New Delhi: Festive cricket season will grip the nation once again as the Indian Premier League is slated to start from April 8 and all eyes will be on two new franchises Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions.
The two franchises have replaced the now defunct Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals and both sides boast of some world class names that will keep fans on their toes.
Rising Pune Supergiants, captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, will open their campaign against defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede stadium on April 9.
The franchise, managed by Stephen Fleming, will hope that alongside Dhoni, the duo can weave magic which they had earlier enjoyed in their eight-year stay at CSK.
Meanwhile like Pune, Rajkot too will fancy their chances and hope to express themselves under skipper Suresh Raina. Six CSK players are playing in the Rajkot side and the overall strength of the team is solid.
Gujarat Lions open their campaign against Kings XI Punjab in Mohali on April 11.
There are plenty of experienced individuals who have enjoyed a lot of success in this format in both these new teams. Also, the blend of youngsters will be crucial as the season progresses.
A look at the squad composition of both these new teams.
Rising Pune Supergiants: MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis (Drafted players)
Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Marsh, RP Singh, Ankit Sharma, Rajat Bhatia, Ishwar Pandey, Murugan Ashwin, Ankush Bains, Peter Handscomb, Thisara Perrera, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar, Ashok Dinda, Scott Boland, Adam Zampa, Jaskaran Singh (Auction Players)
Gujarat Lions: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum (Drafted players)
Dwayne Smith, Andrew Tye, Shadab Jakati, Jaydev Shah, Akshdeep Nath, Pradeep Sangwan, Aaron Finch, Paras Dogra, Umang Sharma, Dale Steyn, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe, Sarabjit Ladda, Amit Mishra, Shivil Kaushik, Dinesh Karthik, Ishan Kishan, Eklavya Dwivedi (Auction players)