Deccan Gladiators are one of the top contenders in this edition of The Abu Dhabi T10 and are filled to the brim with world-class talent. They boast a squad that can lift the title after last season’s upset in the finals.
Here, we glance through some of their strongest players that will play a crucial role in this campaign.
Dependable hero: Sunil Narine
Deccan Gladiators’ Icon Player Sunil Narine is probably the most versatile player in the tournament, fully capable of opening the batting and bowling, along with handy late-hitting. At the beginning of his career, the West Indian turned heads as a mystery spinner who could bowl different variations in each delivery of an over and keep the batsmen guessing. It took opposition teams years of studying and analysis to decipher all the weapons in his arsenal and he kept coming back with more. With the bat, Sunil Narine was shrewdly used as a pinch-hitter for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2017 Indian Premier League. He has since then become a mainstay at the top order, often facing the new ball but is also efficient lower down the order. It’s this all-around prowess that makes him a threat at any stage of the innings.
The Trinidadian has been named IPL Player of the Tournament in 2012, and 2018. The Deccan Gladiators can certainly bank on Sunil Narine to deliver when it matters the most.
Player in-form: Colin Ingram
South African international Colin Ingram has been plying his trade with the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League. He has consistently returned with runs in the Australian T20 tournament. The Proteas cricketer’s scores have not been big but they have been quick (close to a strike rate of 140) and that is what is needed in the fast-paced format of The Abu Dhabi T10. The transition from T20 to T10 should be too difficult for the 35-year-old, who has amassed close to 7,000 runs in T20 leagues around the world, hitting 608 boundaries and averaging 30.
T10 veteran: Kieron Pollard
Another Trinidadian that makes Deccan Gladiators the team to beat is the tall and brawny Kieron Pollard. The Caribbean star has been a part of all three seasons of the T10 tournament, even winning the inaugural one with the Kerala Knights. He spent two seasons with the team before moving to Deccan Gladiators ahead of the third edition.
When it comes to hitting big, no batsman comes close to Kieron Pollard, making him arguably the hardest hitting all-rounder in the world. He has smacked 706 sixes and 675 fours in 531 T20s, scarring bowlers in every country he has played. With over 10,000 runs and close to 300 wickets in T20s, Kieron Pollard is the ideal all-rounder every team would want to have.
The Abu Dhabi T10 has been no stranger to his cracking sixes and fours. The West Indian bludgeoned four straight sixes and a four in a Sandeep Lamichhane-over last season.
Along with his raw strength with the bat, Kieron Pollard also bowls a consistent medium pace, which has fetched him some big wickets. He was recently named in the ICC Men’s ODI Team of the Decade.
Rising star: Azam Khan
Azam Khan, the son of former Pakistan cricketer Moin Khan, has quickly made a name for himself in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and then around the world. There were a number of lows before the rise but the 22-year-old is now only marching forwards and upwards. Playing for the Quetta Gladiators in the PSL, the wicketkeeper-batsman has consistently racked up runs with his fast-improving technique and fitness, too.
In the 2020 Lanka Premier League, the right-handed youngster forged an all-important partnership for the Galle Gladiators in the finals to guide the team to their first-ever LPL title.
It’ll be an exciting opportunity for the young lad in The Abu Dhabi T10 as he sets out to prove his mettle in a new country.