KL Rahul's stock in international cricket has sharply dropped in recent times. He was removed from vice-captaincy and his place in the eleven is under constant scrutiny as the pressure to perform on him, at least as of now, is immense.
IPL, over the years, has changed the direction of a few careers and that is exactly what Rahul will be hoping to achieve this season as he leads LSG in their second IPL season. Lucknow, on paper, looks like one of the best teams this year. Let's analyse what can work for them this time around.
Right from the opening combination of Rahul and de Kock, to number seven in Krunal Pandya, LSG's batting line-up has batters that can win games single-handedly on their day. Whether it is Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda or Nicholas Pooran, all of them have the power game up their sleeves and can dismantle any bowling line-up on their day. Add to it the dynamism of young Ayush Badoni and Krunal Pandya, and LSG's batting looks almost invincible.
There is one problem though. Apart from Rahul himself, there is a lack of a batter who can anchor the innings in case wickets fall quick and early. One can argue that Stoinis has that capability, but even after counting him, that just makes them two out of eleven. This will mean that Rahul will look to play throughout and anchor the innings, again raising questions about his intent and strike rate.
Worthy All-rounders & Solid Bowling
Stoinis, Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda - all three of them can bowl 4 over each in case the skipper demands and that adds another dimension to LSG's playing 11. Apart from them, the team boasts of Jaydev Unadkat, who has been in red-hot form in domestic cricket, Avesh Khan and Ravi Bishnoi, both of whom are proven customers.
There's no update on Mohsin Khan's availability after the injury concern, but Mark Wood can come in and do the job perfectly.
All in all, KL Rahul's LSG will start IPL 2023 as major title contenders.
LSG's Probable Playing 11
KL Rahul (c), Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stoinis, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Jaydev Unadkat, Mark Wood, Avesh Khan, Ravi Bishnoi
Lucknow Super Giants: Full Squad
KL Rahul (c), Quinton de Kock, Manan Vohra, Nicholas Pooran, Ayush Badoni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Deepak Hooda, Yudhvir Charak, Avesh Khan, Mohsin Khan, Ravi Bishnoi, Mark Wood, Mayank Yadav, Jaydev Unadkat, Yash Thakur, Amit Mishra, Naveen-ul-Haq, Kyle Mayers, Krunal Pandya, Karan Sharma, Marcus Stoinis, Romario Shepherd, Daniel Sams, Prerak Mankad, Swapnil Singh