IPL Preview with Steve Harmison

The Indian Premier League enters its ninth season and the tournament has never been bigger, and fans in England have a huge interest in the 2017 event, with an English player in every one of the eight teams.

Ever since the IPL was founded, English players have been playing catch-up as far varying reasons most were not involved, but in recent years they have very much come into the reckoning.

Now English players are set to take centre-stage with the biggest price in the IPL auction being for Ben Stokes, with Tymal Mills second. Indeed with Chris Woakes the seventh most expensive player – English players were in huge demand.

Together with Stokes, Mills and Woakes – we will also see Chris Jordan, Eoin Morgan, Sam Billings, Jason Roy and Jos Buttler – with every team taking one English player.

We spoke exclusively to our own columnist Steve Harmison about the IPL – which he will be commentating on – and he is very excited by the English influx into the tournament.

“It is going to be a fascinating competition and for English viewers for one reason because we have a lot of English players featuring, something we have never had,” Harmison told TheGamblingTimes.com.

“I think a lot of the teams are all much of a muchness, you have the usual big hitters the teams with the big Indian superstars, the likes of Kholi’s Bangalore and Smith and Dhoni with Pune – it will all be fascinating, all the big stars are there – but for me it is to see how these young English players do, I would love to see them all do well.

“We have to look at Tymal Mills, he has to forget his price-tag and go out there and bowl, he has the chance to be on the world stage and as he can’t play Test cricket because of his body, this is his world stage so it will be great to see how he goes, he is a great kid and has the pace, and he is with Banglaore and I think he could do very well.

“Some of the top teams really are stacked and most of their money goes on four or five players and that is when the pressure comes from the others, who are more balanced. The big franchises can put all their eggs in one basket. That is what makes it interesting.”


We also spoke with BetFred and their cricketing trader Phil Crawford for their opinion on the IPL 2017.

“The IPL is very popular – the biggest T20 competition currently taking place. The main action for us centres around the In-Play betting – the matches start at 11.30 BST and 15.30 BST which is ideal – during the week there is only normally a 15.30 match but at the weekends there are always two matches (11.30 and 15.30). Sky are also showing the matches which is a great help,” Crawford said.

“The betting on the Outright Winner has been quiet (usually the case) but what little money we have seen has been for Bangalore. There has been no money for Pune at this stage but that could change – a lot of the Outright Winner bets tend to come in the week running up to the start of the competition and once it has started and punters have had a chance to look at the teams.

“Potential dark horses are Delhi Daredevils who showed signs of improvement last year and could build upon that this season.”

Below with have a run through of every team including Steve Harmison’s thoughts on each.


LAST SEASON: Finished 6th – just outside the play-offs
KEY PLAYERS: Karun Nair, Kagiso Radaba, Rishabh Pant, Corey Anderson
HARMY’S VIEW: They had JP Duminy last year in charge, a fantastic player who has just pulled out and they will miss him but they are a good team. Sam Billings is back again and that was great for him – hopefully he will get more time and that is great for England cricket.


LAST SEASON: Won the league stage but finished third overall
KEY PLAYERS: Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, Dinesh Karthik, Aaron Finch
HARMY’S VIEW: They are stacked with 20/20 specialists, they don’t have many Test players – they are all white ball specialists and they are one of those sides who can be hit or miss, it would not surprise me if they had the highest score in the tournament and the lowest, they are all guns blazing and they are all or noting, and that is not a bad thing in this form of the game and again be great for England to see Jason Roy going well.


LAST SEASON: Finished bottom and won only four games in the tournament
KEY PLAYERS: Glenn Maxwell, T Natarajan, Eoin Morgan, Darren Sammy
HARMY’S VIEW: Rated as the outsiders, but it is all about the start and momentum and I think Eoin Morgan is really due for a good IPL – he has never taken it by storm and now he is in really good form and I think this could be the IPL that he stars in, and if he does he could become a huge star. But for me he does need a good IPL and this could be a stepping stone to one of the big franchises in the future.


LAST SEASON: Finished fourth to secure play-off spot but did not progress any further
KEY PLAYERS: Gautam Gambhir, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes, Trent Boult
HARMY’S VIEW: Gambhir is a shrewd customer, he captains very well, they have always done OK with him in charge and they have a workmanlike side, a lot of players who can bat and bowl, they have a good set-up and with Gambhir and Yadav they have some steel and I think they could be OK, and with Chris Woakes here, I think he could have a good tournament – he has deserved this chance, he has emerged as such a good player.


LAST SEASON: Just missed out on the play-offs, finishing fifth
KEY PLAYERS: Rohit Sharma, Jos Buttler, Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh
HARMY’S VIEW: Mumbai have always been strong and their stadium is such a wonderful place to play, if they can get their away form going and win on the road, they could do well as they are a very good team at home – so a couple of good tosses and they could do well, as teams struggle in the heat of Mumbai.


LAST SEASON: Finished second in the table and lost the final to Sunrisers.
KEY PLAYERS: AB De Villiers, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Kedar Jadhav
HARMY’S VIEW: They have an unbelievable line-up, they have always had the big names and the pressure is on the likes of Gayle, De Villiers and Kohli – Mills is there and has a big price-tag, but he won’t have the real pressure. Those guys who are expected to score big, it is a small ground and a good pitch and 200 is a par score, he will go round the park but they have bought him to take wickets. But they started as favourites last year and started poor, they are poor starters and if they do get going they will be very difficult to beat.


LAST SEASON: Finished second bottom in league stage
KEY PLAYERS: Steve Smith, MS Dhoni, Ben Stokes, Faf du Plessis
HARMY’S VIEW: I think this could be a difficult team to beat. I can’t wait to see Ben Stokes – when he is playing and on form, there is nobody in the world more exciting, I would love to see him take this IPL by storm and if he does, it would be great for English cricket and also for his own education, this is the biggest test and the more pressure he will have had for a quite a while. He is ready for this – he is ready to share the dressing room with the likes of Steve Smith and MS Dhoni. This is a great franchise for him to be at.


LAST SEASON: Defending champion’s. Won the final after finishing third in the league.
KEY PLAYERS: David Warner, Shikhar Darwan, Yuvraj Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar
HARMY’S VIEW: They are a workmanlike team, they don’t have as many superstars, they have a very good work ethic which has been better than others – you don’t see many of their players making huge runs, but they all chip and get them up, they don’t go and blast teams away but they make it hard. They will put pressure on the bigger teams and look for the prize scalps.

I think it is hard to look past Bagalore, they will be there or thereabouts, and then for me it is Mumbai and Pune – but if I had one team to win it, it would be Bangalore – I think if they get on any sort of run of form, because the ground is so small – they could easily be getting 250s in the tournament with their fire-power.

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