The ongoing India vs West Indies ODI series has been closely fought despite Virat Kohli and his men leading 2-1 with a match to go. Except for the Mumbai ODI, the West Indian batsmen showed great skills to rake up 300-plus totals in each of the first three ODIs. Leading the batting charts for West Indies is Shimron Hetmyer who has scores of 106, 94, 37 and 13 in the four ODIs so far.
Hetmyer impressed with his six-hitting ability, especially in the tied ODI at Visakhapatnam where he just fell short of six runs for a fourth ODI ton in just 14 ODIs. He was also brutal during his knock of 106 at Guwahati.
What it has done for the young, 21-year-old Hetmyer is that he has caught the eyes of IPL franchises who would be looking for an explosive batsman in their squad in the 2019 season. And Hetmyer too would be eying an IPL contract and ply his trade in the popular T20 event.
So, which IPL franchises should go all the way to get Hetmyer in their squad for IPL 2019 season? Cricwizz analyses IPL franchises on the strength of their squad and their performances in 2018 season to determine who should go and get Hetmyer at any cost next year.
Chennai Super Kings
The current title holders have abundant of batting riches led by MS Dhoni. They usually go for experienced batsmen rather than young blokes. They had invested in above-30 batsmen in Shane Watson, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis in the 2018 season and it has paid off for them with each playing a vital role in CSK’s success. It’s likely they will stick to this formula. They would look for an experienced batsman in their squad.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
With AB de Villiers retiring from cricket at the international level and neither confirming nor denying his participation in 2019 IPL, RCB would be desperate for an attacking overseas batsman to fill in the big shoes of the South African legend. And Kohli would have definitely noticed Hetmyer and would like to have him in his squad. Besides, RCB need a batsman like Hetmyer in their middle-order, which had disappointed in the last season.
The Hyderabad team too had a shaky middle-order in IPL 2018 with Kane Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan at the top doing the bulk of the scoring. If David Warner’s participation remains unconfirmed, SRH management might look to include Hetmyer in their squad and give a boost to the middle-order with Williamson, Dhawan taking over the opener’s role. Even if Warner is in, Hetmyer’s presence will add depth to SRH’s batting unit.
Rajasthan bloomed late in IPL 2018 season, making it to playoffs, thanks to Jos Buttler’s unbelievable consistency as an opener. But there’s no one to take the attack in the opposition’s camp in the middle-order. Ben Stokes was expected to do the job, but he failed miserably. Although RR are unlikely to replace Stokes, they would look for another stable overseas batsman in their middle-order.
Their foreign recruits such as D’Arcy Short also disappointed in the last season. Hetmyer would be a great addition for them too as RR would be looking for an ideal replacement for the Australian.
Kings XI Punjab
The 2018 IPL season for KXIP was all about KL Rahul who single-handedly led the campaign for them. Their inadequacies in the middle-order were visibly exposed with non-performing assets in Yuvraj Singh and David Miller, a shocking failure in Mayank Agarwal, and inconsistent foreign recruits in Chris Gayle and Aaron Finch. Hetmyer has shown consistency in the India series and can see a bidding war on him by KXIP owner Preity Zinta who had a penchant to throw big money at new talent.
Mumbai Indians have always struggled to decide whether to open with Rohit Sharma or make him bat in the middle-order to add depth to the batting line-up. It is because they lack reliable middle-order batsmen who can destroy bowling attack or finish off games. Hetmyer, although young and inexperienced, has shown the skills to bat for team’s cause and get the big hits going despite extreme pressure. He can be the go-to man for MI in the middle-order that will allow the Hitman to open with peace and play his natural game.
They were the worst performers in the last season. The decision of Gautam Gambhir to drop himself in the middle of the season did not help the team’s cause either. They had Glenn Maxwell in the middle-order, but he flattered to deceive all the time. DD would look for a replacement for Maxwell and none better than Hetmyer to do the job for them.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata was the most balanced team in terms of youth, experience, batting, and bowling riches in IPL 2018. They were led by Dinesh Karthik who did fairly well as a batsman-cum-keeper-cum-captain. He and Andre Russell rallied the middle-order after a good start from top-order batsmen in Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, and Robin Uthappa. Hence, they may not bid for Hetmyer as they are already quite rich in quality foreign players.
Except for KKR, CSK, all the teams need a fiery middle-order batsman of the likes of Hetmyer and hence, it would be no surprise if a bidding war ensues for the West Indian who can possibly turn out to be the richest player in the IPL 2019 auction.