Well, well, well. IPL 2017 is here and as every year I am going to have a lot of fun playing fantasy cricket. Only this year, I am going to write a blog about it.
I am going to play this year’s fantasy cricket on Fandromeda.com because I love their clean interface, sensible points scoring system and interesting rules (one free sub each match and the concept of batting and bowling stars). We have 80 subs for the league stages.
I follow five commandments while playing fantasy cricket which I will cover in another post. This year my starting XI looks like this:
- No Warner – A tough choice. With only 4 overseas players allowed, Warner doesn’t make the cut. Firstly, I don’t expect this to be a high scoring match so the all-round ability of Watson is more appealing to me. Moreover, he will bat in the top order this time. Secondly, Pune plays two matches very quickly so it makes sense to have both Smith and Stokes in my eleven. Lastly, I expect big things from Rashid Khan this season so can’t keep him out. I have made him my bowling star as well.
- No representation from Punjab, Delhi and Kolkata – Punjab and Delhi play their matches relatively later in the tournament. So I have not given any spots to players from these teams. As and when their matches approach I’ll sub them in. As far as Kolkata is concerned, it is just a coincidence that none of their players found a place in my team. Woakes and Gambhir are players I might be interested in. Shakib too, provided Kolkata uses him well.
- Wicket-Keeper – In the absence of ABD, De Kock and Rahul there is a shortage of good keepers initially. I ‘d love to pick Billings provided Delhi opens with him. Meanwhile, the only other options were Buttler, Patel and Karthik. I have gone with Karthik because of his domestic form and for the fact that he doesn’t eat up an overseas spot. Rishabh Pant could also be an interesting choice if he opens.
- Krunal Pandya – I rate him. He often gets promotion up the order and consistently bowls 2-3 overs each match. Moreover, as an allrounder, he lends balance to the side (we need 7 batting and 6 bowling options minimum at Fandromeda) at very low cost.
- Shikhar Dhawan & Yuvraj Singh – I am not a big fan of Dhawan. However, he has been out of the national team and would be hungry to perform. Thus, he gets the nod ahead of someone like Gambhir (who has no realistic chance of getting a call up). On the other hand, Yuvraj could be a different player this season with his confidence restored. His bowling has the potential of adding some valuable points.
- Rahane, Smith and Stokes – As I mentioned earlier, Pune plays their first two matches very quickly so I am favouring it’s players. Rahane always gives a good return, and at his price he is a no-brainer. It is a toss up between Smith and Faf but I have gone with Smith because the added responsibility of captaincy might prompt him to bat up the order. Lastly, in the absence of good fast bowlers I expect Stokes to bowl his full quota of overs every match (and in death overs as well), which combined with his batting makes him a mighty attractive player.
- Rohit – He is an IPL stalwart. Might take a few games to get going as he is coming off an injury but it is a risk worth taking.
- Bumrah – Almost always bowls at the death. This, combined with his excellent yorkers, could see him rack huge points for your fantasy side. Don’t be surprised if he finishes as a top-3 wicket takers this season.
If you’d like to compete with me, join my league on Fandromeda: Fours Sixes et al.
Today I read an article on Cricinfo arguing that Rahane is a problem for RR. It says, in a nutshell, that the top 6 batsmen of RR (apart from Rahane) face on an average 117 balls together in an T20 innings. Thus, Rahane effectively requires to face only 3 balls on an average. And here, his lowish strike-rate plays against him. The article further suggests that it would be best for RR to not to open with Rahane, and front load the batting with power hitters.
I disagree with the thinking.
First, the balls per innings stats can’t be treated in isolation. You can’t extrapolate balls played and runs scored at the end of the innings to the beginning. If it were the case, teams should simply pick 11 players who, on an average, face 11 balls each with the maximum possible strike rate. Unfortunately, cricket doesn’t work that way.
You increase chances of Stokes playing more balls by ensuring he comes in after a platform has been set not by sending him out to open against new ball. If Buttler opens, he might get to face more balls but his strike rate might also come down. Moreover, when he fails (which he would more than a Rahane), the team loses a one of its kind option later in the innings. This is the crucial concept to grasp here. Each player is different. The stage of innings when they arrive is different. Their role in team is different. A simple comparison of BPI (Balls per Innings) and Strike Rate simply doesn’t cut it.
Lastly, the balls faced is an average. There will be days when a batsman just keeps on hitting it and all is well. But there are also days when you lose 3 quick wickets and the team needs their batsman who average 25 balls per innings to play 40 balls. Now, a player like Rahane can extend his ball played by altering his game (not going for big shots and risky runs) but can a player like Maxwell do it ? Probably not.
A team of 11 Maxwells will probably pulp the team of 11 Rahanes but cricket is a game of limited resources. Power hitters who keep on hitting irrespective of match situation do not exist. Even if they do, there are not enough of them to fill your eleven. Till that time there will always be a place for Rahane.
MI vs DD
My team hasn’t hit the straps so far in the tournament but I hope it will all change with this match. I already have Rohit, Lewis, Krunal from Mumbai and Munro, Pant from Delhi. I will not be using another sub for this match. Markande will come in for Mayank as my uncapped sub.
I see Mumbai winning this one with Rohit at the helm. He will be my PowerPlayer as well. If Mumbai bat first my second innings PP will be one out of Munro or Pant, I might go with Pant this time – though there is not much to chose between them. In case, Mumbai bat second – I will pick Lewis as my second innings PP as Krunal might not even get the chance to bat.
I strongly recommend bringing Rohit in for this match. With his team losing 2 in 2 and him failing in both, he has a point to prove !
Here is a screenshot of my time before I make the changes:
This year, like every year, i am going to play fantasy cricket. Moreover, like last year, I am going to write a blog about it. Hopefully for far longer than what I managed in 2017.
So let’s dive right in. I am playing on the official platform and invite you to join my league, Fours Sixes Et Al (league code: GU6OFfUX).
The First Match
I did not have Bravo as I considered him to be a force in decline. Boy ! Did he prove me wrong. I was impressed with his bowling as well and might consider him in the future. Of the players I did have, Rohit and Lewis (Powerplayer) failed. Watson failed with the bat but at least got wickets. Hardik Pandya was the only pick I was happy with. Onwards and Upwards.
The Second Match
I have a hunch Delhi will bat big. Colin Munro and Rishabh Pant are my picks from their line up. Gambhir bats too slowly and Iyer may bat at four which is too low for him. Chris Morris is a tricky one as I don’t rate him as high as others, but in the absence of Rabada he finds a spot in my team.
Kings XI Punjab is missing Finch from this game, and in his absence who opens is anyone’s pick. If they play Mandeep I would pick him up as my uncapped pick. Of the rest, only Karun Nair attracts me – but not enough to waste a sub. I would have picked Tye but don’t want to waste a sub early without seeing him in action first.
The Third Match
I expect a big thrashing for KKR. Already have Chahal in my team. Would also pick Woakes. And one out of Virat and ABD. Leaning towards Kohli for now because he bats higher ( might pick ABD if RCB bats first). No player from KKR seems interesting. If I do decide to go with one, might pick Lynn.
My team has progressed quite nicely on the back of, if I say so myself, inspired selections of Warner, Rashid, Jadhav and K. Pandya over the last few matches. Rashid, mainly because no one seems to pick him – he is an unknown quantity after all. K. Pandya, because I rate him highly and he provides balance to my team at a low cost. Jadhav, because in the absence of ABD and Kohli he gets a good position to bat in and because Bangalore were playing their matches relatively quickly. But Warner? Surely that can’t be an inspiring pick. Well, it is for me and that is chiefly because I greatly value saving subs for the later part of the tournament. I already had Dhawan and Yuvi in my team for that match against GL. Also, I was bringing in Rashid as my bowling star. Yet, I brought in Warner (against my subs policy) because, let’s face it, GL’s bowling attack is a joke. Needless to say, Warner rewarded me with a quick fire 70 odd for trusting my gut.
Before Match 8, my team is ranked 276 with 3,267 points and 73 subs remaining.
Match 8, KXIP V RCB
- Gayle – Not playing ! I was banking on him but will have to sub him out now. ABD gets in.
- Jadhav – Already in the team and can be a good option considering his form and batting position. Only bring him in if you have more than 75 subs left.
- T. Mills – I am carrying him from the last match and he has underperformed so far. He will be my bowling captain in this match but that is only because he is the only bowler in my team so far. I’d not pick him but if he’s already in your team, he isn’t bowling badly and with some luck can get a 3 wicket haul.
- No KXIP player – I don’t like this team. Maxi and Miller are batting too low in my opinion and are not worth having (even after putting in a M.O.M performance last match). I would only suggest A. Patel for his canny bowling and the potential of a quick fire 30 odd.
- Free sub – I am hoping to get Watson in. Depending on team composition.
With Smith, Rahane and Tahir (whom I subbed in at the last moment) all performing in the last match, I have leaped up in rankings beyond my wildest imagination. Which means I can take it easy in this match as I am not at all sure how it will pan out.
With my foreign spots reserved, I can not bring in any of the Gujarat’s foreign batsman. Raina is proving to be too expensive, and despite him playing twice in next 4 matches I can’t bring him in my team. I have Dinesh Karthik as my keeper and am hoping he gets a decent number of balls to face.
On the KKR side, I have Woakes in my team. I have brought in Gambhir as my free sub as he is a decent bet for batting star. I wanted to bring in one out of Chawla or Kuldeep as my spinner. However, I am not sure which one – in the end I decided to save my sub. Though the spinners can create havoc against a lineup dominated by foreign batsman.
So, that’s it. Not much riding on this match for me. I hope Woakes gets a few wickets to restrict GL ( though spinners have a better chance of doing it) and then, Gambhir ends up not out in a small chase.
Ok, First of all I am a doofus. In my infinite wisdom and amazing hand-eye co-ordination, I appointed Rohit Sharma as my Batting Star (who sits just below Dhawan) for the first match. Guess what ? Rohit Sharma’s team wasn’t even playing the match !
Apart from that, the first game went well for me. I’m sitting at the rank of mid 9000 with all my subs in hand. My aim is to breach the top 500 mark this season.
Coming to the second game, I already have Rahane, Smith, Stokes, Krunal and Rohit in my team. I don’t see the need of bringing anyone else. I’ll use my free sub to bring in a KKR player – Woakes (who hopefully plays in the next match). It’s a toss up between the two openers for the batting star spot: Rohit or Rahane ? I prefer Rohit because he is more destructive but as he’s coming off from a big injury layoff I’ll go with Rahane.
I have only one person playing this match who bowls and that is Ben Stoke. So, he’ll have to be my bowling star.
I expect Pune to win this match. Hopefully Rahane scores some runs.
This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.