Even though T20 competitions around the world are flourishing right now, there's a singular focus on the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL), which is the biggest of the lot.
IPL 2023 is only a few months away, and all 10 franchises will already be planning for the showpiece event. Among the topics discussed will be the roles certain players will reprise, particularly in the batting department. Getting the most out of the resources at their disposal will be the teams' most obvious objective.
Playing batters out of their ideal positions won't help matters, but these three teams might be forced to demote an opener or two during IPL 2023.
#3 Gujarat Titans
Shubman Gill was a constant at the top of the order for the Gujarat Titans in IPL 2022, but the eventual champions had to chop and change the opening combination.
Matthew Wade and Wriddhiman Saha played the role for GT, and they might not have a settled top order this time around either. Gill, KS Bharat, Kane Williamson and Sai Sudharsan are all not dashers by trade, and opening the batting in the powerplay might be the equalizer for their relatively sedate style of play.
The Titans have spoken about deploying Williamson at No. 3, and he is certainly more suited to opening the batting in the shortest format. Playing him out of position might not be the best way forward, since the Kiwi had a terrible IPL season last year and needs to be in comfortable situations.
#2 Mumbai Indians
Tilak Varma, Suryakumar Yadav and Tim David are bound to be part of the Mumbai Indians' middle order in IPL 2022. The trio played there during the previous season to good effect and should continue the same this year as well.
At the top of the order, though, MI have a few dilemmas. Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan are their first-choice opening pair, but new signing Cameron Green is a destructive batter who made a splash while opening the batting for Australia in T20I cricket. The Aussie's talents are best utilized at the top of the order, something Mumbai might not be able to do in IPL 2023.
Dewald Brevis, meanwhile, has been opening the batting for MI Cape Town in the ongoing SA20 league. The South African may not make it into the five-time IPL champions' playing XI, but if he does, he is unlikely to replace either Rohit or Kishan at the top of the order.
Irrespective of what happens, at least one player in the MI lineup will be deployed in the middle order when they should ideally be opening.
#1 Sunrisers Hyderabad
The Sunrisers Hyderabad sprung a surprise at the IPL 2023 auction by not acquiring any of the three major names on offer - Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Cameron Green. They instead beefed up their middle order by signing Harry Brook and Heinrich Klaasen, along with a domestic top-order batter in Mayank Agarwal.
Mayank's inclusion complicates matters for SRH. Abhishek Sharma scored 426 runs last year after being promoted to open the batting, and he is bound to continue in the same role. Both he and Mayank are spin-hitters, but playing the latter in the middle order didn't work too well for the Punjab Kings in IPL 2022.
Rahul Tripathi, therefore, could be asked to bat at No. 3 with Abhishek and Mayank opening the batting. The dynamic right-hander is another batter whose ideal position is at the top of the order, but he might have to make a sacrifice for the good of the team.
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