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April 14, 2011
Australia's limited-overs tour of Bangladesh deprived the IPL of a handful of its brightest stars at the start of the tournament. However now most franchises will receive valuable reinforcements, two matches into the competition. Some, like Shane Watson, have brought themselves to peak explosiveness during the week in Dhaka. Others, like Cameron White, will hope the change of colours brings a change of fortunes.
Shane Watson (Rajasthan Royals): If Rajasthan needed any more reminders of Watson's value, a record tally of 15 sixes in an ODI duly arrived in boldface type during the Bangladesh series. Having been as much a part of Rajasthan's development as Shane Warne, Watson enthuses over the IPL as much as any Australia player, and seemed to use the preceding ODI series as a chance to find his range with the bat.
Brad Haddin (Kolkata Knight Riders): A debutant in the IPL, Haddin's recent knack for flashy starts will be useful if he is squeezed into the Kolkata top order. Less attractive are his two low scores against Bangladesh and a wicketkeeping technique that has seldom adapted well to the subcontinent's low bounce, meaning Haddin has a task ahead of him to provide genuine allrounder value to his franchise.
Michael Hussey (Chennai Super Kings): Having been a key player in Chennai's success in 2010 (both in the IPL and Champions League), Hussey was nonetheless miffed about being forced to stay with his franchise until the conclusion of the Champions League, rather than preparing for a Test series in India. With a pair of handy scores against Bangladesh to his name, Hussey appears in decent touch, and has avoided a relapse of the hamstring tear that almost kept him out of the World Cup.
Callum Ferguson (Pune Warriors): Ferguson has visited India numerous times, most recently as the reserve batsman in the Australia World Cup squad. His two most recent innings, in a World Cup warm-up against India and the third limited-overs match against Bangladesh, did not suggest subcontinental comfort however. He will need to find the right mindset for his time in the middle, after countless hours in the nets in between.
Cameron White (Deccan Chargers): A six-month struggle with the bat in the Australia ODI side eventually saw White left out of the XI after the first match against Bangladesh. And coach Tim Nielsen's view that he was not hitting the ball as hard as he should, would not make for pleasant reading at Deccan. However the time constraints of Twenty20 may be White's best path back to his big-hitting best, removing the mental barrier often created by having balls to spare.
Tim Paine (Pune): A neat batsman and tidy gloveman, Paine is among the most technically correct of Australia's young crop, and showcased his fierce determination during the 2010 Test series in India. He has gradually developed an ability to switch between the power-hitting mode of T20 and the poise required for longer formats, a quality that will aid his performance as much as blond locks push his marketability.
Shakib Al Hasan (Kolkata): Shakib bowled tightly against a rampant Australia batting line-up but found momentum less easy to come by with the bat, while juggling the captaincy of a team that looked a little lost after the World Cup. Still ranked the world's leading limited-overs allrounder - at least until Watson overtook him with his stunning efforts in Dhaka - Shakib's spin should prove awkward to manoeuvre at Eden Gardens.
John Hastings (Kochi): A hat-trick in Australia's warm-up match at Fatullah was perhaps the highlight of Hastings' tour of Bangladesh. He was frugal in the ODIs, but without the same success. A modest batting record for Australia does not quite convey the skill and hitting-power contained within his 6'5'' frame.
Brett Lee (Kolkata): Lee's best moments on a cricket field in India arrived during the Champions League in 2009, when he guided New South Wales to victory and was named Player of the Tournament. He will hope to be similarly influential with the consistently under-performing Kolkata, needing to mentor a bowling attack that lags behind the franchise's batting in both experience and accomplishment.
James Pattinson (Kolkata): Likened to Peter Siddle, but with a little more swing and subtlety, Pattinson made his international debut in the third match against Bangladesh. He is likely to form a decent pace partnership with Lee, and can prosper if he maintains spotless lengths and lines.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Daniel Brettig
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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