IPL 2020: 4 bowlers who can be used as pinch-hitters
Gone are those days when the bowler's job was limited to their skills with the ball. In a competitive environment of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the batsmen might not always take the team over the line and on a bad day, the bowlers have to step up with the bat too. There are certain match situations where a captain thinks of targeting a particularly tricky bowler and preserve his regular batsman for later. In such scenarios, the use of pinch-hitter becomes crucial who can score some quick runs without worrying about his wicket.
For instance, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) used Harbhajan Singh at number 5 and Deepak Chahar at number 6 in a match against KXIP in IPL 2018 ahead of MS Dhoni, Dwayne Bravo, and Ravindra Jadeja to target their lead spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Here are 4 cricketers who can perform similar roles for their franchises in IPL 2020.
#4 Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur has been a mainstay for CSK for the past couple of seasons and a key Indian seamer in their set-up. Though the 28-year old hasn't batted much in the Indian Premier League, his recent heroics for India recently in white-ball cricket cannot be ignored. Thakur smashed an 8-ball 22 against Sri Lanka in a T20I to help India go past 200 and played a handy knock of 20 from 15 balls against New Zealand in a match that ended up as a tie.
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MS Dhoni, being an unorthodox captain, can think of using Thakur's secondary skill in IPL 2020 just like he sent Deepak Chahar at number 6 against KXIP in 2018 who scored a 20-ball 39 in a tough run-chase.
#3 Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel has been a part of the Delhi Capitals (DC) set-up since 2018 after serving the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for 6 seasons. Mostly in the team for his seam bowling, the 29-year-old cricketer doesn't get enough opportunities with the bat though he is capable of tonking it a long way.
In Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2019-20, Patel piled up 374 runs at a strike-rate of 165 and played a useful hand for Haryana. Coming to IPL 2020, the Delhi-based franchise can use him as a pinch-hitter without worrying much about his wicket.
#2 Rashid Khan
Rashid Khan is known for his mysterious leg-spin but very seldom he has been used as a striker with the bat by Sunrisers Hyderabad(SRH). The 21-year old cricketer is a capable batsman who can use his power to clear the fence and his Big Bash League team, Adelaide Strikers, recognised the same. The Afghan cricketer slammed 124 runs at a strike rate of 153 for his BBL side this season, who was often promoted to bat at number 5 and 6 to perform the role of a pinch-hitter.
After the departure of their lower-order batsmen Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda, SRH can consider using Rashid Khan to perform the role and should look to shuffle him in the batting order when acceleration is required.
#1 Tom Curran
Since Jofra Archer has been ruled out of the upcoming IPL season due to injury, the case for the inclusion of Tom Curran to replace him in the Rajasthan Royals' playing XI has become stronger. With superb bowling form in the recently concluded Big Bash League, the English seamer has been sensational with the bat too.
In BBL 09, the 24-year old cricketer scored 133 runs at a strike-rate of 149 with a top score of 43. Sydney Sixers used him at number 6 on numerous occasions even ahead of the specialist batsman for the skill that he brings to the table.
Published 09 Feb 2020, 13:20 IST