IPL 2022 – Analysing the Lucknow Super Giants ahead of the new season
Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), who are in their inaugural season, were the only team to spend their whole purse in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 mega auction. The franchise entered the mega auction with an INR 59.98 crore bank balance following the initial acquisitions of KL Rahul (INR 17 crore), Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis (INR 9.2 crore), and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi (INR 4 crore).
The franchise, led by mentor Gautam Gambhir, made many savvy auction purchases, including South African star batsman Quinton de Kock (INR 6.75 crore), Manish Pandey (INR 4.6 crore), and Evin Lewis (INR 4.6 crore) (INR 2 crore). Additionally, LSG acquired several all-rounders, including Jason Holder (INR 8.75 crore), Krunal Pandya (INR 8.25 crore), and Deepak Hooda (INR 5.75 crore).
In the bowling department, pacer Avesh Khan (INR 10 crore), who has risen through the ranks in previous IPL seasons and even made the national squad, will be handed the new cherry. England express pacer Mark Wood (INR 7.5 crore) and Sri Lankan fast bowler Dushmanta Chameera (INR 2 crore) would be considered for the opening slot alongside Khan.
Well balanced bowling attack
LSG enters the event with a very well-balanced bowling lineup. While pacers Avesh Khan, and Jason Holder will take care of the fast bowling and deliver early breakthroughs within the field limitations. Avesh Khan and Dushmanta Chameera, both pacers, may also contribute significantly by stifling the flow of runs during the death overs.
Additionally, the franchise features an aggressive spin-bowling department. LSG is spearheaded by wrist spinner Ravi Bishnoi, who has been a standout performer for the Punjab Kings in recent seasons. The team also has a pair of finger spinners in K Gowtham and Krunal Pandya. It would be fascinating to watch whether captain Rahul opts to utilise his finger spin options during the powerplay overs and saves his fast bowlers’ overs in order to provide an extra cushion during the death overs.
Absence of experienced, high-quality Indian batters
While the squad has a powerful opening batting pair in KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, the absence of another seasoned Indian batsman might be detrimental. LSG has also acquired Manish Pandey as a No. 3 batting option. However, he struggled in IPL 2021, while Manan Vohra’s occasional outings in the event have left him underwhelming on a constant basis.
Hooda, Stoinis, Gowtham, and Krunal all contribute to LSG’s fearsome array of power hitters. However, the organisation is rather short of a hitter who can stay around for the whole of an inning and serve as an anchor for the squad. The onus will be on Rahul and De Kock to fulfil that role.
Power Hitters extravaganza
Krunal Pandya, Stoinis, Holder, Hooda, and Gowtham are LSG’s five allrounder alternatives. All five of these hitters have demonstrated in the past that they can deliver ferocious smashes, particularly towards the conclusion of innings, to ensure the franchise’s perfect finish.
With the ICC T20 World Cup set to begin in October, this year’s IPL will provide an ideal chance for LSG all-rounders, particularly Indian players, to make their case for selection. The Men in Blue are on the lookout for a couple power hitters down the order, having already tried Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur, and even Hooda during their current home season. This might be the ideal occasion for LSG all-rounders to demonstrate their worth and be considered for the national squad.
Too many overseas options, too little space in the squad
Rahul and mentor Gambhir will face a difficult challenge in finalising four international players for the playing XI. While all-rounder Stoinis and wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock are expected to be taken up, LSG has plenty of alternatives when it comes to selecting their next two foreign players.
LSG must choose between Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, and Evin Lewis. Similarly, it would be a coin toss between pacer Chameera and Wood to join with Avesh Khan to lead the pace attack.
The overall squad looks a bit of a mixed bag at the moment and the management have to get the lineup spot on, or else the tournament will turn out to be a forgettable affair for the Lucknow franchise.