Performances in IPL 2019 may earn players selection in World Cup
By Brandon Corlette
Commencing one week hence, Saturday March 23, 2019, cricket of the highest quality will be played across India in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premiere League. World Class players from across the globe will be featured, including three of Guyana’s brightest prospects, the youngsters having flown to India with the purpose of announcing themselves on the most popular stage in T20 league cricket.
Shimron Hetmyer will be playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, while Sherfane Rutherford and Keemo Paul will be representing the Delhi Capitals. They earned selection for participation in this elite tournament after registering mind-blowing performances in the 2018 Caribbean Premiere League (CPL), and after performing for the West Indies at the highest level.
Paul and Hetmyer have played ODI cricket for the Windies, but solid performances in the upcoming IPL would give them confidence to represent the Windies at World Cup. Rutherford would be looking to further announce himself as a limited overs specialist, and if he performs at the apex of his ability, he may be picked ahead of the likes of Rovman Powell and Carlos Brathwaite.
With the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) 50-Over World Cup scheduled for May 30, 2019, players from different nations would regard the 2019 IPL as the perfect forum to earn a ticket to the World Cup.
The first match of the 2019 IPL season features Chennai Super Kings taking on the Royal Challengers Bangalore. These teams both have a composition of world class players, with Chennai Super Kings having a lone West Indian in retired Windies star Dwayne Bravo. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has the lone West Indian in Hetmyer.
Apart from the Guyanese trio, Oshane Thomas, who recently picked up a five-wicket haul against World Cup hosts England, will play for the Rajasthan Royals. Thomas has express pace, but his skill-set requires fine-tuning. The IPL provides the perfect scenario for Thomas to improve his bowling, with Jofra Archer being his Royals team mate.
The forgotten Keiron Pollard is once more with his home team in IPL 2019, the Mumbai Indians. Pollard is partnered by fellow West Indian Evin Lewis, who would need game time ahead of the Tri-Nations Series in Ireland and the World Cup, since he did not feature in the recent ODI series against England due to injury.
The Kolkata Knight Riders have three West Indian players in Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite and Andre Russell. With the exception of Narine, the other West Indians in the Knight Riders will be aiming to book a spot in the World Cup team.
Brathwaite has been an inconsistent performer in recent times, and his place in the Windies squad is in jeopardy.
Andre Russell has been beset by injuries in recent times, and the IPL may set the tone for his World Cup berth.
Kings XI Punjab have two West Indians — Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran. Gayle is certainly the opening batsman for West Indies at the World Cup, since his home ODI series against England was remarkable. Questions will not be asked of Gayle’s selection to participate at the World Cup.
Pooran, meanwhile, may not have much opportunity in the IPL, but the flamboyant left-hander will be seeking to announce himself and grasp the Windies selectors’ attention in order to earn selection as one of the two Windies wicket-keepers in the World Cup squad.