The BCCI's decision to postpone the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) due to the Covid-19 pandemic could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for some of the franchises.
Multiple teams were hindered by injuries in the first half of the tournament, with players pulling in the early weeks. Due to quarantine guidelines and a lack of options, teams have also found it tough to find replacements for injured players.
If the tournament is held a few months from now, in better circumstances, a few franchises could see the return of some of their best players, which could further bolster their squad.
The 3 teams who could benefit from the suspension of IPL 2021
3) Punjab Kings (PBKS)
KL Rahul had to quit the IPL bubble midway through the tournament to undergo surgery for appendicitis. The procedure was completed on May 3 and he was set to undergo another 7-day quarantine after recovering completely. Early estimations indicated KL Rahul would have missed at least 3-4 games of the league stage.
However, the tournament's postponement effectively means KL Rahul has missed only one game against the Delhi Capitals (DC) and can lead the side in the remaining league matches when IPL 2021 resumes.
With 331 runs in 7 games, KL Rahul has been the highest run-scorer for his team thus far in the tournament.
2) Delhi Capitals (DC)
IPL 2021's indefinite suspension could potentially cut short Rishabh Pant's stint as the captain of the Delhi Capitals. Regular skipper Shreyas Iyer, who was injured during the ODI series against England in March, was expected to miss the entire season after a shoulder injury.
However, he is likely to return to the DC set-up and resume the captaincy responsibilities. The Delhi Capitals, who are at the top of the points table with 6 wins in 8 games, will look a much better side in the presence of Shreyas Iyer.
He scored 519 runs in IPL 2020, and the Capitals finished as the runners-up under his leadership. Shreyas Iyer's return will also mean that DC can play an extra overseas player since the 26-year-old bats at No.3 for the side and can replace Steve Smith.
Ravichandran Ashwin, who pulled out of IPL 2021 midway through the tournament due to Covid-19 cases in his family, could be available for all six remaining league games later on. His presence will strengthen the bowling attack and give the captain another option to choose from.
1) Rajasthan Royals
No other team will benefit from this unexpected break in IPL 2021 as much as the Rajasthan Royals (RR). Their ace all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was ruled out due to a finger injury right after the first match of the tournament, could be back in action at a later stage.
Another vital member of their side, Jofra Archer, could return to the mix to help change the team's fortunes. The English pacer has already started bowling in the nets and is likely to be back playing cricket very soon. The Rajasthan Royals dearly missed his services in the first half of the tournament.
Earlier, a few reports suggested that Bangladesh's Mustafizur Rahman could leave IPL 2021 early, along with Shakib Al Hasan, due to international commitments. He could now be available for more games at a later stage.