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IPL 2024 to ‘clear the air’ in Dhoni’s probable farewell, Hardik’s comeback, Virat’s chase

IPL to enter in its 17th season in 2024

In India, there are various period to celebrate festivals in different cultures. In the sports category, it’s the Indian Premier League (IPL) during that March to May interval. You go to the ‘Saloon’, or spend a gossiping time in the ‘Tea shop’ or have a stroll in the park, the talk of the town is around the IPL.

One doesn’t often need to look at the calendar to realize the phase of the year. The ‘high-command’ discussions from the ‘Jack of all trades’ of this country gives the vast picture.

The other day I was spending a quality time with my friends. But my focus was on the arguments of another group, positioned right behind us. ‘Yeah, I’m sure Hardik and Rohit’s collision will develop more during the tournament,” “Bro, I just want to enjoy MS Dhoni one last time in the IPL, so seems like I need to buy tickets on black”, “What’s about the back of Shreyas?”, “You think Gill would be the same with the captaincy?”, “Geez, It’s Gambhir vs Kohli again man, and Kolkata loves Kohli so much” – these were the pivotal moments of their conversation.

Well, it doesn’t take much to realize that the IPL fever in 2024 has grown just like the election fever. But the bottom line speaks in a non-identical rhythm. The IPL 2024 will perhaps ‘clear the air’ in many sections, which could be vital for India, and many other aspects for those franchises.

Rohit Sharma in IPL
©- MI Fans Army/ Twitter
Rohit’s future for both Mumbai and India depends on this IPL

Can you believe it? Did you ever imagine it? Well, that’s the reality. Mumbai Indians decided to replace their five-time champion captain, Rohit Sharma with traded Hardik Pandya from the Gujrat Titans. The fans didn’t take it well; players a few players too inside the camp, as was probably Rohit himself.

But was it surprising? No! Perhaps one more season they could have waited but the best franchises always keep the emotion out of their side and focus on the future. Rohit has grabbed five trophies in the last 11 seasons but he doesn’t have a season of his standard since 2017.

In none of those seven editions, Rohit has an average of under 30, with the best being 29.30. Only twice in those editions, his strike rate was over the 130 mark, which was in 2023 and 2018. However, in the last two seasons, the India captain has featured in 30 matches for 600 runs at an average of 20 and a strike rate of 126.49 with just two fifties.

That’s enough for a player to get dropped even with Rohit’s caliber. If he doesn’t have a great IPL, you never know during the mega auction in IPL 2025. This year’s performance will also perhaps decide his India future. With the T20 World Cup ending in July, and not many ICC tournaments after that, it will be interesting to see how India plans for the 37-year-old.

For how much Hardik will be available as an all-rounder? The IPL will have an answer

Hardik Pandya. A great all-rounder. India’s solution in overseas game in every format. A perfect replace for the evergreen Kapil Dev. But, there is a huge long broad humongous list of his injury. One follows another.

Hardik’s role in any team as an all-rounder is a blessing. For someone to come at number four to five, and give at least three overs, and also four overs in any phase of the game helps the team in balancing. In 31 games during the last two seasons for the Titans, Hardik has notched up 833 runs at an average of over 37 and a strike rate of over 133, which is quite amazing.

Meaningful Test cricket, short ODIs and only T20 leagues- The Future World stays crystal clear

Going into the T20 World Cup in June in the United States of America (USA) and the Caribbean, Hardik’s role perhaps will decide India’s fortune in the tournament. With him and Ravindra Jadeja, the 2007 champions can balance the side with a good bowling attack from number eight to 11.

In the press conference just before the tournament, Hardik spoke about utilizing him as an all-rounder during this IPL. In the last season, along with the runs, he also took 11 wickets at an economy of 8.15 in 55.3 overs. The whole country’s focus will be on Hardik, to know India’s fate and for some different reasons. Ask Mumbai Indians fans, if you are still trying to find the real meaning of the last sentence.

Is it going to be your last IPL- The same question continues

For three consecutive seasons, the question has been same as has the person whom it was asked. The things to change have been- the position of the team, the ground, and the man to ask the question.

Mind goes back to 2020. Abu Dhabi. Chennai Super Kings, already out of the playoff race for the very first time, was up against Kings XI Punjab (by then). Danny Morrison threw the question to a smiley MS Dhoni, who put those two trending words. “Definitely Not!”

In 2021, the inquire wasn’t straightforward. Dhoni, with his fourth IPL trophy against the Knight Riders in Dubai, put another few famous words, “But I still haven’t left behind”

The year passed on to 2022. This time CSK was playing their last league game at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. Ian Bishop did the toss and asked the question on the same prospect. Dhoni spoke about the importance of giving his Chennai fans one last look of his career.

There was 2023. The fans followed him everyone, perhaps more than he expected. The conversation was about to happen. The stage was set in Lucknow. Morrison threw the old question, and Dhoni said that he was yet to declare it. The crowd gave a loud cheer.

When he grabbed the fifth IPL trophy in 2023, the query was about to come. It came and Harsha Bhogle politely asked about his future plans. Dhoni was right in what he said. But a specific phase probably made the crowd excited, more than winning the trophy. “You know, it will a gift from my side. The way they have shown their love and support.”

The question stands. Is it going to be his last IPL? One last time for CSK? What will be their legacy? Will there be the same craze? Who will lead them? Ruturaj Gaikwad? Ravindra Jadeja? Or you know Dhoni; he is unpredictable.

Virat Kohli in IPL
©- Cricbuzz/ Twitter
Kohli has a target of clearing T20 WC omission rumors in this IPL, and he loves the chase

It’s just hard to visualize a World Cup team for India without Virat Kohli. In any format. In T20Is, the argument says that he plays slowly. Oh, does he? In 25 innings, the 35-year-old is the highest run scorer of the competition with 1141 runs at an average of 81.5 and a strike rate of 131.3. During the last T20 World Cup 2022, Kohli has managed 296 runs at a strike rate of 136.4.

Just around a month before the announcement of India’s T20 World Cup squad, the rumor blows that Kohli may miss the squad. It’s also been said that the Indian management feels to explore the young players more in this format.

Is there any IPL season that one remembers because of a specific player? Yes, it was Virat Kohli’s 2016 season. With the T20 WC happening on those slow tracks of the West Indies, Kohli will be massive in playing the role of holding one end, and going berserk at the end. His presence will also bring a different energy in the side.

One has to be careful in putting a finger on Kohli. He loves an argument, and he loves proving people wrong on his skill. The chase is on, and Kohli is on strike. The eternal story continues.

The stage is set for the IPL 2024. The clashes are going to be head-to-head. The franchises are roaring. The fans are gearing. The stakes are high. But the bottom line stays true for few of these segments. This year’s IPL is going to ‘clear the air’, at least a few, if not all.

That Mad Writer
Author: That Mad Writer

Someone who loves how Steve Smith from being Australia's future Shane Warne has become present Don Bradman, gets inspired by Anderson's longevity, gets awed with Kohli's drive and Southee's bowling action. Never gets excited with stats and records, and believes in instincts, and always questions spinners bowling with the new ball.

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