The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) is around a week away, and one of the major talking points regarding the tournament is how teams will be able to adapt to the different conditions in the UAE.
The Middle East is renowned for having slow and low tracks that offer turn and grip, and the pitches aren't expected to be batting paradises. The teams, however, could not have anticipated these unforeseen venue changes during the auction, and many haven't quite been able to shore up their spin resources.
Even the defending champions, the Mumbai Indians, have only two IPL-tested spinners at their disposal, and this could be a major disadvantage for them as they attempt to win back-to-back titles for the first time in their history.
Ahead of the highly anticipated tournament, we take a look at the 3 teams who have the best spin attacks.
#3 Sunrisers Hyderabad
Options: Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abhishek Sharma, Fabian Allen
Part-time options: Abdul Samad, Sandeep Bavanaka, Virat Singh, Sanjay Yadav
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have 9 bowlers in total who bowl some form of spin, and they have three reliable overseas options in Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Fabian Allen.
While the West Indian all-rounder is unlikely to feature in SRH's first-choice playing XI, Nabi and Rashid will be key components of David Warner's side. Both players were in sparkling form in the recently-concluded Caribbean Premier League, with the former almost single-handedly taking the St Lucia Zouks to the final.
SRH have Indian all-rounders Abhishek Sharma and Sanjay Yadav who bowl left-arm spin, with three batting all-rounders in Abdul Samad, Sandeep Bavanaka and Virat Singh also available as options. Samad, in particular, is very highly rated for his big hitting and handy leg-spin, and could have a breakthrough campaign in IPL 2020.
#2 Delhi Capitals
Options: Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Lalit Yadav
The Delhi Capitals (DC) may not have the wealth of options that are at SRH's disposal, but what they lack in quantity they make up in quality. The main reason they are ahead of SRH on this list is the fact that their three primary spin options are all Indians, allowing them to play overseas players for other roles.
DC acquired Ravichandran Ashwin from Kings XI Punjab, and this trade has brought perhaps the best off-spinner in IPL history to their side. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra is always a wicket-taking option, while Axar Patel's ability to restrict the flow of runs makes him the ideal supporting cast.
This spin trio will be perfect for the UAE, and they could work in tandem to wreak havoc in the middle overs. The finger-spinners are also capable of bowling in the powerplay, further adding strength to DC's bowling attack.
#1 Chennai Super Kings
Options: Imran Tahir, Ravindra Jadeja, Karn Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Mitchell Santner, R Sai Kishore
Part-time option: Kedar Jadhav
Despite the withdrawals of Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) still have the best spin attack among all IPL 2020 teams. With 3 leg-spinners and 3 left-arm spinners, MS Dhoni has a host of IPL-tested tweakers to call upon.
Imran Tahir won the Purple Cap last year with 26 wickets, and CSK decided to rope in another leg-spinner, Piyush Chawla, in the 2020 IPL auction. Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma and R Sai Kishore will be handy options on the bench, while Ravindra Jadeja will be lethal on pitches that offer assistance.
Perhaps the most telling bowler for CSK, however, will be part-timer Kedar Jadhav, who has never bowled in the IPL thus far. In the absence of an off-spinner, his contributions to the CSK cause, especially against opposition left-handers, will be absolutely vital.
The biggest season why the Men in Yellow are ranked at #1 on this list is the presence of MS Dhoni, who is arguably the greatest captain of spinners the game of cricket has ever seen. With the former Indian skipper's guidance behind the stumps, the CSK spinners are primed to rule the roost in IPL 2020.
The 3-time IPL champions are yet to announce replacements for the players who've pulled out, and their spin attack could be beefed up further.
Published 11 Sep 2020, 20:00 IST