Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) are one of the two new franchises for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 season. They had picked KL Rahul as captain for Rs 17 crore ahead of the auction. Apart from Rahul, they also signed up Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis for Rs 9.2 crore and leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi for Rs 4 crore. They purchased quite a few big names on the bidding table. LSG picked up Jason Holder for Rs 8.75 crore, Krunal Pandya for Rs 8.25 crore, and Deepak Hooda for Rs 5.75 crore. Among bowlers, they paid Rs 10 crore for Avesh Khan and Rs 7.50 crore for Mark Wood. The franchise also acquired the services of wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock for Rs 6.25 crore. Here’s an analysis of LSG’s performance at the auction on debut.
One must say LSG played it smartly at the auction, going for quite a few quality all-rounders. Former West Indian captain Jason Holder is one of the best in the business going around. His slower balls are next to unplayable when he gets it spot on, and the ball stays hit if he spanks it off the middle of the bat. Holder should be considered an excellent purchase for LSG. They also went for former Mumbai Indians cricketer Krunal Pandya at Rs 8.25 crore. Now, the price tag might be debatable, but Krunal has proved himself at his level and will thus be expected to deliver.
LSG will reunite Krunal with Deepak Hooda, who have had their issues at the domestic level. It remains to be seen how they gel in one side again. Keeping personal differences aside, Hooda will be high of confidence following his impressive India debut against West Indies. He played two crucial knocks under pressure. Though not consistent, fans are aware that Hooda has the ability to play game-changing knocks and can bowl some useful off-spin as well.
While spending big sums on quality all-rounders was a good move, one can only wonder why they went for Mark Wood at Rs 7.50 crore. He hasn’t proven himself at the T20 level either in domestic cricket or England. Yes, he has excess pace, without a doubt. But spending such a huge sum for him is a topic worthy of debate. Even Mumbai Indians (MI) spent Rs 8 crore to purchase fellow England fast bowler Jofra Archer. But Archer is a proven performer in international cricket as well as at the IPL level. Purchasing Wood for a hefty sum meant LSG had to fill up their squad with quite a few Rs 20 lakh purchases in the end.
He may have made a nervous international debut. However, Madhya Pradesh fast bowler Avesh Khan, who placed his name at the auction for Rs 20 lakh, but walked away with Rs 10 crore, could be LSG’s X factor player. Last year, Avesh was the second leading wicket-taker in the IPL. Turning out for Delhi Capitals (DC), he claimed 24 wickets in 16 matches at an average of 18.75 and an economy rate of 7.37. If you take away the last couple of matches in which he seemed nervous, Avesh stood out with his pace and accuracy. He struck almost every time Rishabh Pant brought him on and was so good that he even kept Anrich Nortje out of the playing XI in the first half.
Verdict? Strong on paper
Led by Rahul, LSG have a strong set of all-rounders who can win them games with both bat and ball. If they perform to potential, they will be a strong contender in their debut season.
Lucknow Super Giants IPL 2022 Squad: KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi, Quinton de Kock, Manish Pandey, Jason Holder, KL Rahul, Marcus Stoinis, Ravi Bishnoi, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Ankit Rajpoot, K Gowtham, Dushmanta Chameera, Shahbaz Nadeem, Manan Vohra, Mohsin Khan, Ayush Badoni, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Evin Lewis, Mayank Yadav, B Sai Sudharsan