Mercury (Hobart)

Smith, Warner lead IPL Aussies


INDIAN Premier League hostilitie­s will resume on Monday in the United Arab Emirates in front of spectators with 13 Australian­s returning to play in the tournament.

Fans will be in the stands for the first time in two years when Rohit Sharma’s titleholde­rs, Mumbai Indians, take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Dubai to restart the high-octane Twenty20 competitio­n.

The tournament was halted in May because of a devastatin­g surge in coronaviru­s deaths in India, prompting foreign players to rush for every available flight out.

The money-spinning Twenty20 league is a huge revenue earner for the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Pre-pandemic, it was estimated to generate more than $11 billion (A$15bn) for the Indian economy each year and will grow to 10 teams in 2022.

A large number of foreign players aren’t coming back, although the majority of the Australian contingent is with the IPL’s resumption doubling for many as a T20 World Cup warm-up.

Out of the 13 Australian­s returning, seven will remain in the UAE to play at the World Cup.

Glenn Maxwell (Royal Challenger­s Bangalore), David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Steve Smith (Delhi Capitals) and Marcus Stoinis (Delhi Capitals) are some of the biggest Australian T20 names back in action.

Josh Hazlewood (Chennai Super Kings), Dan Christian (RCB) and Nathan Ellis (Punjab Kings) are hoping to push their cases for selection for selection in the national squad.

Before the IPL’s postponeme­nt, Maxwell was the star Australian with 223 runs at 37.16 and a strike rate of 144.80 in his six innings for RCB.

Warner had made a solid start with 193 runs at 32.16 and a strike rate of 110.28 while opening the batting for Sunrisers Hyderabad, but lost the captaincy after questionin­g team selection. He was demoted but is expected to return to opening the batting with Jonny Bairstow not returning.

The other Australian­s involved are Moises Henriques (Punjab), Chris Lynn (Mumbai Indians), Ben Cutting (Kolkata Knight Riders), Nathan Coulter-Nile (Mumbai), Tim David (RCB) and Ben Dwarshuis (Delhi).

Pat Cummins, who signed for Kolkata Knight Riders for $2.75 million in 2020, will also be absent because of his partner’s pregnancy. He was the team’s highest wicket-taker this season with nine poles at 26.33. Jhye Richardson and Tasmanian Tigers and Hurricanes quick Riley Meredith were also on big-money deals, worth $2.48 million and $1.42 million respective­ly, but won’t be returning. Neither will Adam Zampa of Kane Richardson despite being in Australia’s World Cup squad.

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