By the time you read this, the Indian Premier League (IPL) would be underway and teams would be fighting it out in the harsh heat of the Indian summer. It is a special year for one of the most watched Indian sports events as it is the 10th year that the IPL is being held.
Eight teams will battle each other and these are the same teams that featured last year too. The 2016 edition was won by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and it is once again one of the strongest teams this season.
As you may know, the teams will play the shortest form of the game with each team playing 20 overs and the whole match will be wrapped up in three hours.
The 10th IPL season, which started on April 5, will end on May 21, with the finals to be played at Hyderabad.
Injuries have forced several important players out of the tournament even before a single ball has been bowled.
The biggest name that will be missed will be Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli who injured his shoulder while fielding during the recent series played by India and Australia. RCB will miss him for some matches for sure and the team will also miss in-form batsman KL Rahul who has to have an operation, again due to an injury in the Australia series. RCB will also miss its strike bowler, Australian Mitchell Starc, making it a disappointing start for a team that reached the IPL finals in 2016.
It is not just RCB that will be missing key players-Ravichandran Ashwin (Rising Pune Supergiants) and Ravinder Jadeja (Gujarat Lions), who performed brilliantly during the Australia series, are also out due to injury.
Players to look out for
Australian Steve Smith has taken charge as captain of Rising Pune Supergiants from MS Dhoni and all eyes will be on him. The Australian has batted well in India over the past few months but lost the series 1-2.
Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga is back in action for Mumbai Indians this year after missing the IPL in 2016. His deadly aim makes it difficult for any team to score. Malinga will also cross two milestones during this IPL-he is just two matches away from completing 100 IPL games and needs seven more wickets to cross 150 wickets-by far the most by any bowler in the IPL.
Ben Stokes is the most expensive player in the IPL this year-Rising Pune Supergiants paid Rs.14.5 crore for the all-rounder and the team would be depending on him to improve on their poor show in 2016.
For the first time ever in the IPL, players from Afghanisthan-all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and spinner Rashid Khan will be in the tournament. Both players were picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
For the first time, as many as eight English players are playing in the IP. In addition to Ben Stokes, bowler Tymal Mills, English captain Eoin Morgan all-rounder Chris Woakes are some of the players featuring in the IPL.
Straight from the helmet
In order to make the IPL even more exciting for viewers, the ‘helmet cam’ will be introduced in 2018. As the name suggests, the device consists of a small camera mounted on the helmet of the player. Through this, the television viewer can see the field as the batsman sees it. The device is light enough so the batsman doesn’t feel any different wearing it on his helmet.
The helmet cam is already being used in the Australian T20 event called the Big Bash League.
How much do you now about one of India’s most popular sports events?
Player with most runs: Virat Kohli (4110)
Most runs by a player in a single season of IPL: Virat Kohli (973 runs in 2016)
Highest score: By whom else but Chris Gayle who smashed 175 runs against Pune Warriors (an earlier team from Pune which is no longer around) in 2013
Fastest 50: Yusuf Pathan scored a half century in just 15 balls in 2014
Fastest century: Chris Gayle got to his 100 in just 30 balls against Pune Warriors in 2013
Most wickets in an IPL: Lasith Malinga (143)