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It’s IPL time: Cricket superstars set to rock and roll with an eye on World Cup

first_img Rajarshi Gupta New DelhiMarch 22, 2019UPDATED: March 23, 2019 09:17 IST IPL 2019: The biggest names of world cricket are ready for a one-month T20 frenzy. (@IPL Photo)The Indian Premier League is an important part of the cricket calendar. Top players from all over the world converge in India for the biggest and the richet T20 league in the world. Fans brave the punishing heat to see their heroes in action and journalists have their hands full – the rivetting cricket is reason enough to stay hooked but over the years, several controversies have rocked the IPL – yet the tournament has survived those hardships and is today in its 12th year.The inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008 brought about a cricketing revolution. Several IPL teams have given India some stunning cricketers. Several others hope to impress in the IPL and make their way back into the team – a few have successfully been able to do that while several others have failed. The Indian summer is all about the IPL, then is it not.Well, not this time. This year, the IPL will battle for space and attention with the general elections. In 2009, the whole tournament had to be shifted to South Africa. In 2014, part of the IPL was played in the Middle East. The entire IPL will be played in India in 2019. However, the BCCI is yet to announce the dates for the knockout matches. Moreover, there is a feeling key players of all nationalities could be rested at different phases with the World Cup barely weeks away.Besides, there is another first. In 2011 and 2015, the IPL was played after the World Cup. This year, the World Cup starts days after the final. No team would want their players jaded and exhausted when they head out to battle for cricket’s most coveted trophy. There’s another school of thought – some feel the IPL could be superb preparation for the World Cup.advertisementIndia have completed their international season – they did very well in Australia and New Zealand before being caught out by a charged-up Australian team in their own backyard. After India lost the ODI series 2-3, Virat Kohli said there were still a couple of slots yet to be decided for the World Cup. He had also said the IPL won’t influence World Cup selection but news agencies later quoted a BCCI official as saying the first month of the IPL will be important.What if Suresh Raina has a sensational stint with Chennai Super Kings? What if Umesh Yadav picks 20 wickets for Royal Challengers Bangalore? What if Rishabh Pant really turns it on for Delhi Capitals? What if Dinesh Karthik scores over 500 runs for KKR? Surely, those performances will weigh in on the selectors’ minds.This IPL will be extremely critical for two Australian superstars trying to work their way back into the team after one of the darkest chapters in cricketing history. David Warner and Steve Smith were banned for a year over their roles in the ball-tampering scandal – obviously, now their performances for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals will hold plenty of significance.Warner did tell India Today World Cup selection was not on his mind but the Australian team management will keep a close eye on how he and Smith perform. Form, fitness. Add these two to the World Cup mix and you have a formidable Australian team ready to defend their world title in England.Chris Gayle was on fire for West Indies in the ODI series against England at home. Can be bring that red-hot form for Kings XI Punjab? If Gayle gets in the mood, it’s good news for both KXIP and Punjab.MSK Prasad, India’s chief selector, speaking at the India Today Conclave, said the IPL will provide players with a competitive atmosphere to get ready mentally for the World Cup. “Rather than sitting and training, this IPL offers a competitive atmosphere.”Prasad said India did well in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England because they played the IPL. But there’s hardly any gap between the IPL and the World Cup. It’s very likely India will rest some of their big guns in the latter half of the tournament.But no player will take the IPL for granted. They are paid big bucks and they play for pride. When Kohli, Dhoni, Gayle, Rohit, Bumrah and the other big boys walk out to play for their respective IPL sides, they will have only one thing on their mind: IPL glory.Also Read | Pre-tournament photo shoot suggests Bhuvneshwar Kumar likely to lead SRHAlso Read | World Cup not on my mind, want to do well for Sunrisers Hyderabad: David WarnerAlso Read | Onus on Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers as RCB seek to end 5-year drought vs CSKAlso Read | MS Dhoni vs Virat Kohli: Friends set to turn rivals in IPL 2019 openeradvertisementFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Tags :Follow IPL 2019Follow Indian Premier LeagueFollow 2019 ICC World Cup It’s IPL time: Cricket superstars set to rock and roll with an eye on World CupIPL 2019: The World Cup has dominated cricket chatter but once the IPL gets underway on Saturday, some of biggest cricket superstars will be determined to make their mark on the richest T20 league in the world.advertisementlast_img read more