IPL 2024 squad analysis: Chaos at Mumbai, Gujarat weakened, question mark over Dhoni

Many players will have a point to prove, with the T20 World Cup also looming

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The Indian Premier League is back, so that means everything else in the world of cricket will come to a stop.

Such is the might of the T20 league that everything else revolves around it, be it the international calendar, player contracts or national commitments.

Australia's all-format champion Mitchell Starc and his captain Pat Cummins recently landed the biggest contracts in history, underscoring the financial pull the tournament wields.

But there is more to the tournament. Make it in the IPL, and you are almost guaranteed to be fast-tracked into international duty. And this time, the spotlight will shine even brighter on the best players as the T20 World Cup starts just a week after the IPL ends.

So as we prepare for IPL 2024, which begins on March 22 and concludes on May 26, we take a closer look at the 10 teams.

Chennai Super Kings


Openers: Devon Conway, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Rachin Ravindra

Middle order: MS Dhoni (captain, wk), Ajinkya Rahane, Daryl Mitchell, Avanish Aravelly, Shaik Rasheed, Sameer Rizvi

All-rounders: Moeen Ali, Deepak Chahar, Shivam Dube, Rajvardhan Hangargekar, Ravindra Jadeja, Ajay Mandal, Nishant Sindhu

Spinners: Mitchell Santner, Maheesh Theekshana, Prashant Solanki

Fast bowlers: Tushar Deshpande, Mustafizur Rahman, Matheesha Pathirana, Shardul Thakur, Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh

No matter what issue occurs, Chennai seem to find a way through it. At least, as long as their dear leader MS Dhoni is there. The veteran wicketkeeper-batter guided Chennai to the IPL title last year, albeit on one good knee.

How long can Dhoni, 42, last? He underwent keyhole surgery on his knee last year, and possibly has one more good IPL season left in him. This is the campaign Chennai definitely have to begin the transition phase, with Jadeja and maybe even Gaikwad next in line.

The champions look a settled side with all bases covered. The experience of the squad, more than anything, is what has served them well over the years. New Zealand's Ravindra adds more depth after an incredible World Cup in India.

Gujarat Titans


Openers: Shubman Gill (captain), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Kane Williamson

Middle order: David Miller, Matthew Wade (wk), Abhinav Manohar, B. SAI Sudharsan, Robin Minz

All-rounders: Vijay Shankar, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Tewatia, Azmatullah Omarzai, Shahrukh Khan

Spinners: Noor Ahmad, Rashid Khan, SAI Kishore, Manav Suthar

Fast bowlers: Joshua Little, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Kartik Tyagi, Spencer Johnson, Darshan Nalkande, Sushant Mishra

The most impressive team of IPL just two seasons into their existence. And then, suddenly, saw their star captain and all-rounder Hardik Pandya go back to Mumbai Indians, taking over the reins there from Rohit Sharma.

Pandya holds any playing XI together and he has left a giant hole, which has been widened by the injury to pacer Mohammad Shami who recently underwent heel surgery.

Still, they have some exciting young batters in new captain Gill and SAI Sudarshan. Afghanistan all-rounder Omarzai can be as good as Pandya, while tearaway quick Johnson is the most sought=after young pacer in franchise cricket. Have serious local power-hitting talent in Shahrukh, Tewatia, Manohar and uncapped Minz.

Mumbai Indians


Openers: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan (wk)

Middle order: Dewald Brevis, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Tim David, Vishnu Vinod, Nehal Wadhera

All-rounders: Romario Shepherd, Hardik Pandya (captain), Mohammad Nabi, Shams Mulani, Shivalik Sharma, Naman Dhir, Anshul Kamboj

Spinners: Kumar Kartikeya, Piyush Chawla, Shreyas Gopal

Fast bowlers: Nuwan Thushara, Jasprit Bumrah, Jason Behrendorff, Gerald Coetzee, Dilshan Madushanka, Akash Madhwal, Arjun Tendulkar

Mumbai are in chaos even before a ball has been bowled in anger. There was talk of internal revolt after Pandya was brought in as captain, even as all-format India captain Rohit was sidelined. Long-serving players such as Suryakumar and Bumrah will feel hard done by.

Also, wicketkeeper batsman Kishan seems to have rubbed the Indian board the wrong way after opting out of national duties while not committing to domestic cricket commitments.

Their entire season will revolve around how the Mumbai seniors respond to Pandya the captain, especially since Rohit will then captain Pandya at the T20 World Cup one week after the IPL.

Royal Challengers Bangalore


Openers: Faf du Plessis (captain), Virat Kohli, Will Jacks

Middle order: Anuj Rawat (wk), Rajat Patidar, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Suyash Prabhudessai

All-rounders: Glenn Maxwell, Cameron Green, Mahipal Lomror, Manoj Bhandage, Swapnil Singh

Spinners: Karn Sharma, Mayank Dagar, Himanshu Sharma, Saurav Chauhan

Fast bowlers: Tom Curran, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj, Reece Topley, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Lockie Ferguson, Rajan Kumar

Bangalore bid big to bag West Indies pacer Joseph, which seems a strange decision since they have other holes to plug. RCB's spin department is particularly weak, while apart from Kohli, and to an extent Patidar, they have no good local batters of repute.

Indian quicks Deep, Siraj and Dayal are known to bleed runs in T20 cricket, which again limits their options. Maxwell will have to bowl his four overs of spin regularly, in different phases, to provide some control to the captain.

Also, we will get to see Kohli in action after the star batsman took a two-month break to be with his family for the birth of his second child and missed the entire England Test series. How he performs could well decide if he does go to the Caribbean for the T20 World Cup.

Kolkata Knight Riders


Openers: Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Angkrish Raghuvanshi

Middle order: Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer (captain), Manish Pandey, Sherfane Rutherford, KS Bharat (wk)

All-rounders: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Harshit Rana, Ramandeep Singh

Spinners: Varun Chakaravarthy, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Suyash Sharma, Anukul Roy

Fast bowlers: Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, Mitchell Starc, Gus Atkinson, Sakib Hussain

Kolkata have the best line-up of Indian talent among all teams. Rana, Rinku and both Iyers form the core of their batting while seamers Harshit and Arora have been very good. The spin department is led by Chakaravarthy and Suyash, which means they can pick and choose the overseas talent.

They seem to be fixated on Narine and Russell, even though the Caribbean greats are 35 and their explosive powers seem diminished.

They did, however, go all out to acquire Australia's all-conquering fast bowler Starc for a record price. The pacer has avoided the IPL over the years to be fit and available for national duty, and has made himself available this time mainly because the T20 World Cup starts right after the IPL.

Rajasthan Royals


Openers: Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Tom Kohler-Cadmore

Middle order: Sanju Samson (captain & wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Dhruv Jurel (wk), Rovman Powell, Donovan Ferreira, Kunal Rathore, Shubham Dubey

All-rounders: Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin

Spinners: Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Abid Mushtaq

Fast bowlers: Kuldeep Sen, Navdeep Saini, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Sharma, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nandre Burger

Rajasthan have some sensational in-form batters in their line-up, none more so than young Jaiswal who is smashing big hundreds at a fast pace in Test cricket. Young keeper Jurel, Powell, and an in-form Parag can raise the tempo at any moment.

Their spinners Chahal and Zampa select themselves, such has been their consistency.

However, Buttler needs to prove himself after England's horror World Cup campaign in India late last year. Also, their pace department is woefully short of quality and control, with the likes of Sen, Saini, Krishna and Khan all going for plenty regularly.

Lucknow Super Giants


Openers: KL Rahul (captain), Quinton de Kock, Kyle Mayers

Middle order: Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda, Devdutt Padikkal, Ashton Turner

All-rounders: Krunal Pandya, Yudhvir Singh, Arshin Kulkarni, Prerak Mankad

Spinners: Ravi Bishnoi, Amit Mishra, K. Gowtham, M. Siddharth

Fast bowlers: Naveen-ul-Haq, Yash Thakur, Mark Wood, Mohsin Khan, Shivam Mavi, David Willey, Mayank Yadav, Arshad Khan

Captain Rahul has picked up a quadriceps injury that kept him out of the England Test series. He has been injured for a long time, so will be extremely worried about any slight niggle, given there are three to four months of non-stop T20 cricket coming up.

Caribbean powerhouse Pooran is in vintage form, having played match-winning innings in the final of two tournaments – Major League Cricket in US and ILT20 in UAE. However, Australian all-rounder Stoinis' form seems to have fallen off a cliff.

De Kock is not burdened by international cricket, so should be fresh. Their pace and spin departments are well stocked. A lot will depend on the fitness and form of captain Rahul.

Delhi Capitals


Openers: David Warner, Prithvi Shaw, Shai Hope

Middle order: Rishabh Pant (captain), Harry Brook, Tristan Stubbs, Ricky Bhui, Yash Dhull, Abishek Porel, Kumar Kushagra

All-rounders: Axar Patel, Mitchell Marsh, Lalit Yadav, Sumit Kumar

Spinners: Kuldeep Yadav, Vicky Ostwal, Pravin Dubey

Fast bowlers: Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Khaleel Ahmed, Ishant Sharma, Mukesh Kumar, Rasikh Salam, Jhye Richardson

Talisman Pant is back after a long time out following a road accident. He returns as captain, but will play only as a batsman at the start of the tournament. Having hardly played any competitive cricket, it could go either way for Pant and Delhi.

Their star quicks Nortje and Richardson have been on the injured list more often than not, so the management will be keeping their fingers crossed on that front. Brook was a smart buy during the auction, and should do well in a stable dressing room.

This season could be make or break of the gifted but erratic opener Shaw, who could soon fade out of national consciousness if he does not justify his talent this time.

Sunrisers Hyderabad


Openers: Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Travis Head, Anmolpreet Singh

Middle order: Aiden Markram (captain), Abdul Samad, Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Heinrich Klaasen, Upendra Yadav

All-rounders: Marco Jansen, Washington Sundar, Pat Cummins, Sanvir Singh, Nitish Reddy

Spinners: Mayank Markande, Shahbaz Ahmed, Wanindu Hasaranga, J Subramanyan

Fast bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Umran Malik, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Jaydev Unadkat, Akash Singh

Hyderabad never fail to surprise. They put almost their entire purse on Australia captain Cummins. Which makes for great headlines, but the question now is how will they pick their best four overseas players? Head, Hasaranga, Jansen, Phillips are all proven performers and there is Markram, who is the captain. So who makes way for Cummins?

Fast-bowlers Kumar and Malik will have a point to prove, having been phased out of the national team over the past season.

The biggest issue is that they will have to rely on an overseas captain, which shows the dearth of top quality local talent in their team.

Punjab Kings


Openers: Shikhar Dhawan (captain), Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh

Middle order: Jitesh Sharma, Liam Livingstone, Rilee Rossouw, Atharva Taide, Harpreet Bhatia, Ashutosh Sharma, Shashank Singh

All-rounders: Sikandar Raza, Rishi Dhawan, Chris Woakes, Shivam Singh, Vishwanath Singh, Tanay Thyagarajann

Spinners: Harpreet Brar, Rahul Chahar, Prince Choudhary

Fast bowlers: Arshdeep Singh, Nathan Ellis, Sam Curran, Kagiso Rabada, Vidwath Kaverappa, Harshal Patel

Punjab have hardly any top tier batting talent with overseas players Livingstone and Russouw the only ones inspiring confidence. All-rounders Raza and Woakes might have to carry a lot of the load.

At least quicks Arshdeep, Ellis and Rabada offer cutting edge with the ball, even though their spin department is very light, and will once again have to be bolstered by Raza and/or Livingstone.

Dhawan can't be a long-term option as captain and Punjab, too, will have to think about finding a new leader – preferable a star local batsman.

Updated: March 01, 2024, 6:25 AM