One of the youngest franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) look all set to begin the 2023 edition of T20 cricket’s biggest extravaganza with a solid squad at their disposal.
Last year, the KL Rahul-led side qualified for the playoffs in its inaugural season. LSG won nine of their 14 league fixtures and finished third on the points table. They lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore by 14 runs at Eden Gardens in the Eliminator game but could be proud and take a lot from their efforts in their debut season in the league.
Well-packed with star players in the squad, the Super Giants had a legion of all-rounders at their disposal ahead of the mini-auction and decided to invest in some specialists. They roped in Caribbean hard-hitter Nicholas Pooran, all-rounders Romario Shepherd and Daniel Sams, and pacers Naveen-ul-Haq and Jaydev Unadkat to their squad.
In the upcoming season, LSG are likely to bat deep with a proper combination of Indian and overseas players. With the acquisition of experienced pacers, the Super Giants could go all the way this season and with that in mind, let’s take a look at five players who could be the difference-makers for the team in IPL 2023.
Team India vice-captain, KL Rahul, will be leading the Super Giants once again this season. He was one of the top run-getters in the competition last year with 616 runs in 15 games at an impressive average of 51.33. In the cash-rich league, he has amassed 3,889 runs in 109 games at an average of 48.01 so far and you can be rest assured that he’s going to be amongst the runs once again.
Quinton de Kock
South African gloveman, Quinton de Kock, is one such talent that any IPL team would love to have in their squad. He will be one of the game-changers for LSG in the upcoming season after shining at the top for the team during the last campaign. The southpaw scored 508 runs in 15 matches at an average of 36.29 last season. A former IPL winner, de Kock has scored 2,764 runs in 92 games in the league at a strike rate of 133.91. There’s no doubt his pedigree and experience will prove to be invaluable.
Indian middle-order batter Deepak Hooda played a big role in LSG’s strong debut season last year. Hooda had a dream IPL season in 2022, scoring 451 runs in 15 games at an average of 32.21 to make it his best-ever campaign. He has smashed 1,236 runs in 95 matches at a strike rate of 132.05 since his IPL debut. Hooda is also capable of chipping in with the ball and has taken 10 wickets in his IPL career.
India's emerging seam bowler, Avesh Khan, will be a go-to bowler for LSG. After delivering well in the IPL for a couple of seasons, the speedster joined the Super Giants last year. Avesh didn't disappoint and hit the ground running last season as he scalped 18 wickets in 13 games. So far, in 38 IPL games, he has picked up 47 wickets at an economy of 8.40.
One of the prominent names from the India U-19 contingent of 2020, Ravi Bishnoi, has already played 10 T20 internationals and taken 16 wickets for the Men in Blue so far. For Lucknow Super Giants, he scalped 13 wickets in 14 games last year. Overall, Bishnoi has picked 37 wickets in just as many IPL games at an economy of 7.53 so far. Expect him to go from strength to strength in the upcoming campaign.