Overseas players who will reunite in the IPL 2018
In the early days, international cricket was the lifeblood of the game. National pride would always be at stake when teams battled against each other in any format, whether it be Tests or ODIs.
Back then, rivalries were more often than not, bigger than friendships amongst players of different nations.
Perhaps, the only way for players across countries to bond with each other, was in the English county season when teams would rope in legends to play for them.
For eg. Sir Viv Richards and Sir Ian Botham are two legends who have had a long-lasting friendship courtesy their time at Somerset in the mid-1970s.
However, with the advent of T20 cricket spreading across the world, nearly every player of a cricketing nation has shared the same dressing room with another. The ratio has increased drastically.
During this time, an interesting trend has developed. Players of different nations, who have played for one franchise, have been roped in by another country’s T20 franchise.
Now whether it is a mere coincidence or a well thought out strategy so that managing team dynamics gets simpler, some players rub shoulders with each other as much as their national teammates.
Familiarity seems to be the way forward for teams in the shortest format of the game.
So, taking the IPL 2018 into account, here are seven such pairs of players who will not only play for the same team in this year’s competition but have also played together in the past in another T20 competition.
#1 Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch
The animosity between the West Indians and Australians has been ever since the 1960s and the World Series cricket era when these two teams battled it out for the honour of being called the world’s top cricketing nation.
Chris Gayle is no different, often expressing his dislike for the Aussies and sometimes landing in deep trouble for it.
But there are few exceptions he has made over the years of playing T20 cricket across the globe. One of them happens to be Australian opener, Aaron Finch.
Now, these two openers are swashbuckling and give shivers to many bowlers with their breezy starts.
They also have an appetite for big scores in white-ball cricket, once they are set at the crease.
The similarities don’t end just there. Gayle and Finch made an unlikely opening partnership at the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League in Australia during the 2015-16 season.
Even as the Renegades finished fifth, the duo provided much entertainment to fans at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
Both of them ended up as the highest run-getters for the team that year. Gayle’s aggregate was 260 runs at a strike rate of 155, while Finch was impressive with 246 runs in five games at an average of 49 and a strike rate of 143.
Both these men will be teaming up again in the IPL 2018 at the Kings XI Punjab. With Punjab not going all out for overseas players, chances are high that Gayle and Finch would be opening the batting for them as well and fire on all cylinders.