Dropped from the playing XI in Test matches, stripped of vice-captaincy in all formats and demoted to the yearly central contract category, Rahul will have to make a personal statement not only with the bat but also as a men’s leader. .
Rahul’s captaincy stint with the Punjab Kings ended on a disappointing note and even in LSG’s play-off final on his first IPL appearance, nothing stood out when it came to his captaincy.
LSG finished third at the end of the league stage last year and pulled out of the Eliminator after a loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore, with Rahul leading the batting charts for the team scoring 616 runs in 15 games at 51.33 with two centuries and four half-centuries.
While Rahul, often criticized for his strike rate in the IPL, topped the batting charts and led from the front, LSG and India’s fast right-arm bowler Avesh Khan finished as the bowler. the most successful with 18 wickets in 13 games.
However, entering IPL 2023Lucknow will be without their most impressive striker Mohsin Khan, who has made an impression with his skills taking 14 wickets in nine games, at least in the first half of this year’s IPL due to a spinal injury. shoulder.
LSG wicket-beater keeper Quinton de Kock is set to miss at least the first two games as South Africa face the Netherlands with their World Cup qualification at 50 stakes.
It remains to be seen who will partner Rahul in the all-important opening slot.
The Lucknow Super Giants have bolstered their squad this year by adding West Indies wicket-keeper Nicholas Pooran for a whopping Rs 16 crore, who led the Caribbean side in the last T20 World Cup.
The addition of Pooran adds more flexibility in their choice of wicketkeeper, with South African Quinton de Kock being the main option.
The biggest area of strength, however, is the all-rounder on the LSG roster. Along with Indians Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Krishnappa Gowtham, Prerak Mankad, LSG also has a rich overseas presence of Marcus Stoinis, Daniel Sams, Kyle Mayers and Romario Shepherd.
The spin department will have the likes of veteran Indian bowler Amit Mishra with Ravi Bishnoi, while in Mark Wood and Jaydev Unadkat they have experienced fast bowlers who have also won major international and national competitions.
With the firepower of Rahul and Quinton de Kock at the top, LSG will have to find a resolute middle order that can respond as needed – primarily to pick up from the starts their openers provide. Ayush Badoni started well in the last IPL season, but his form then tapered off.
Hooda could be the enforcer in the middle order, but consistency will be a big question for the young Indian player, who has been seen regularly in national colors in the shortest format.
Kyle Mayers, an exciting southpaw from the West Indies, is likely to open with Rahul in the first two games unless he opts for an Indian option in Deepak Hooda. It will be a great chance for Mayers to show his skills in the absence of Quinton de Kock, who misses the first two games due to national duty.
Young pacer from Jammu and Kashmir Yudhvir Singh Vidarbha’s Charak or Yash Thakur might get an opportunity at some point in the tournament.
Mohsin Khan, a discovery from last IPL season, is out for at least the first five games and it could be even more and so Mark Wood is the only x-factor fast bowler in the lineup. Jaydev Unadkat has always been a lamb to slaughter in the elite T20 league except for one season for Rising Pune Supergiants.
However, with Wood also being a bit injury prone, it won’t be the best proposition to depend on an ace attack that only has Avesh Khan and Unadkat as experienced Indian bowlers. The likes of Delhi’s Yudhvir, Thakur or Mayank Yadav are quite raw and untested at this level.