The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to commence on the 9th of April with a clash against the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
All 8 teams look evenly matched on paper, even in the wicket-keeping department. Glovemen have been resigned to bit-part roles in T20 cricket, with very few deliveries actually making their way past the batsman. But this only adds to their importance, as they need to remain alert throughout the innings despite not being in the game as often.
In this article, we analyse all the wicket-keeping options each team possesses and identify the man who's likely to perform the role in IPL 2021.
#8 Chennai Super Kings
Options: MS Dhoni, Narayan Jagadeesan, Robin Uthappa
There's absolutely no doubt with respect to CSK's first-choice wicket-keeper for IPL 2021. Captain MS Dhoni will once again be behind the stumps for the 3-time IPL champions, directing traffic and pulling off lightning-quick stumpings.
Youngster N Jagadeesan has piled on a mountain of runs in the domestic circuit, but even if he makes the playing XI, he should play as a fielder. Veteran Robin Uthappa is someone who isn't sprightly in the field anymore, but there's next to no chance of him being handed the responsibility ahead of Dhoni.
VERDICT - MS Dhoni
#7 Mumbai Indians
Options: Quinton de Kock, Ishan Kishan, Aditya Tare
Quinton de Kock was MI's first-choice keeper throughout IPL 2021, although Kishan played almost all games. The South African should continue in the same role, and the only way anything different could happen is if he loses his place in the XI to Chris Lynn.
But that's unlikely to happen now at least, with Kishan playing as a specialist batsman at No. 4 and De Kock opening the batting with Rohit Sharma. Aditya Tare, who has been on the MI bench for a number of years, will continue to remain there.
VERDICT - Quinton de Kock
#6 Delhi Capitals
Options: Rishabh Pant, Sam Billings, Vishnu Vinod
New captain Rishabh Pant will be DC's primary wicket-keeper in IPL 2021, with Billings and Vinod unlikely to even make the playing XI. Pant will have to be wary of not overburdening himself with a host of commitments, but he's in the form of his life and his keeping has never been better.
VERDICT - Rishabh Pant
#5 Rajasthan Royals
Options: Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Anuj Rawat
With Samson appointed as skipper, Buttler is the runaway choice to don the gloves for RR in IPL 2021. The Englishman will take some pressure off Samson's young shoulders, leaving him to focus on his captaincy.
Rawat has been in stellar form for Delhi in the domestic circuit, and he could keep if he makes the playing XI. But as of now, that doesn't seem like it's going to happen.
VERDICT - Jos Buttler