Lucknow Super Giants will be keen to make it to the playoffs for a second successive season since becoming a part of the Indian Premier League in 2022. KL Rahul-led LSG did wonders last season, finishing 3rd in the league stage before falling in the playoffs. In the IPL 2023 auction, they addressed the issue of a batter in the middle order by going big on Nicholas Pooran. However, this is a big gamble they have taken, given Pooran’s trajectory in the cash-rich league. Pacers Daniel Sams was picked up alongside Romario Shepherd as options behind Mark Wood. Jaydev Unadkat was roped in as well.
News has come in that Mohsin Khan could miss the IPL 2023 season due to an injury, which could hamper LSG. He was electric last season, and LSG could be robbed if he misses out.
LSG will once again rely heavily on openers Quinton de Kock and skipper Rahul. Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni, and Marcus Stoinis’s presence give the side a good touch. Ravi Bishnoi leads the spin attack alongside all-rounder Krunal Pandya. The pace department has a few interesting names in the mix.
However, the bench is a worry for LSG, with plenty of inexperienced riding as far as the Indian contingent is concerned. LSG are thin in certain areas.
Ahead of the IPL 2023 season, we decode the probable playing XI of LSG.
Full squad of LSG
KL Rahul (c), Ayush Badoni, Karan Sharma, Manan Vohra, Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Kyle Mayers, Krunal Pandya, Avesh Khan, Mohsin Khan, Mark Wood, Mayank Yadav, Ravi Bishnoi, Nicholas Pooran, Jaydev Unadkat, Yash Thakur, Romario Shepherd, Daniel Sams, Amit Mishra, Prerak Mankad, Swapnil Singh, Naveen-ul-Haq, Yudhvir Charak
Probable LSG XI
Quinton de Kock (wk), KL Rahul (c), Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, Jaydev Unadkat
Breaking down LSG’s probable XI
Quinton de Kock: Proteas star Quinton de Kock was rock solid last season and plundered 508 runs. Meanwhile, QDK has smashed over 500 runs over the last four seasons on three occasions. A quality dasher, De Kock, can be massive for LSG’s chances this season. He will back himself to come good.
KL Rahul: The senior Indian batter has been the leading performer of the IPL over the last five years. His tally from IPL 2018 to 2022 reads as 659, 593, 670, 626, and 616 runs. It’s safe to say Rahul will more often hand LSG massive starts. However, it’s the strike rate he needs to work on. De Kock will lend him able support.
Deepak Hooda: He can be the desired match-winner for LSG. Hooda must take the 2023 season by storm and score the desired runs. He scored 451 runs from 15 games last season, and expect him to shine once again. His bowling can be utilised at times by skipper Rahul. He is one of the cleanest hitters.
Nicholas Pooran: Pooran hasn’t quite managed to take the IPL by storm despite commanding massive fees. He is a risk for LSG, given you don’t know how consistent he can be. He scored 306 runs for SRH last season and was released by the franchise after that. However, Pooran can be dangerous on his day.
Ayush Badoni: Uncapped Indian player Ayush Badoni was one of the promising names who showed composure and impressed everyone. He scored 161 runs, including a fifty. He will now be keen to enhance the numbers and be a player LSG can count upon in crunch situations. He can lend his voice in bowling too.
Marcus Stoinis: Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis has the experience and character to come good. Besides being known for his exploits with the bat, he guarantees four quality overs. From 11 matches, he scored 156 runs last season. LSG will be keen to use him more with the ball, given he did well versus India in the recently concluded ODI series.
Krunal Pandya: Left-arm spinner Krunal Pandya will be trusted to work as a finisher alongside Stoinis. Krunal is a chief three-dimensional player who can effectively play ball and bat. He scored 183 runs in 2022 and claimed 10 scalps. Krunal has over 1300 runs and 60-plus scalps in IPL.
Mark Wood: The England speedster can be destructive with the ball. He played just one match in the IPL back in 2018. Wood looks fit and ready, and his pace can unsettle the best. In 49 20-over matches, he has claimed 107 scalps, including 45 for England. His experience will be vital in guiding this LSG side.
Ravi Bishnoi: A quality right-arm spinner, Ravi Bishnoi made his IPL debut in 2020 and, since then, has hit double digits in terms of wickets. He has already snared 37 scalps from 37 games at 28.49. Still young, Bishnoi is still learning the trades and has plenty of promise and character.
Avesh Khan: MP pacer Avesh Khan has been a solid force to be reckoned with in the IPL over the last two seasons. He leads this LSG unit with the ball alongside Wood. Avesh managed 18 scalps last season, besides taking 24 in IPL 2021. With good pace and variations, he can be effective in death as well.
Jaydev Unadkat: With Mohsin Khan likely to sit out with injury, the stage is set for Jaydev Unadkat to lend his voice for LSG. However, a terrific First-class cricketer, Unadkat hasn’t been able to showcase his talent in the IPL. He has been too predictable and costly. His only good season was in 2017 (24 scalps). He has played for several franchises in the past.