The Indian Premier League is rapidly approaching over the horizon, as cricket gears up for another six weeks of ball-smashing, boundary-seeking action.
With the auction complete and the fixture list revealed, preparation is well underway for the new campaign which begins on 7 April.
Eight teams will compete with Mumbai Indians favourites to win the IPL at 7/2.
But which players will steal the show? We run you through the player’s we’re most excited to watch in this year’s IPL…
Englishman Ben Stokes was named Player of the Series last year, and will head to India after a turbulent winter.
The all-rounder missed the Ashes due to a court case, and the IPL offers the perfect chance for Stokes to get away from the British media and focus on what he does best – playing cricket.
Expect plenty of scrutiny on the 26-year-old this spring, but equally, expect Stokes to answer back with some starring performances.
Star of the returning Chennai Super Kings, MS Dhoni has consistently proven himself as one of the IPL’s star batsmen over the past 10 years.
The36-year-old is idolised in his home country, and he’s sure to be at the forefront of all the Super Kings’ good work.
Not many batters hit it harder or with more aggression than Aaron Finch.
The Australian is a firm favourite in the IPL, and consistently gets runs too.
Snapped up by Kings XI Punjab for 2018, Finch will miss the opening match to attend his own wedding (a wise decision) so expect him to make up for lost time from then on.
Kings XI could be in the box seats this spring if Finch can find his form alongside Chris Gayle.
The West Indies star was a late pick in the auction, and at 38-years-old, has been carrying a few fitness issues of late.
But he’s as dramatic and exciting as they come at the crease.
With 22 wickets during the Ashes, Australia’s Mitchell Starc heads to India in excellent form – and that should worry anyone who faces him.
The fast bowler will line up for the Kolkata Knight Riders this year, and should prove a real asset to them with the ball.
Australians have a habit of producing the goods in the IPL. Shane Watson, Adam Gilchrist and Glenn Maxwell have all been named Player of the Series in previous years.
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