Watch out for them

Watch out for them

Watch out for them

Manish Pandey*Manish Pandey (Batsman, Royal Challengers Bangalore):

The 20-year-old Bangalore lad, the only Indian player to have scored a century in the IPL, is the one to watch out for this edition. From a fringe player, the hugely talented right-hander has become an integral part of the RCB set-up and as such will be carrying his team’s hopes on his young shoulders.

MS Dhoni*MS Dhoni (WK-batsman and skipper, Chennai Super Kings): Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s big-hitting prowess is well chronicled. The right-hander from Jharkhand, also the skipper of the Indian team, on current form is one of the most dangerous batsmen in the world that he showed against South Africa in the recent one-day series when he decimated the likes of Dale Steyn and Wayne Parnell. On Indian pitches tailor-made for big hitting, Dhoni will be one of the most feared batsmen.

* Adrian Barath (Opener, Kings XI Punjab): The 19-year-old West Indian may have caught the world’s imagination with a scintillating 104 against Australia at the Gabba on his debut Test, but he had already fired Indians’ imagination with a ferocious 50 that helped Trinidad and Tobago become the only team to record a 200-plus total in the CL.

* Dinesh Kaarthick (WK-batsman, Delhi Daredevils): In the batting line-up that features the likes of Virender Sehwag, Tillakarante Dilshan and AB de Villiers, it might come as a bit of surprise to name Kaarthick as the one to watch out for. But given his current form, both in domestic and international matches, the Tamil Nadu player has shown that he can match anybody on his day. And if the diminutive batsman were to continue his form, he can prove dangerous to rival bowlers.

* Chris Gayle (Opener, Kolkata Knight Riders): The hard-hitting West Indian skipper may not be available for Knight Riders’ initial games, but as and when he flies out to Kolkata after the on-going series against Zimbabwe he is sure to be in their team’s starting line-up. A fierce hitter of the cricket ball, Gayle has time and again proved to be the scourge of bowlers all around the world. On pitches that offer little relief to bowlers, he can be doubly dangerous.

 Keiron Pollard* Keiron Pollard (Batting all-rounder, Mumbai Indians): When the Trinidad an Tobago batsman went for a $7,50,000 to Mumbai Indians after four-way tie in the auction, it hardly came as a surprise. Just a  few months ago, the 22-year-old had hammered New South Wales bowlers into submission with an 18-ball 54 in the Champions League that had set the IPL franchises’ tongues wagging. Pollard will miss a few initial matches, but his arrival will be watched with great anticipation.  

* Yusuf Pathan (All-rounder, Rajasthan Royals): His one-day career might have stuttered a bit in recent times, but in T20 Yusuf’s utility can’t be dismissed. A fearsome hitter, the Baroda right-hander can turn the match on its head in no time as he proved in the first edition when Royals emerged champions and in some of the recent domestic games. An in-form Yusuf will be crucial to Royals’ progress.

Andrew Symonds * Andrew Symonds (Batting all-rounder, Deccan Chargers): The Australian has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for showing lack of discipline that eventually forced the selectors to axe him from the national side. His international career after a series of midemeanours may be in doldrums, if not over yet, IPL-III provides a redeeming stage for the burly batsman. If the right-hander is focused enough, Chargers’ can surely count on him.