Lucknow Super Giants’ Missed Opportunity: 3 Players They Should’ve Picked Instead of Nicholas Pooran
Last year, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) had a successful debut season, winning nine out of their 15 games. However, their campaign came to an end with a loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the eliminator game of the playoffs. Despite this, the team is looking to put the disappointment behind them and aim for the trophy under their skipper KL Rahul in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) edition.
At the 2023 mini-auction, LSG acquired the services of players like Daniel Sams, Jaydev Unadkat, Amit Mishra, Naveen Ul Haq, and Romario Shepherd for the 2023 season. They also brought in West Indies player Nicholas Pooran to bolster their batting lineup. The franchise spent INR 16 crore on the Caribbean wicketkeeper-batter, but some believe they could have made a better investment with other overseas players available at the auction.
Here are three players LSG could’ve bought instead of Nicholas Pooran –
Number 1. Dawid Malan
After being overlooked at the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction, Dawid Malan went under the hammer once again in the 2023 auction with a base price of INR 1.5 crore. However, the English batter’s name failed to attract any franchises and he went unsold for the second consecutive time. Despite being a key player for England, known for his aggressive batting attitude, Malan was unable to garner interest from any teams.
The 35-year-old has a solid track record, having scored 1,748 runs in 55 T20I matches at a strike rate of 135.71. In 2022, he amassed 509 runs in 19 T20Is at a strike rate of 132.20. Despite these impressive figures, Malan was not selected by any team at the auction in Kochi.
It is worth noting that Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) spent a significant amount on Nicholas Pooran, who has been inconsistent for his national side in recent games. However, LSG should have considered Malan, who was in top form with the bat for England in 2022. Compared to Pooran, Malan has better T20I records and also has experience playing in league cricket, which could have helped the franchise fare well in the upcoming competition.
Number 2. Phil Salt
English batter Phil Salt is known for his explosive batting in T20Is. In recent times, he has shown his phenomenal capability to help England win games in the shortest form of the sport. At the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, many expected Salt to fetch a high price, but he was ultimately sold to Delhi Capitals (DC) at his base price of INR 2 crore.
Salt will now look to make his debut in the league this year, but it’s worth noting that Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) should have considered him in the mini-auction. LSG spent a significant sum on Nicholas Pooran, who didn’t perform well for the West Indies in the T20 World Cup 2022.
In 2022, Salt had an impressive run with his bat, scoring 245 runs in 13 T20I contests at a strike rate of 161.18. He also showed confidence on sub-continent pitches, smashing 167 runs in seven T20I matches at a strike rate of 157.54 in the series against Pakistan. The English cricketer has proven his worth and should have been considered by LSG.
Number 3. Rilee Rossouw
Rilee Rossouw is a reliable top-order batter for South Africa in T20Is. The 33-year-old has scored 699 runs in 26 T20 International matches at an impressive strike rate of 156.02. In 2022, he hit his maiden T20I century against India at the Holkar Stadium in Indore and also hit his second century against Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup 2022.
At the 2023 mini-auction, both Delhi Capitals (DC) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) showed interest in him in the sixth round. Ultimately, RR lost the bidding battle, and Rossouw was signed by the 2020 IPL runners-up for INR 4.6 crore. He will be seen in the league after eight years, having last been part of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In 2022, Rossouw had his best year in T20Is, hitting 372 runs in 11 games at a strike rate of 176.30. Given these numbers, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) should have considered investing in him as he could have been a better option than Nicholas Pooran. In the T20 World Cup, Rossouw also displayed top-notch form, becoming the highest run-scorer for South Africa with 141 runs in five matches at a strike rate of 169.87.