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New IPL side Lucknow SuperGiants not expected to challenge for title in first season

New IPL side Lucknow SuperGiants not expected to challenge for title in first season despite being captained by KL Rahul and coached by Andy Flower.

Last updated: 27.01.2022
New IPL side Lucknow SuperGiants not expected to challenge for title in first season

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The Indian Premier League’s (IPL) latest addition the Lucknow SuperGiants are expected to struggle in their first season despite being captained by ​​KL Rahul and coached by Andy Flower.

Rahul led India in their recent one-day international (ODI) series defeat in South Africa, while Flower - statistically the greatest batsman Zimbabwe has ever produced - successfully coached England from 2009 to 2014.

However, with the team only founded three months ago, bookmakers are not foreseeing a great season for the IPL new boys.


Punters who fancy a flutter on Lucknow winning the title can use the best betting offers online to back Flower’s side at around 11.00 to lift the 2022 edition.

So far only Marcus Stoinis and Ravi Bishnoi are alongside Rahul as confirmed players, with the IPL draft taking place on February 12 and 13 in Bengaluru.

Ahmedabad is the other new team in this season’s competition, also unfancied with bookmakers.

But the mega-auction draft has the potential to change the landscape hugely for all 10 squads, with teams only able to retain up to four players from their 2021 squads.

Rahul gave some insight into the franchise’s plans when he explained why himself, South African Stoinis and compatriot Bishnoi were retained.

“The idea behind (picking) Stoinis and Bishnoi is very simple,” he said. “When you are trying to get three retentions, you want to get three pillars sorted.

“You have an opening batter in me, you have an all-rounder in Stoinis, who can bat No. 5-6. We’ve seen that in Big Bash, he has opened as well. He’s a very flexible player. He gives you a sixth bowling option as well.

“We’ve seen in the history of IPL that wrist spinners [like Bishnoi] have done really well and whoever is available in this auction will be hot. We felt getting all of us would give us a good start as a team.

“Marcus is a very committed player and is a brilliant team man. Bishnoi has a big heart for a youngster who hasn’t played too much. In IPL cricket he has shown a lot of heart.

“He wanted to be in the fight and bowl to the likes of Pollard, Russell, Hardik and Rishabh. Whenever they came in, he would say, ‘bhaiyya mujhe ball do’ (brother give me strength). I can see him playing for India soon and for a long time.

Former batsman-turned-politician Gautam Gambhir is mentoring the Lucknow SuperGiants and feels Bishnoi, 21, has the ability to take wickets at any stage of the game.

“Ravi Bishnoi, for me, made a lot of sense,” he said. “He is young, is a wicket-taking option. He’s going to be a sure shot guy in the playing XI.

“He can bowl at different stages of the game. More importantly, he is an uncapped player as well. From every sense, it made a lot of logic for us to get him on board."

Gambhir added: "When I’ve captained, I have always said I don’t want players thinking of playing for India. I want players thinking of playing for the franchise. Playing for India is just the byproduct.

“If you think of playing for India and you start saying that Lucknow gives me that platform to play for India, then you are being dishonest to the franchise. But if you were to play for Lucknow and deliver it for Lucknow, eventually you will end up playing for India.

"So probably in those two months, I would not want any of the players saying or thinking that my job or my ultimate aim is to play for India. Their ultimate aim for those two months is to win the tournament for the franchise. And if they look to do that with their performances, they will eventually go on to play for India.

"And IPL is not a platform to go on to play for India. IPL is a platform to showcase your talent to the world, and that is how players should think about it.”

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