Riyan Parag, Sanju Samson, Shashank Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Steven Smith, Varun Aaron.
Rajasthan Royals' lack of depth in the pace department was brutally exposed in IPL 2019. While Jofra Archer bowled brilliantly for the Royals, the Indian contingent failed to take responsibility. Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni and Varun Aaron were taken apart by the opposition batsmen which made life difficult for the Royals management. And it was perhaps a major reason for their poor performance last season. They traded in Uttar Pradesh pacer Aniket Rajpoot from Kings XI Punjab while trading out Dhawal Kulkarni to Mumbai Indians and released Jaydev Unadkat which means they effectively have just three frontline fast bowlers.
Considering the fact that the Royals have the likes of Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer in the squad, it might be difficult to accommodate any other overseas player in the playing XI and thus Royals will have to concentrate on Indian pacers at the auction.