Right, then - this is the first of my previews ahead of the mega-hype that is the IPL. I will be starting with the teams that I don't really like and end with my favourites.
KKR are easily the flashiest team, but following their first ever match where B-Mac slammed a hundred and BCR collapsed, they have spiralled. Downwards, that is.
Team politics and management haven't been great, really unfortunate for SRK, who has provided the money to buy the best players and coaches. Not the uniform though, that's hideous.
Here's their squad -
Sourav Ganguly (capt), Cheteshwar Pujara, Charl Langeveldt, Chirag Pathak, Iqbal Abdulla, G Vignesh, Brendon McCullum, Angelo Mathews, Wriddhiman Saha, Ajit Agarkar, Chris Gayle, Manoj Tiwary, Rohan Gavaskar, Harshad Khadiwale, Varun Aaron, Eklak Ahmed, Owais Shah, Murali Kartik, Brad Hodge, Ajantha Mendis, Laxmi Shukla, Ashok Dinda, Ishant Sharma, Shane Bond.
Issues: One would think that with B-Mac and Gaylestorm at the top, with much-loved (in Kolkata, that is) captain Saurav Ganguly in the middle, as well as do-it-all Aussie Brad Hodge, and star spinners in Mendis and Murali (Kartik), KKR would be great to go. But as we know, the first two tend to blow hot and cold, and the bowling is always a let-down. Ishant Sharma is not fit for shorter formats, and going by recent form, any format. Agarkar is, well, Agarkar. There's no David Hussey, the leading six hitter in the IPL last year. No Morne van Wyk either. Bringing in completely out-of-depth (for T20s) players like Bangar and Akash Chopra wasn't too smart either last year, and Fake IPL Player didn't exactly help team spirit.
Good news: Express paceman Shane Bond has been recruited, though he'll be joining once the ODI's against Oz have been completed. Ganguly is back as captain, where he belongs. Indian players Manoj Tiwary, Saha, Iqbal Abdulla and Chirag Pathak have definitely improved since last year, and domestic giant Cheteshwar Pujara is fit. G Vignesh, the superslogging allrounder is back from the ICL. KKR now has a different away kit. Whoop-de-do.
Okay, this is the likely line-up (with a full squad when the Kiwis are back):
Brendon McCullum (wk)
Sourav Ganguly (c)
Laxmi Ratan Shukla
Until the Kiwis arrive, Saha will probably keep, with Ganguly filling in as opener. Angelo Mathews should fill in for Bond, and Owais Shah will get a few games. Looks like fire at the top, solidity in the middle, and a half-decent bowling attack. I'm trying very hard to preview them without scorn.
My Official-sounding prediction for KKR this season - Will do better this season. And since they rightfully earned the wooden spoon last year, 'better' is a very wide term. So I'm going with 6th place for them.
Rajasthan Royals up next. Until then, Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re (*pukes*)(*wipes mouth*).