IPL is standing on the cusp of its 16th edition. The league has grown in stature with each passing season. IPL’s per match value is over Rs 104 crore now, second only to USA’s NFL.
Not only have the value of media rights soared, the income of the players involved and their performances have also taken a giant leap. In fact, it’s the players who have taken IPL to an unprecedented height.
The number of fours and sixes have increased. The strike rates have reached mercurial heights and the batters have also become ultra-innovative. Chasing around 80 odd runs in five overs is not impossible. A Jos Buttler or a Suryakumar Yadav might achieve that with a few balls to spare.
The bowlers have become equally sharp and guileful but in this piece we will talk about five batsmen who are likely to dominate IPL season 16.
IPL 2023: Batsmen to watch out for
Leading Gujarat Titans (GT) in their maiden IPL campaign last year, the former Mumbai Indians (MI) all-rounder picked eight wickets and smoked 487 runs at an average of 44.27 and a strike rate of 131.27. The 29-year-old finished the 2022 season as the fourth-highest run-scorer. Overall, he has featured in 107 IPL matches and scored 1963 runs at a strike rate of 147.59.
Hardik has matured with time and his title-winning campaign in his first ever stint as an IPL team captain proved it. He is currently captain of India’s T20I side. He has also been named Rohit Sharma’s deputy in the 50-over format. Power-hitting was always the strength of the Baroda-born star. With a pinch of maturity mixed in it now, Hardik will be one of the most dependable and destructive batters in the IPL 2023.
Over 600 runs in three consecutive IPL seasons (2020, 2021 and 2022) is no joke. In IPL 2019, the Karnataka batter scored 593 runs, while in 2018 he scored 659. These are crazy numbers and may be the most consistent one in the history of IPL. The Luncknow Super Giants (LSG) captain is not going through the best of forms.
He was recently sacked as Team India’s Test team and captain and dropped from the playing XI of the final two Test matches against India. Touted as the next all-format captain of India, Rahul has also lost his vice-captaincy in the white-ball. The IPL would be an opportunity for him to regain his form and announce his comeback in style just ahead of the world cup. Overall, he has scored 3889 runs in 109 IPL matches at a strike rate of 136.22 and an average of 48.01. The 30-year-old has four IPL hundreds (joint third-highest) to his name.
The all-rounder looks set to surprise everyone this IPL season. His hammering knock against India in the second ODI in Vizag was a proof. The 31-year-old scored 66 unbeaten runs off just 36 balls. The innings consisted of four boundaries and six gigantic maximums. The Delhi Capitals (DC) all-rounder in all likelihood looks set to sizzle in the IPL 2023.
In his T20 career of 155 matches, he has scored 3693 runs at an average of 32.97 and a strike rate of 129.76. He played eight IPL matches in 2022, and scored 251 runs at an average of 31.38 and a strike rate of 132.80. The exciting batter has the gifted ability to stand and deliver. Watch out for DC’s Marsh in IPL 2023.
The Rajasthan Royals (RR) captain has been one of the most naturally-talented batters going around in the cricketing circuit. It’s a treat to watch him play. A perfect time of the ball, Sanju has very often set the stage on fire. On his day, the right-hander batter can tear apart the most threatening bowling unit on his whims and fancies. The 28-year-old has scored over 400 runs in the last two IPL seasons.
In IPL 2023, he scored 458 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 146.79. Leading from the front Samson guided Rajasthan to their second IPL final. The Kerala batter wasn’t included in the squad for the T20 World Cup 2022. He finds himself out of both the white-ball squads again and with the ODI World Cup in India fast approaching, IPL 2023 could be the last opportunity for Samson to catch the attention of the selectors. Overall, he has played 138 IPL matches and scored 3526 runs at a strike rate of 135.72. Samson has three IPL hundreds to his name.
Only the third batter to score over 800 runs in a single IPL edition, Jos Buttler will come hungry in the IPL 2023. Buttler scored 863 runs at an average of 57.53 and a strike rate of 149.05 in IPL 2022. Bangladesh registered a 3-0 T20I series win against England this month. The series defeat was England’s first against Bangladesh across formats.
Also, Buttler has featured in seven editions of IPL but managed to score in excess of 350 runs only twice. Thirdly, the ODI World Cup is slated to be held in India in October-November this year. This will be the perfect dress rehearsal for Buttler to get aligned with the Indian condition and plan out the road map for his team. A lot is on stake for Buttler as a batter and a leader.
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