One player each IPL team should try to acquire in the trade window
The world's most popular T20 tournament, the IPL, is back in the news. Even though the 13th edition of the cash-rich league is more than seven months away, the franchises are working overtime to build a strong squad for the next season.
Generally, IPL teams rely on the auction to add fresh faces to the squad in a bid to improve on their previous year's performances. However, the teams have now started to make full use of the trade window to release surplus players and buy resources who can fit into their scheme of things.
The first trade of the season has already been executed with Mumbai Indians trading Mayank Markande with Delhi Capitals for the hard-hitting West Indian all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford.
By now, the team managements will have figured out their shortcomings from last season and identified players who can help them form a strong outfit for the grueling season ahead. Here, we look at one player each team should try to acquire in the trade window in order to strengthen their side ahead of IPL 2020.
#8 Rajasthan Royals - Ankit Rajpoot (from Kings XI Punjab)
Rajasthan Royals did not have the best of seasons this year as the team failed to make it to the playoffs. While the team's batting clicked more often than not, their bowling was a big let-down.
They invested heavily in Jaydev Unadkat, who yet again failed to justify his price tag. Unadkat picked up only 10 wickets with an economy of 10.66 in the season.
The other Indian pacers in the side, Dhawal Kulkarni (6 wickets in 10 games) and Varun Aaron (4 wickets in 5 games) did not look threatening either.
Considering the poor form of their fast bowlers, the Royals would need to look for Indian pacers for next season, and someone like Ankit Rajpoot can come in handy. Rajpoot struggled to find a regular place in Punjab's playing XI and ended up playing just four games through the season.
The Kings already have a strong pace-attack and might opt to give away Rajpoot. The Uttar Pradesh seamer, who has played 23 IPL matches so far, can be a perfect addition to the weak-looking Royals' bowling unit.
#7 Sunrisers Hyderabad - Karun Nair (from Kings XI Punjab)
Another Kings XI Punjab player who warmed the bench for a majority of IPL 2019 was Karnataka batsman Karun Nair.
Nair's career graph has descended rapidly in the last couple of years. Once a premier batsman for his former IPL sides Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils, Nair failed to make it to the playing XI of the Kings regularly because of the presence of the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal and Sarfaraz Khan in the side.
Having said that, he might find a place in a team like Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The Sunrisers' middle-order has been a long-standing problem for the team. In IPL 2019, their middle-order (batsmen from number 4 to 7) averaged 16.02, which was the worst among all teams. The team has tried the likes of Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan and Vijay Shankar, but without the desired results.
Nair is a steady player and can provide much-needed stability to the Sunrisers. He can also open the innings in case David Warner or Jonny Bairstow are unavailable.
#6 Kolkata Knight Riders - Mohammed Siraj (from Royal Challengers Bangalore)
The Kolkata Knight Riders' strategy of investing in young and talented fast bowlers hasn't really paid off in the past two seasons. Losing three of their fast bowlers to injuries even before the start of the tournament inflicted huge damage to KKR's chances.
Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Anrich Nortje missed the entire 2019 season due to injury, which made things really difficult for KKR. Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson proved to be too expensive, and the team eventually ran out of options.
While Krishna bowled with an economy of 9.34, Ferguson gave away runs at 10.76 runs per over.
KKR will be desperate to get pacers like Mohammed Siraj to beef up their lean bowling attack. Siraj came into prominence with impressive performances in the IPL but hasn't been very successful playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The 25-year-old picked just 7 scalps in 9 games while giving away runs at an economy of 9.55 runs per over in IPL 2019. Owing to his poor performance RCB might release Siraj, which in turn could open the doors for his move to KKR.
#5 Delhi Capitals - Colin de Grandhomme (from Royal Challengers Bangalore)
However, they faced some serious problems in the lower-middle order. Colin Ingram, the team's high-profile signing at the auction, struggled to get going as he managed to score just 184 runs.
The Capitals have also parted ways with Sherfane Rutherford as he was traded to Mumbai Indians in the first trade of the season. Thus, the Capitals will have to look for a finisher for next season.
One player who should be on their radar is New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme.
De Grandhomme has the reputation of being a big-hitting batsman in international cricket, but unfortunately he hasn't really lived up to the expectations in the IPL. He scored just 46 runs in 4 games for RCB last season, which might end his time with the franchise.
However, Delhi need experience in the lower-order and might opt for De Grandhomme, who boasts a T20I strike-rate of 146.33. The Kiwi all-rounder can also provide an extra bowling option to the Capitals with his more than useful seam-bowling.
#4 Kings XI Punjab - Carlos Brathwaite (from Kolkata Knight Riders)
It was yet another underwhelming season for Kings XI Punjab. They made huge changes to their squad ahead of IPL 2019 in a bid to win their maiden title. But after a promising run of games in the first half, the Kings ran out of gas in the second.
A big area of concern for the Kings is the balance of the playing XI. Moises Henriques' injury meant that Sam Curran was the only prominent all-rounder in the side.
The Englishman did deliver some eye-catching performances but failed to do so consistently. While he won the Kings a couple of matches, Curran ended the tournament with just 9 wickets in 10 games. His economy rate of 9.78 was on the higher side as well.
The Kings had bid heavily for Carlos Brathwaite at last year's auction, and might ponder having him in the side. Due to the presence of Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Chris Lynn, Brathwaite played just a solitary game in IPL 2019 for KKR.
The West Indies all-rounder had a decent World Cup 2019, and might well get a new home in IPL 2020.
#3 Royal Challengers Bangalore - Colin Munro (from Delhi Capitals)
With openers like Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw in the squad, it was always going to be difficult for Colin Munro to break into the Delhi Capitals' playing XI. The explosive Kiwi opener played just 4 matches in IPL 2019, and might be up for grabs in the IPL trade.
Even though Munro hasn't set the IPL stage on fire so far, his overall T20 numbers are outstanding. The 32-year-old has a T20I average of over 33 and a healthy strike-rate of 162 in the 52 games he has played for New Zealand.
Considering his fantastic T20 record and ability to strike the ball big, Royal Challengers Bangalore might want to get his services next season. RCB looked light in the batting department in IPL 2019, with too much dependence on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Having an attacking batsman like Munro in the top-order will release some of the pressure that rests on the shoulders of those two legends.
#2 Mumbai Indians - David Miller (from Kings XI Punjab)
David Miller has been a hit in the IPL. The South African batsman has played some stunning innings for Kings XI Punjab in his eight-year-old IPL career. Miller averages 34.25 in the IPL, and also boasts a high strike-rate of 138.78.
Unfortunately however, he hasn't been able to stamp his authority in the last few seasons. Miller has played just 18 games in the past three seasons and might be shown the door by the Kings.
If that happens, Mumbai Indians might be interested in acquiring the South African for IPL 2020.
With the departure of Yuvraj Singh, Mumbai will be in search of an experienced lower-order batsman. They did win the championship in 2019, but apart from Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard to an extent, their overseas players were not up to the mark.
They might have roped in Sherfane Rutherford in the trade window, but they would still be looking for someone who has experience of playing in the IPL. Miller can also be a good backup option for Pollard.
#1 Chennai Super Kings - Trent Boult (from Delhi Capitals)
Chennai Super Kings have always relied heavily on their batting might to win them matches. And more often than not, the star-studded line-up has done the job.
But it is high time the Super Kings focus on their bowling too. In CSK's IPL 2019 campaign, Lungi Ngidi missed the entire season due to injury, which came as a huge setback for the defending champions. The depleted pace attack proved to be the Achilles' heel for CSK throughout the season.
With Dwayne Bravo not being the same force he once was, CSK need to recruit a few pacers.
One bowler who can be a perfect fit for the Super Kings is Trent Boult. Boult missed quite a few matches for Delhi Capitals last season as Kagiso Rabada was in excellent form.
Boult, who was the team's highest wicket-taker in IPL 2018 with 18 wickets in 14 matches, played just five games in 2019. He is an experienced campaigner and a genuine wicket-taker, and his ability to swing the new ball and to bowl well at the death can strengthen CSK's bowling arsenal.