IPL 2018: Indian stars pick the strongest IPL squad
With the hullabaloo around the ongoing ball-tampering controversy which took place in South Africa, the Indian Premier League fever seems to have died down a bit. Just 10 days away, the teams are getting ready for the blockbuster tournament, which kicks off in Mumbai with the defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings taking on each other on April 7.
The Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, who are making a comeback to the tournament after a gap of two years, will be looking to make a big splash and get back to winning ways.
IPL 2018 saw a complete overhaul of each squad with a mega-auction which took place in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28. Each franchise was allowed to retain a maximum of three players and use a right-to-match card for a maximum of two players.
All the squads seem extremely strong on paper and it is tough to predict who will come out on top.
Speaking at a panel discussion during the launch of Star Pick Fantasy in Bengaluru on March 27, Indian cricketers, namely, Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, along with former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman and former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes, gave their picks for the strongest IPL squad on paper.
The twist was that they weren't allowed to pick their own squad. Here is what they thought:
Harbhajan Singh and VVS Laxman, both, felt that the Kings XI squad was the strongest on paper.
The Kings XI went all-out during the auction as they purchased a lot of high-profile cricketers. Axar Patel was the only cricketer they had retained during the auction, hence, they had a lot of money to spend as well. KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, and Yuvraj Singh were the Indian stars bought by the franchise. The foreigners include the likes of Aaron Finch, Andrew Tye, Chris Gayle, and Marcus Stoinis.
Despite being questioned for the lack of younger players in their squad, Gautam Gambhir and Jonty Rhodes felt that the Chennai Super Kings have the strongest squad.
CSK retained their core players prior to the auction, namely MS Dhoni (captain), Ravindra Jadeja, and Suresh Raina. They also went on to purchase Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis - two players who have been a part of the franchise for a long time.
The Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma felt that the Delhi Daredevils have the strongest squad.
The Daredevils retained South African star Chris Morris and youngsters, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer. They also bought Gautam Gambhir, who was then named the captain of the side. They have a lot of firepower in their squad with the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Colin Munro, and Mohammed Shami.
Finally, Dinesh Karthik felt that the Sunrisers Hyderabad have the strongest squad.
The Sunrisers retained David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Shikhar Dhawan. However, with the ball-tampering controversy, Warner will now not take part in the tournament. The new captain has not been named yet. The Sunrisers have a strong squad as well with the likes of Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson, Shakib Al Hasan, and Yusuf Pathan in their squad.
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