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. IPL 2023 could be a challenge for LSG to replicate the heroics. 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 for his base price.
It was strange to see LSG release an experienced all-rounder in the form of Jason Holder, and they didn’t quite address his departure. LSG will again rely heavily on openers Quinton de Kock and skipper Rahul. The presence of finishers in the form of Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni, and Marcus Stoinis gives 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, and how they go about the business remains to be seen. We analyse LSG’s squad and address several aspects ahead of a crucial season ahead.
Full squad of LSG
|PLAYER NAME||COUNTRY||ROLE||Batting /Bowling|
|Krunal Pandya (Captain)||India||All-rounder||Left-handed, Left-arm orthodox|
|Quinton de Kock||South Africa||Wicket-keeper||Left-handed|
|Ayush Badoni||India||Allrounder||Right-handed, Right-arm off-break|
|Deepak Hooda||India||Bowler||Right-handed, Right-arm Off-spin|
|Krishnappa Gowtham||India||Bowler||Right-handed, Off-Spin|
|Kyle Mayers||West Indies||All Rounder||Left-handed, Off-Spin|
|Marcus Stoinis||Australia||All-rounder||Right-handed, Right-arm Medium-fast|
|Mark Wood||England||Bowler||Right-handed, Right Arm Fast|
|Mayank Yadav||India||Bowler||Right-handed, Right-arm Medium Fast|
|Mohsin Khan||India||Bowler||Left-handed, Right arm Medium|
|Ravi Bishnoi||India||Bowler||Right-handed, Leg Spin|
|Yash Thakur||India||Bowler||Right-handed, Right Arm Fast Medium|
|Nicholas Pooran||West Indies||Bowler||Left-handed, Leg-Spin|
|Amit Mishra||India||Bowler||Right-handed, Right-arm Leg-Spin|
|Prerak Mankad||India||All-rounder||Right-handed, Right-arm Medium|
|Naveen Ul Haq||Afghanistan||Bowler||Right-handed, Right Arm Fast Medium|
|Devdutt Padikkal||India||Batter||Left-handed, Right-arm off-break|
What are the strengths?
LSG have two of the best openers in IPL, and the onus will be on De Kock and Rahul to hand them quality starts more than often. Both players scored more than 500 runs in IPL 2022. Rahul has been among the best performers in the IPL for several years. De Kock has done reasonably well wherever he has played. LSG have quality finishers in Stoinis, Krunal, and Badoni. So it’s one area where they are expected to blossom. Deepak Hooda could be pushed to play more in the number three position, as he did for India in several games. He can be an aggressive customer, taking the mantle on from the openers.
Bishnoi and Pandya are the two main spinners in the side. Also, Hooda can bowl when required. LSG have a quality spin attack, which bodes well for the side. On the bench, you have veteran Amit Mishra to guide the youngsters. It’s the pace department which can click well for LSG. Avesh leads the Indian contingent with the promising Mohsin Khan giving him sound company. Mark Wood completes the three-person pace attack for the side. On the bench, the experienced Sams and Shepherd are there.
LSG have plenty of all-rounders in the side. Hooda, Stoinis, and Krunal are the main options in playing XI. Krishnappa Gowtham and Kyle Mayers are names they can rely upon on the bench to make an impact when needed. Overall, LSG have a balanced XI and some good impact players on the bench to make the difference.
What are the weaknesses?
LSG lack specialist batters in the squad. If anyone between Rahul and De Kock suffers an injury or something, LSG could struggle atop. Manan Vohra is the notable name to replace the duo, but his numbers aren’t impressive in the IPL. The lack of a proper number three means Hooda must bat there. In Pooran, they have an aggressor who can change the game, but he is another player where in the past, teams have paid a lot of money in the auction, and things backfired. SRH let him go after just one season. Pooran has nearly 5000 runs in the 20-over format but hasn’t quite lived up to expectations in the IPL. LSG will perhaps then look up to Mayers if Pooran fails in the middle.
Unadkat has been a luxury of sorts for teams in the IPL, and often we have seen him being bought for massive bucks, but poor performances led him to get released at the same time. Unadkat didn’t find many takers this time. So is he the best backup for Mohsin or Avesh? Only time will tell. Also, Wood can be injury-prone, and LSG have decent squad players in Sams and Shepherd, but leading the line will be a step above for them. Lastly, the bench looks weak.
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, Mohsin Khan
Unique stats of LSG players
As per ESPNcricinfo, Rahul has scored over 600 runs in four of the last five IPL seasons. He has averaged over 50 in each of the last five IPL seasons. De Kock has hammered 1600-plus runs in the PP overs, averaging 37.93 across 92 innings. In the middle overs (7-15), Bishnoi has managed 10 scalps at 23.80 from 11 innings in the IPL.
IPL 2023 season Verdict
LSG may have done reasonably well last season, and expectations will be immense this time. However, several other sides have more balance and firepower with a decent blend on the bench. IPL 2023 will be a challenge for LSG amongst the pack. We feel they will finish outside the top six this time around.
IPL 2023 schedule LSG
April 1 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Delhi Capitals, Lucknow (7:30 PM IST)
April 3 – Chennai Super Kings vs Lucknow Super Giants, Chennai (7:30 PM IST)
April 7 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Lucknow (7:30 PM IST)
April 10 – Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Lucknow Super Giants, Bengaluru (3:30 PM IST)
April 15 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Punjab Kings, Lucknow (7:30 PM IST)
April 19 – Rajasthan Royals vs Lucknow Super Giants, Jaipur (7:30 PM IST)
April 22 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Gujarat Titans, Lucknow (3:30 PM IST)
April 28 – Punjab Kings vs Lucknow Super Giants, Mohali (7:30 PM IST)
May 1 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore, Lucknow (7:30 PM IST)
May 4 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow (3:30 PM IST)
May 7 – Gujarat Titans vs Lucknow Super Giants, Ahmedabad (3:30 PM IST)
May 13 – Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Lucknow Super Giants, Hyderabad (3:30 PM IST)
May 16 – Lucknow Super Giants vs Mumbai Indians, Lucknow (7:30 PM IST)
May 20 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lucknow Super Giants, Kolkata (7:30 PM IST)