IPL 2019: 3 stars who could miss the tournament due to injury
IPL 2019 is approaching soon, and is due to start on the 23rd of March. In addition to the general buzz and importance associated with the tournament, the IPL this year will have added significance as it precedes the biggest tournament in world cricket: the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
The year's IPL is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it will serve as a means for the players to get match practice in high pressure situations. Secondly - and more importantly in the context of this article - it will be essential for players to manage their workloads and maintain their fitness for the World Cup.
This extra importance means that some of the biggest stars in the sport might be tempted to err on the side of caution. Players coming back from injury will look to protect their bodies for the World Cup even if means missing out on the cricketing and financial rewards of the IPL.
Here's a look at 3 players who could miss this year's IPL due to injury-related issues:
#3 Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan, a veteran of the IPL and widely regarded as the finest cricketer to have come out of Bangladesh, has regularly featured in the IPL since 2011. He was a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders till 2017 and lifted two titles with them, and then contributed to the Sunrisers Hyderabad's run to the final in the IPL 2018.
However, in the final of the recently concluded Bangladesh Premier League, he sustained a finger injury which is set to put him out of Bangladesh's next few international assignments.
Shakib will undoubtedly be Bangladesh's most important player at the World Cup. And given that the Bangladesh Cricket Board has already shown its stance on the matter by prohibiting certain players (such as Mustafizur Rahman) from competing in T20 leagues for fitness reasons, it looks likely that the Sunrisers Hyderabad will have to do without their ace all-rounder for this year's tournament.
#2 Steven Smith
Steven Smith, the former Australian captain who is preparing to make his international comeback later this year, looks set to miss this year's edition of the IPL with an elbow issue The injury, which he sustained while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League, has put him out of cricket for a currently undefined period of time.
Not only is the injury set to delay his international comeback, but it has also raised questions about whether he will be fit in time for the World Cup and the away Ashes against England, a series which many in Australia regard as important as the World Cup, if not more.
Considering the immense value that Smith will bring to the Australian side as a batsman in both the Ashes and the World Cup, it is almost certain that Cricket Australia will hold him back from competing in the IPL this year.
#1 David Warner
David Warner, unarguably one of the finest performers in the history of the IPL, also looks set to miss the IPL as he gears up for his international comeback. He has sustained an oddly similar elbow injury to Steven Smith, the other member of the Australian team that was serving a one-year ban following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in early 2018.
Warner too picked up this injury while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League. Like Smith, Warner had also been instrumental to the team's success in the period preceding his ban, and Australia would be hoping that he fashions a turnaround in the World Cup and in the Ashes.
While Warner has almost single-handedly carried the Sunrisers Hyderabad to success in previous editions, last season they did show that they could win without him by making it to the final. With the chances of Warner's participation in the IPL looking bleak, it seems that they will have to do the same again.