On Monday (April 26), the news of inaugural season champions Rajasthan Royals (RR) writing to other Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises with the aim to get few players on loan came to the fore.
RR, of course, are the worst affected team due to the premature departure of multiple players from the ongoing IPL 2021. The efflux of these players, including ones injured and those opting out because of bio-bubble fatigue, has left RR significantly under-strength, especially in the overseas contingent.
With injuries to Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer triggering their exit from the entire IPL 2021 and Andrew Tye, Liam Livingstone also returning home due to personal reasons, RR now only have four overseas players available within their squad, an unsustainable situation given the competition level.
To RR’s rescue will come the window to loan out players from other IPL franchises as they look to stay afloat in the competition without the presence of Stokes and Archer, easily two of the best modern-day cricketers, in their playing XI.
As per the IPL playing conditions, “the loan Window will start at 9 am IST on the day following the 20th league match scheduled for the season and will end at noon IST on the day following the 56th league match scheduled for the season.”
Of course, other teams needing to plug any hole in their team can also look to take advantage of the loan window. But the player involved in the loan transfer window, state the IPL rules, must have played – either in the Playing XI or as a Concussion Replacement – less than two matches at the start of the loan period.
The rules also mention that a player can be loaned out only once in a particular season and that player can’t play against his previous franchise. “Each franchisee may loan no more than three of its players to the same franchisee during the season,” the IPL rules further state.
There are also other strict rules that come into effect once the loan window starts, but considering the times, the BCCI may relax a few of the clauses for the overall betterment of the IPL 2021.
While historically teams haven’t been that active in looking for reinforcements midway through an IPL, the unprecedented nature of the tournament this season and the massive talent exodus that has been seen could make this year’s loan window slightly different. And so today, we look at five potential loan transfers that can come to light in the following days.
Five players who could be loaned out for remainder of the IPL 2021
1. James Neesham
If RR are looking to fill the void of an all-rounder in their team in Stokes’ absence, New Zealand’s James Neesham could definitely be part of their discussions. Neesham is currently part of the Mumbai Indians (MI) squad but hasn’t played any of the games in IPL 2021 so far, which makes him eligible for the loan transfer.
Neesham, who was previously with Punjab Kings (PBKS), has never really gotten a run of games in the IPL, which has had a negative influence on his numbers. But for New Zealand at the international stage, he has a career batting strike-rate of 157.28 over 29 matches. He can also chip in useful overs with the ball in the capacity of a sixth-bowling option.
2. Mohammad Nabi
Mohammad Nabi, the experienced Afghanistan off-spinner and handy lower-order batsman, is currently warming the benches within the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) set up. If a franchise is looking for a spin-bowling all-rounder, Nabi’s name should definitely arrive on the discussion table, considering his incisiveness with the ball and ability to contribute crucial runs as a batter.
Nabi has played 15 matches in his IPL career with a strike-rate of 145.45 and an economy rate of just 6.65. The 36-year-old has piled on a very impressive T20I record for Afghanistan as well, with a strike-rate of 145.72 and an economy rate of 7.20 across 81 matches. Nabi is a smart operator, who can keep the batters in check with his variations and also use the long handle in the closing stages of an innings.
3. Jason Roy
Given their first-choice overseas contingent, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) haven’t been able to give any opportunity to England opener Jason Roy in the playing XI. While that would obviously be a cause of disappointment for Roy, the lack of chances in the IPL 2021 thus far also make him eligible to be transferred in the loan window.
Roy has emerged as one of the finest limited-overs batsmen in modern-day cricket, with a terrific range of strokeplay to put oppositions under a great deal of pressure at the top of the order. Roy, for whom opportunities in the IPL have been rare, has been an integral part of England white-ball units.
He has a career T20I strike-rate of 142.22 after 43 matches for the three lions. At his best, Roy is a dangerous hitter of the ball in powerplay field restriction overs and will be a valuable addition to any other IPL team.
4. Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan was picked by Punjab Kings (PBKS) at the IPL 2021 auction in February for a sum of INR 1.50 crores. In what was to be Malan’s maiden IPL campaign, the England left-hander, however, hasn’t played even a single of PBKS’ matches so far.
Malan’s wait for an elusive IPL debut could come with some other team, though, if he is transferred during the loan window. The 33-year-old boasts of a very fine record to his name in the T20 internationals played for England. Malan has scored 1,003 runs, including one century and ten fifties, from his 24 T20Is at an average of 50.15 and strike-rate of 144.31.
5. Sam Billings
Released by Chennai Super Kings (CSK), England’s promising young batsman Sam Billings would’ve hoped to get more IPL matches under his belt when Delhi Capitals (DC) roped him in at the auction in February. Sadly for Billings, warming the benches is a theme that has seen no end even this summer in India.
Billings could be a valuable addition to any other IPL team’s middle-order, with his ever-improving game against pacers and spinners alike. Billings has a career T20I strike-rate of 133.44 after 30 matches and can prove impactful to an IPL team’s fortunes if shown the trust and given a consistent run in the playing XI.