The new IPL season is underway, and as a cricketing fan I just can’t wait to see how all the action unfolds over the next two months. This IPL is extra special as not only do we have two brand-new franchises but also because of the mega auction that was held in February and changed the dynamics of all IPL sides.
In this article, I present to you a list of players: some newcomers, some potential starters and some experienced campaigners with a point to prove.
Here are my top 20 players to watch out for in IPL 2022.
Also Read – IPL 2022 Predictions
Devon Conway: Chennai Super Kings
Devon Conway is a left-handed opening batter from New Zealand who was signed by the Chennai Super Kings in the 2022 mega auction for just ₹1 crore. For the CSK, this move makes perfect sense as Conway is a like-for-like replacement for Faf du Plessis. Both Conway and du Plessis have similar styles of play as they always look to get explosive starts in the Powerplay.
Conway is an established wicketkeeper and can also bat lower down the order. He also has great numbers in T20Is: in 17 innings, he has scored at an Average of 50.16 with a good Strike Rate of 139.35. Devon fits straight into the Super Kings lineup, and it will be interesting to see if he can play the same role as du Plessis and take the Yellow Army to another IPL title.
Matthew Wade: Gujarat Titans
Matthew Wade is a T20 specialist who has done it for ages in the Big Bash league. The wicketkeeper is very efficient as an opening batter and can also bat lower down the order and act as a finisher. Last year, he single-handedly won Australia the T20I World Cup semi-final by scoring a quick-fire 41 runs in 17 balls at a Strike Rate of 241.18.
Wade is the captain of his BBL team, the Hobart Hurricanes, so he will also bring some much-needed leadership to the new franchise. In the BBL, he opens regularly at a Strike Rate of 142.5 showing he is capable of batting in versatile positions and will definitely be a player to watch for the newly-formed Gujarat Titans.
Shardul Thakur: Delhi Capitals
Lord Shardul has been showing his superior all-round abilities not only at the international level but across all formats of the game. In 25 matches for Team India, Thakur has picked up 33 wickets. As seen in matches, he has a knack for picking up crucial wickets.
In the 6 innings that he has batted for Team India so far, Shardul has scored at a Strike Rate of 181.57, showing his prowess both as a batter and a bowler. Granted that he hasn’t shown his batting dominance in the IPL yet, it is important two remember that he picked up 21 wickets for the Chennai Super Kings during their title-winning season last year. It’s going to be exciting to see him in the Delhi Capitals lineup.
David Warner: Delhi Capitals
The Delhi Capitals picking up David Warner for ₹6 crore was considered as one of the biggest steals at the 2022 mega Auction. Warner’s form for the SunRisers Hyderabad over the past two years hadn’t been good, which led to him losing his captaincy and eventually his spot in the SRH starting XI.
However, normal services resumed as Warner showed his class as he picked up his Player of the Tournament trophy at the 2021 T20I World Cup, which Australia won. He finished with 289 runs in seven matches with an Average of 48.16, including a score of 53 in the final.
In 2021, Warner clearly summed up the phrase ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’, and with him being back in the Delhi setup and opening with Prithvi Shaw, it is going to be a very exciting watch.
Rovman Powell: Delhi Capitals
Rovman Powell recently showed his skill in the West Indies v India T20I series, where he scored at a whopping Strike Rate of 183.7, in the final two T20Is. Just before that series, the power-hitter showed his real potential by scoring a big hundred against England at a Strike Rate of 200+.
Playing for the first time in the IPL this year, Powell is somewhat an unknown entity who can cover with both bat and ball. The Delhi Capitals could use him as a wildcard or even as a guaranteed starter in their XI.
Shreyas Iyer: Kolkata Knight Riders
Shreyas Iyer played a key role in the Delhi Capitals completely changing their fortunes and, under his captaincy, reaching their first IPL final in 2020. The 2021 season didn’t go as planned, however, as Iyer missed the first half with a shoulder injury and was replaced as captain before the second leg, only to not get retained by the DC.
Iyer is arguably India’s best middle-order batter, and his form backs him up across all formats. He was a star for India in the recent Tests against Sri Lanka and also in the T20Is. In four T20I matches, Iyer scored 229 runs at a Strike Rate of 172.18.
Shreyas Iyer is also leading his new franchise, the Kolkata Knight Riders, for IPL 2022. It will be interesting to see how he adapts to this role with a new coaching staff and under new circumstances.
Avesh Khan: Lucknow Super Giants
Avesh Khan was the Delhi Capitals’ strike bowler in IPL 2021 and finished second in the race for the Purple Cap, picking up 24 wickets while bowling at an Economy Rate of 7.37. One of the new franchises, the Lucknow Super Giants, bought him at the 2022 mega auction for a huge sum of ₹10 crore.
The coaching staff of the new franchise have put all their faith in Avesh on being the spearhead of their pace attack. It will be very interesting to watch whether he will be able to live up to his price tag and pick up wickets with the same regularity that he did for the Capitals.
Ravi Bishnoi: Lucknow Super Giants
Ravi Bishnoi was drafted by the Lucknow Super Giants for just ₹4 crore before the IPL mega auction, alongside both ex- and current-team captain KL Rahul. So far, Bishnoi has picked 24 wickets in 23 matches of his IPL career under the captaincy of KL, who was also crucial in bringing him to the Super Giants camp.
With the duo working with each other again, and Bishnoi having gained international experience with the Indian T20I side, he will also be an interesting prospect to watch out for and could turn out to be one of the most impactful spinners in IPL 2022.
Suryakumar Yadav: Mumbai Indians
Suryakumar Yadav has been the Mumbai Indians’ most consistent batter over the past 3-4 years and was, hence, retained by the franchise over other big players like Hardik Pandya and Ishan Kishan. His consistent performances for the Mumbai Indians even earned him his maiden India call-up, and he has only gone on to become a better batter.
In his nine T20I innings for India in 2021, Yadav scored 244 runs at an Average of 34.85 with a Strike Rate of 155.41 . In the last season of the IPL, he managed 317 runs, which was his lowest tally since 2018. However, having been retained by the MI for IPL 2022, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the extra pressure put on his shoulders.
Tim David: Mumbai Indians
Tim David is the only Singaporean player to ever feature in the IPL. Last year, he was bought by the Royal Challengers Bangalore but only featured in one game. David has proved his worth in franchise cricket all around the world. He plays for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL, where he’s been scoring at a Strike Rate of 153.42 .
Tim David is not only a very powerful lower-order batter but can also put in some handy off-spin overs as well. The Mumbai Indians picked him up in the mega auction for ₹8.25 crore, and under the right guidance of all-rounders like Kieron Pollard, it will be interesting to see how much of his potential he’s able to reach.
Liam Livingstone: Punjab Kings
Liam Livingstone is a big-hitting all-rounder who can bat either at the top or on in the middle order and can also provide few overs of leg spin. He was the Punjab Kings’ most expensive pick at ₹11.50 crore.
In 2021, Livingstone scored for England at a Strike Rate of 177.44, showing his explosiveness. The English all-rounder hasn’t had a great IPL career thus far, but his abilities are known to all and it will be interesting to see how he goes on to perform for the Punjab Kings.
Shikhar Dhawan: Punjab Kings
Shikhar Dhawan aka ‘The Gabbar’ really deserves the title of Mr. Consistent in the IPL. In the 2021 season, regardless of being dropped from India’s T20I squad, he scored 587 runs in the IPL, showing that class is permanent.
Now, in a new franchise and alongside a new opening partner, it will be interesting to see how Dhawan performs, but I have no doubt in my mind that he will succeed.
Kagiso Rabada: Punjab Kings
Kagiso Rabada not being retained by the Delhi Capitals was a bit of a shock, though they did decide to retain his South African counterpart Nortje instead. This was great news for the Punjab Kings, as they were able to pick up the experienced South African fast bowler at the 2022 mega auction.
Rabada was the Purple Cap-holder in 2020—the same year the Delhi Capitals reached the final—with 30 wickets. He also picked up 15 wickets last year. Rabada has now had enough experience in the IPL, and will be interesting to see how he spearheads the bowling lineup of the PBKS.
Devdutt Padikkal: Rajasthan Royals
Devdutt Padikkal has been superb in the two seasons he has played the IPL for the RCB. The left–handed opening batter has seamlessly adjusted into the IPL, and in both his IPL seasons so far, he has managed to get 400+ runs.
Opening with the great Virat Kohli, Paddikal would have learnt a lot of things about the game, and he will be able to put this to test as he might be asked to bat in a different position because the opening partnership of Yashasvi Jaiswal and Jos Butler was very successful for the Rajasthan Royals last season.
Padikal will definitely be one to watch this season, just to see how he responds to being in a new franchise and being given a new role at an early stage of his career.
Prasidh Krishna: Rajasthan Royals
Prasidh Krishna has been super impressive in all the ODIs he has played for India, and hence the Rajasthan Royals had to break the bank and pay ₹10 crore for the Indian fast bowler. Krishna is a proven wicket-taker and has managed to get 18 wickets in just 7 games for Team India.
Krishna managed 12 wickets in the IPL last year, but now, with Indian appearances under his belt, he is likely to lead the bowling lineup for the Rajasthan Royals. It will be interesting to see if he can step up this season.
Josh Hazlewood: Royal Challengers Bangalore
Over the past two years, Josh Hazlewood has really revolutionised his T20 bowling. Last year, he played a key role in both: the CSK winning the IPL and Australia winning the T20I World Cup. He picked up 12 wickets in the T20I World Cup and 11 in the IPL.
Hazlewood has really improved his bowling in the Powerplay overs, during which he gets the majority of his wickets. His partnership with Mohammed Siraj will be key for the Royal Challengers if they want to lift that elusive first IPL title.
Wanindu Hasaranga: Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Sri Lankan all-rounder joined the RCB for ₹10.75 crore in the 2022 mega auction. Hasaranga was also picked up by the RCB for the second leg of IPL 2021. The 24-year-old all-rounder really made an impression, especially with the ball, when India went to Sri Lanka in July for a limited-overs series last year, with a three-for in the second ODI and seven wickets—including a 4-for-9—to top the bowling charts over the three T20Is. At the end of that series, Hasaranga was placed second among T20I bowlers in the ICC rankings.
Hasaranga took a hattrick at last year’s T20I World Cup. He was also the highest wicket-taker with 16 victims in eight matches at an Economy of 5.20. Now, under new captaincy and with a high price tag, it will be interesting to see if he can leave his mark on the field this season.
Faf du Plessis: Royal Challengers Bangalore
The new captain of the RCB, 37-year-old Faf du Plessis only seems to get fitter and better with age. Bangalore picked up the South African for ₹7 crore at the mega auction, and he slots straight into the team.
Faf managed to get 633 runs in the previous IPL season, finishing only two runs behind the eventual Orange Cap-holder, Ruturaj Gaikwad. Du Plessis’ explosiveness in the Powerplay is second to none. He Averaged 45.21 runs last year per game at a Strike Rate of 138.20. On paper, he, alongside Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli, make for a very scary-looking batting lineup.
Coming straight into his new team as captain, Faf will bring in his leadership qualities and the know-how to win the IPL, which is the only thing the RCB and their fans are wishing for this season.
Rahul Tripathi: SunRisers Hyderabad
Rahul Tripathi is a very underrated IPL player. In 2021, he was the highest run-getter for the Kolkata Knight Riders, scoring 397 runs at a Strike Rate of 140.28
Tripathi performed consistently for the Knight Riders over the past two seasons. He is also one of the best fielders in the league. The SunRisers bought him for ₹8.50 crore at the mega auction, and he will really look to stabilise the top order of his new team. It will be interesting to see whether Tripathi manages to take his game to the next level.
Washington Sundar: SunRisers Hyderabad
Washington Sundar is a left-handed batter and a right-handed off spinner. He has consistently been seen opening the bowling for not only the RCB, but for Team India as well.
Sundar showed his batting capabilities in the 2021 Test matches against Australia. So, if and when needed, the SunRisers could also look to make him open the batting.
Sundar missed the majority of last season due to injury, but now in new colours he has the opportunity to achieve success and hopefully become a regular in the Indian T20I squad and be part of their 2022 T20I World Cup plans.
Abdul Samad: SunRisers Hyderabad
The retention of Abdul Samad came as quite a shock to the cricketing fraternity. The youngster from Jammu & Kashmir is only the third player in the IPL to come from the region. The right-handed batter is also a handy leg-break bowler and is recognised for his power-hitting, which he has showcased while playing for the SRH in the previous seasons.
Towards the end of 2021, the SunRisers even tried Samad at the top of the order. So, with the new season coming in and such a new responsibility on the youngster’s shoulder, it will be interesting to see how Samad fares for Hyderabad in IPL 2022.