Ever heard the wonders of Lucknow’s kebabs? Those delicious nuggets of meat, marinated in the secret sauces and then barbequed in roaring flames. Well, for your information, kebabs aren’t the only thing Lucknow’s famous for. Who can forget the essence of the Nawabs who ruled here? And who can forget the last Nawab, the one and only Saif Ali Khan? See, Lucknow’s got it all, its taste, its stars, it’s royalty, but there’s one thing it missed. Cricket. In the past 13 years of IPL, not a single team has represented the city of Nawabs. But there is an end to bad times, and the Tata IPL 2022 brings you two new teams, Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Supergiants.
Lucknow Supergiants is owned by RPSG Group. The new team has drafted KL Rahul, Ravi Bishnoi, and Marcus Stoinis. Ahead of the IPL auction, the franchise announced KL Rahul as their inaugural captain. Lucknow Supergiants had a flavorful auction, managing to sign a lot of in-form players. Let’s have a look at their respective departments and how far can they go?
Led by the enigmatic KL Rahul, Lucknow has a fairly shallow batting order. Except for the skipper, the other batsmen on the team are South African wicket-keeper, the fiery Quinton de Kock, West Indian Evin Lewis, and the Indian duo of Manish Pandey and Manan Vohra. While the line-up has a neat amount of experience, they are relatively low on batting support. QDK and KL would mostly open, and both need to push their highest gears if Lucknow is to stand a chance. In Manan Vohra, they have an abandoned talent. After years of ups and downs throughout the IPL, Vohra might finally get a more regular role to play and can finally take a step towards his dream of donning the Indian Blue. Manish Pandey has been on a decline in recent years and would have to do a lot to grab a spot. Nevertheless, he is still one of the best fielders in IPL. Evin Lewis is a quick-paced left-hander with the famous West-Indian muscle, but then again, reliability isn’t his word. To sum it up, Lucknow’s batting order would heavily rely on KL Rahul and QDK, and that would be a matter of big concern.
One appreciable thing Lucknow did is they invested in the all-rounders and not just any all-rounders. They have the most reliable ones around in a level-headed Jason Holder and an aggressive Marcus Stoinis. Deepak Hooda would complement the LSG’s shallow batting order while providing them with an over or two of medium pace. Krunal Pandya has long been a hit-or-miss batsman, and this is the season he has to step up. On their day, Stoinis and Holder can dismantle any opponents in the death. Krishnappa Gowtham would look for playtime as he hopes to grow in his career. Karan Sharma and Ayush Badoni are the other Indian All-rounders. Kyle Mayers is another West Indian in the squad and would be looking to make an impact when given a chance. Barring a chosen few, LSG again lacks the depth.
Once again, the same old story, lack of depth here again. Ravi Bishnoi has the huge responsibility to lead the spin department. Shahbaz Nadeem would be another bowler to look forward to. Their pace department seriously lacks bite as their best bet would be Dushmanth Chameera. Ankit Rajpoot and Avesh Khan would be used as well, but the matter of fact is both have proven to be expensive. Andrew Tye is one of the other options in pace, but the restriction of 4 foreigners could cost LSG a lot. Mohsin Khan and Mayank Yadav complete the squad.
KL Rahul (C)
Quinton de Kock (wk)
Honestly speaking, other than their starting XI, Lucknow doesn’t have a team to be proud of. It looks like they spent all their money on finding a strong XI rather than building a reliable squad. This strategy may be an ace, but the lack of bench strength drags down the team. Injuries are the biggest enemies for this squad, and if either of their starters is injured, they have more on their plate than they can handle. Their chances to qualify for playoffs look rather slim, let alone their chances to win the entire thing. But you never know, maybe this slapdash of a team can actually conquer a title, which the likes of RCB, PBKS, and DC haven’t been able to.