The Indian Premier League trade window ahead of the 2020 season saw some experienced players find a new home. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane’s moves would have surprised a few. Over the past two years, Kings XI Punjab, under the spin ace, have showed glimpses of promise but their campaigns ended on a whimper, and they did not make it to the playoffs.
Mumbai Indians may have just pulled off the biggest coup after snapping up New Zealand pace spearhead Trent Boult to bolster their pace attack. Watching Jasprit Bumrah and the left-armer bowl in tandem has all the makings of a fast-bowling feast. It was surprising to see Rajasthan Royals letting go of all-rounder K Gowtham, who has been a revelation in limited-overs cricket in the domestic circuit.
Rajasthan have gambled with Rahul Tewatia and Ankit Rajpoot while leg-spinner Mayank Markande’s time with Mumbai Indians came to an end. He will be going to Delhi Capitals.
(Wait, scratch that. He has since been traded from the Capitals to the Royals.)
While the list of players released by franchises make for another fascinating reading, here is an overview of how the teams fared at the end of what was a busy trade window.
Reigning champions Mumbai Indians were in no mood sit back on their glory and have made some smart trade moves. West Indian Sherfane Rutherford is a handy pinch-hitting option at the top of the order. In all probability, he will be fighting for a place at the top of the order with wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. The South African wicketkeeper had played an important hand in Mumbai Indians’ title win.
It may well be a straight shoot-out between the New Zealanders after all. Mitchell McClenaghan has played a part in many victories for the four-time champion over the years. Boult, though, adds more pedigree and strength in depth. As mentioned above, a bowling line-up of Boult, Bumrah and Malinga sounds frightening for opponents.
Dhawal Kulkarni returns to his hometown and will provide crucial backup.
Markande, after a dream start, saw himself go down in the pecking order following the rise of Rahul Chahar. The spin bowling department remains a concern but the auction could take care of that.
Trade ins: Sherfane Rutherford, Trent Boult, Dhawal Kulkarni.
Trade outs: Mayank Markande, Siddhesh Lad.
There were changes, and then some.
Delhi Capitals, following their rebranding, enjoyed a good run in the IPL, and after a long wait, reached the play-offs in the season gone by.
But, the team management went out and made more changes to their XI. With veteran Ashwin, they have added quality to the spin department. Delhi’s surge last year was built on their Indian core in the batting lineup while the bowling lacked a bit of class apart from Kagiso Rabada. While they have Axar Patel and seasoned pro Amit Sharma, Ashwin adds a different dimension and know-how. He is India’s No 1 spinner for a reason and the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch should offer help to the spinners.
The decision to bring Rahane adds a bit of intrigue. They already have Shikhar Dhawan playing the anchor role at the top of the order. It won’t be surprising to see Delhi go for another top-order batsman during the auctions. Playing Rahane and Steve Smith in the XI was a tactic that already didn’t work for Rajasthan Royals. But Ricky Ponting might just decide to give Dhawan a free hand at the top as we saw last season and use Rahane in the middle-order than lacks any real experience. The Mumbaikar could be the insurance for an aggressive top four comprising of Dhawan, Shaw, Iyer and Pant.
Ins: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane
Outs: Jagadeesha Suchith, Sherfane Rutherford, Trent Boult, Rahul Tewatia
Rajasthan Royals were ruthless in the trade window (as well as releasing 11 other players) and even let go of K Gowtham and Rahane, someone who played 100 games for them.
Gowtham’s trade is a bit of a 50-50 call at the very least. The Karnataka all-rounder’s recent feats are well documented, and it comes as a surprise that the management felt he was surplus to requirements. They would not have as much hesitation letting go of Kulkarni.
Ankit Rajpoot and Rahul Tewatia bolster their bench while leg-spinner Markande will give company to Shreyas Gopal, who had a terrific outing last season. Royals have also since let go of New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi so the addition of Markande makes more sense, opening up an overseas slot.
Rahane’s release, as mentioned above, is one that caught everyone by surprise. But Royals were finding it hard to accommodate Smith and Rahane in the lineup and they seem to have decided the Australian is the way forward, as the leader of the unit.
Rajasthan, otherwise, have a settled core but the lower middle-order could do with another star player, now that Gowtham is no longer a part of their setup.
Ins: Ankit Rajpoot, Rahul Tewatia, Mayank Markande.
Outs: Ajinkya Rahane, Krishnappa Gowtham, Dhawal Kulkarni
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab continue to chop and change like nobody’s business as they search for the elusive IPL crown. In the process, Ashwin gets the boot, and it is easily the biggest exit in the trade window.
As a replacement, they have managed to acquire the services of Gowtham. The spinning all-rounder has been a bit of a problem area for a number of years for Punjab, apart from Axar Patel filling the role briefly. J Suchith also widens the spin bowling options. However, the number of high-profile players let go by the team management is what has grabbed eyeballs.
David Miller’s long career with the 2014 finallists has also come to an end.
With the highest purse remaining among all teams, wholesale changes are expected by new head coach Anil Kumble. With KL Rahul and Chris Gayle still in their ranks, and Mayank Agarwal in fine form, the bolstering needs to happen pretty much everywhere else.
Ins: Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham,
Outs: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot.