Cricket’s ultimate extravaganza begins in a couple of weeks’ time and the global cricketing stars are beginning to head towards the sub-continent for this all-important edition of the Indian Premier League, which is going to be bigger and better than before.
The Chennai Super Kings took home their 4th IPL crown in a pulsating finale last season against the Kolkata Knight Riders, inching further closer to the Mumbai Indians’ 5-titles tally.
The mega auction for this season of the IPL was held last month in Bengaluru, which saw some major revamps among both sides.
The real task for these teams was to assemble a quality unit and it wasn’t very easy considering a fact that two new additions were made. But it also opens us to a new array of talents, and more cricketing action, something the fans are more than excited to witness.
Franchises based out of Lucknow and Ahmedabad had entered the fray in the final week of October last year. It was quite evident even before the team auction began that all the bidders are keenly looking at these two cities, but the valuations they made seemed pretty surprising eventually.
The Ahmedabad franchise went for INR 5,625 crore, purchased by British private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, but the real eye-popper of the day was the bid made by the RP Sanjiv Goenka Group for the Lucknow franchise. They made a bid of INR 7,090 crore for both Ahmedabad and Lucknow cities, and when a choice was presented, they decided to go ahead with Lucknow.
Lucknow Super Giants owner
RP Sanjiv Goenka Group, also referred to as the RPSG group, are an industrial conglomerate from Kolkata with annual revenue in excess of $3.5 billion. Although the RPSG group was re-formed with different branding in 2011, they have been a major presence in the eastern side of the country, including in Bangladesh, since 1979.
Rama Prasad Goenka established RPG Enterprises in 1979 and in a matter of few years they acquired some major companies like CEAT tyres and KEC international. Nearly a decade later, they acquired Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) and followed it up with the acquisition of popular super-market chain “Spencers”. They also acquired “Nature’s Basket” from Godrej in 2019, an online grocery delivery chain.
Ever since Sanjiv Goenka, Rama Prasad Goenka’s elder son, took over as chairman, they have been actively pursuing an interest in acquiring sports teams and interestingly, their first major acquisition among sports teams was an IPL franchise. When the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended for a couple of years, RPSG group acquired the Pune franchise, which was named “Rising Pune Super Giant”.
The Rising Pune Super Giant had a mediocre first season, but in 2017, they reached the finals under the leadership of Steve Smith and narrowly lost the final to Mumbai Indians in Hyderabad.
Soon, they made their presence felt in the Indian Super League (ISL), making a major investment on ATK Mohun Bagan. They also have a franchise named “RPSG Mavericks Kolkata” in the “Ultimate Table Tennis League”.
Although it came as no surprise that they were keen on taking part in the IPL, a lot of eyebrows were raised when they made a whopping INR 7,090 crore bid for the Lucknow franchise. On 24th January, they announced that the franchise will be named “Lucknow Super Giants” and a week later, they launched the official logo, inspired by the mythical bird “Garuda”.
Lucknow Super Giants squad
The Lucknow Super Giants acquired KL Rahul from the player draft the moment they had an opportunity, and also named him the captain of this new franchise. The talented Indian opener had scored in excess of 590 runs in each of the last four editions for Punjab Kings, but couldn’t guide them to the playoffs.
The other two picks turned out to be a bit surprising, as they went in for Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who was previously a part of the Delhi Capitals. They also roped in Ravi Bishnoi, who at that time, was an uncapped player.
In the mega auction conducted last month, they acquired a few big names in the IPL like Quinton de Kock and Krunal Pandya, who were instrumental in Mumbai Indians’ success over the last few seasons. They also roped in Karnataka stalwart Manish Pandey, talented young fast bowler Avesh Khan, and West Indian openers Kyle Mayers and Evin Lewis, providing a solid outlook to the side.
Their bowling department is filled with some young Indian talents like Mayank Yadav, Mohsin Khan, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan and off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham, who will have to play out of their skin as a lot of them might be getting chances as the tournament progresses.
Batters: Manan Vohra, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey
All–rounders: Marcus Stoinis, Kyle Mayers, Karan Sharma, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, Krishnappa Gowtham
Wicket–keepers: KL Rahul (C), Quinton de Kock
Bowlers: Ravi Bishnoi, Dushmantha Chameera, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohsin Khan, Mayank Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Avesh Khan, Mark Wood
Lucknow Super Giants Schedule
The Super Giants’ first-ever game in the IPL will be against fellow new entrants Gujarat Titans at the Wankhede, a game which will garner plenty of attention from the country. They have been placed alongside Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals in Group A, which means they’ll play all of them 2 times each.
Among Group B teams, they’ll be facing Gujarat Titans two times and will encounter Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings once each.
|1.||28/03/2022||Gujarat Titans vs Lucknow Super Giants||7:30 PM||Wankhede|
|2.||31/03/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Chennai Super Kings||7:30 PM||Brabourne Stadium|
|3.||04/04/2022||Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Lucknow Super Giants||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|4.||07/04/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Delhi Capitals||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|5.||10/04/2022||Rajasthan Royals vs Lucknow Super Giants||7:30 PM||Wankhede|
|6.||16/04/2022||Mumbai Indians vs Lucknow Super Giants||3:30 PM||Brabourne Stadium|
|7.||19/04/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Royal Challengers Bangalore||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
|8.||24/04/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Mumbai Indians||7:30 PM||Wankhede|
|9.||29/04/2022||Punjab Kings vs Lucknow Super Giants||7:30 PM||MCA Stadium, Pune|
|10.||01/05/2022||Delhi Capitals vs Lucknow Super Giants||3:30 PM||Wankhede|
|11.||07/05/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Kolkata Knight Riders||7:30 PM||MCA Stadium, Pune|
|12.||10/05/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Gujarat Titans||7:30 PM||MCA Stadium, Pune|
|13.||15/05/2022||Lucknow Super Giants vs Rajasthan Royals||7:30 PM||Brabourne Stadium|
|14.||18/05/2022||Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lucknow Super Giants||7:30 PM||DY Patil Stadium|
The Lucknow Super Giants have assembled a pretty good set of players, but there are some evident loopholes, much like plenty other teams. They have stacked up their middle order with a lot of players who haven’t been in the best of form lately and have not been doing well in the IPL for a while. The likes of Manish Pandey and Krunal Pandya have to be at his best for the franchise to aspire for big things.
While they do look well-versed in the fast-bowling department with plenty of exciting names, they do lack experience in that area with Mark Wood being the only experienced cricketer, who does not guarantee 100% attendance due to his injury issues. However, they do have some top-notch match-winners, who could make a difference plenty of times as the tournament progresses and Lucknow can consider themselves one of the favorites to finish top 4.