New Delhi - Six to watch when the 12th season of the high-octane Twenty20 Indian Premier League begins on Saturday.
- Steve Smith -
A year after breaking down in front of
the TV cameras following his ball-tampering ban, the former Australian
skipper embarks on the road to redemption in the world's most popular
Twenty20 tournament. Smith, 29, is no longer captain of his IPL side
Rajasthan Royals but the batsman remains key to the team's hope of
winning their second title after a memorable triumph in the 2008
"I love playing in India, the IPL is a terrific
tournament," Smith told Cricket Australia.
"I am playing all the shots
and got my power back. I am tracking really well."
- David Warner -
Accused of being the instigator of
the Australia cheating scandal, the explosive 32-year-old Sunrisers
Hyderabad opener is out to show he is a reformed character after
punching England's Joe Root in a pub early in his career and squaring up
to South Africa's Quinton de Kock last year.
"Really excited to be back
in IPL. It's a great field, great buzz and energy. Hopefully put some
runs on the board for our team to win some matches," said the
left-hander, who is looking to play himself back into Australia's World
- Ben Stokes -
The 27-year-old England all-rounder
will be keen to return to the blistering IPL form he showed two seasons
Last year, with a court case for affray hanging over his head from
which he was later acquitted, Stokes produced just 196 runs and eight
wickets in 12 matches for the Rajasthan Royals who had splurged $1.96
million for the left-handed batsman and right-arm paceman.
this week with fellow England star Jos Buttler the Royals tweeted:
"Where are Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, you ask? They have returned
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni -
The ageless Indian warhorse
led Chennai Super Kings' charge to their third IPL title last year,
defying detractors who had written off his veteran-packed side.
dubbed the Kings dugout a "retirement home" containing Dhoni and
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, who were both 36 at the time, and
South Africa's Faf du Plessis, who was 33.
But Dhoni's "captain cool"
approach led the Super Kings to glory and a year later, with retirement
appearing on the horizon, it could be the final Twenty20 flourish for
the 37-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman who led India to two World Cup
- Rashid Khan -
The Afghanistan spin sensation remains
world cricket's hottest property as he gears up for another IPL edition
with Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The world's top Twenty20 bowler was snapped
up by Sunrisers for $597 000 and proved his worth by bagging 21 wickets
in his team's runners-up finish last year.
At age 20, leg-spinner Khan
is in high demand for Twenty20 leagues across the globe but has a
special place for his war-torn nation's adopted cricketing homeland
"You perform on flat wickets like the IPL and that gives you a
kind of satisfaction and confidence that I can deliver when I am in the
national side," he told AFP.
- Chris Gayle -
Owners and coaches applauded when
Kings XI Punjab snapped up the self-titled "Universe Boss" in 2018 after
he remained unsold in two auction rounds.
The big-hitting 39-year-old
West Indian did not disappoint, scoring 368 runs including a hundred and
three fifties in 11 games.
The West Indian has said he will retire
after this year's World Cup but is not short of confidence heading into
the new IPL campaign.
"Any bowler is going to beware of Chris Gayle," he