It attracts talent from all over the world, including South Africa, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia – and New Zealand.
Several Black Caps stars have headed to franchises vast and varied over the years – and 2019 is no different.
Leg-spinner Ish Sodhi has returned to the Rajasthan Royals, who won the inaugural tournament in 2018, but have gone without a title since. Sodhi is going to struggle to crack the nod for an XI that invests its quota of four overseas players in its batsman, but his time will come now and then. For now, though, those berths from abroad are reserved for England’s Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler and Australian Steven Smith.
Kane Williamson is captain of the Sunrisers Hyderabad again. He led the team to the final in 2018, but they lost to the Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai to deny markets that suggested otherwise. Williamson has retained the leadership despite the return of Australian batsman David Warner, who was their skipper before he copped that ban for ball-tampering in international cricket. He is back now, though, and part of a formidable pairing with Williamson across the top- through middle-order.
The newly-named Delhi Capitals have the same-named Trent Boult at their disposal. He is bowling alongside Indian seamer Ishat Sharma and South African pace ace Kagiso Rabada, attempting to extract lift and carry from some typically low and slow sub-continental pitches. He has done so for several years, so this is nothing new to the talented left-armer.
Another southpaw seamer in Mitchell McClenaghan gave up on a New Zealand contract a couple of years ago to explore and, yes, exploit the life and times of a globetrotting Twenty20 freelancer. He has brought the Mumbai Indians plenty of value for their initial spend of 49,000 US dollars in 2015. He was the franchise’s top wicket-taker after the 2018 IPL season – and testament to how the right kind of analysis can really offer team owners great value for money.
Over in the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s ranks, there’s Kiwi seamer Tim Southee. His clever changes in pace and almost acute understanding of Indian conditions has served him well in the IPL. When he has, for instance, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal bowling from the other end, Southee knows how to adjust his game accordingly. He can go from strike bowler in one spell to chief of economy in the next.
Former New Zealand coach Mike Hesson was very successful during his time with the Black Caps, but has since handed the reins over in order to take them at the Kings XI Punjab. Any coach in charge of marshalling the likes of Chris Gayle and Sam Curran will have his work cut out for him, but Hesson has the cool, calm and collection to do so. This is not to say Gayle and Curran are difficult characters, just that their respective talents need the right balancing across a tightly-knit squad.