This weekend sees the start of the Indian Premier League! It has felt like a long wait, but the world’s biggest hitters, wiliest bowlers, most athletic fielders, and sharpest glovesmen are finally hitting the biggest stage in world cricket.
I have been pouring over the best cricket betting options ahead of the tournament and paying particular attention to the Player of the Season market.
I enjoy attempting to pick a winner in this market because there are bigger odds to be found – it feels like a good test of your knowledge around individual cricketing stars.
Find below the five players I feel are best placed to challenge for the highest personal honour in the tournament. Maybe you can find a selection to work into your IPL betting approach.
Who will win the IPL 2022 Player of the Series?
I have narrowed down the list to the following five players. My list considers the performance of these players in the previous season, their current domestic and international form, and the different abilities they bring to the table.
The players are as follows:
Shreyas Iyer – KKR
Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell – RCB
Quentin de Kock – LSG
JJ Bumrah – MI
Kagiso Rabada – Punjab Kings
All of the above players are seasoned internationals with buckets of match-winning ability to spare – but what makes them my picks for this year’s Player of the Season award? Read below to find out!
Shreyas Iyer – Kolkata Knight Riders
The new Knight Riders skipper was described by assistant coach and former Australian all-rounder David Hussey as a “born leader” recently. I expect him to lead from the front in his favourite number three batting position.
A remarkably consistent batter, with an average of above 30 in each of his last five seasons, we have yet to see him score a century in the IPL. I have a strong suspicion he will put that record to rights this season.
He has been performing very well for his national side – in his last four international Twenty20 matches, he hit 73*, 74*, 57* (against Sri Lanka), and 25 (against West Indies).
He is coming into this tournament at a new stage of his blossoming career – and he looks a good bet to come good this season.
Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Shreyas Iyer may be the young pretender, but Kohli remains the jewel in the Indian cricketing crown.
Like Iyer, the former captain of his country is also entering a new career phase, but his future is no less exciting. Indeed, there is an argument to say removing his national captaining responsibilities will sharpen his focus.
He had a disappointing season last year by his high standards – averaging 28.92 from 15 matches for the RCB, but many still remember his deity-like performance in the 2016 competition. He hit an incredible 973 runs at an average of 81.08 – the highest-ever individual score in a single IPL season and over 200 runs more than his nearest competitor (Kane Williamson for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2018).
He could be in the mix for the Player of the Season title at the end of the season!
Glenn Maxwell – Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Australian powerhouse continues to remind everyone in the game of his unique abilities now and then.
Despite a relatively lean summer in his home country’s Big Bash League competition with the Melbourne Stars, he provided one of the moments of the season with a sensational 154* for the Melbourne Stars – the highest individual score in the BBL.
His brilliant batting goes hand in hand with a methodical bowling action that can prove challenging to put away. His all-rounder capabilities make me think he could be decent value for a Player of the Season IPL bet.
Quentin de Kock – Lucknow Super Giants
The new kids on the block picked up some cracking players in the Mega Auction – none more than Quentin de Kock.
With a fresh canvas from which to wield his brush, de Kock will prove a massive danger to IPL bowling attacks.
His recent retirement from Test cricket means he can wholly focus on his white-ball career. In the IPL last season, he smashed 297 runs, including a memorable 70* for the Mumbai Indians against the Royal Challengers Bangalore and was in fine fettle with the gloves.
The Indians decided to let him go this year – but their loss is the Super Giants‘ gain. I am anticipating a big campaign from the South African.
JJ Bumrah – Mumbai Indians
Is there a better bowler in the world right now than this pacey yorker specialist? Not for my money!
Quick, accurate, intelligent – Bumrah has all the attributes to be remembered in the same vein as Lasith Malinga, a true great of the shortest format.
Last season, he was on the money for the MI – claiming 21 wickets to finish joint third on the end-of-season wicket-taking list and averaging 19.52 per wicket.
He is the type of player that can win you a tournament – that’s why he is on my Player of the Season shortlist.
BONUS PICK: Kagiso Rabada
It’s a season of change for Rabada this year. After four campaigns with the Delhi Capitals, he was the subject of a massive bid from the Punjab Kings at the Mega Auction and, at 26, will be their most experienced bowler.
He is no stranger to taking wickets in this tournament. In 2020, he won the Purple Cap, the competition’s top bowler reward – claiming 30 wickets at an average of 18.26 per wicket.
It’s a lot of additional responsibility to lead a young Kings’ attack, but Rabada is a character that appears to embrace that challenge.
I am backing him to be an outside bet for the Player of the Season honours. I also like the look of him to finish top bowler, and my colleague James agrees! You can read the full IPL top bowler betting tips article here.
I cannot finish without a nod in the direction of a few glaring omissions – most notably the joint highest-paid player in the history of the IPL KL Rahul.
He demands the most wages for a good reason – of the players who have hit 3,000+ runs in the IPL, Rahul has the highest average at 47.43. Those runs don’t come overly cautiously either – his strike rate is at a solid 136.37. I would not be shocked to see him dominate for his new side, the Super Giants.
A word too for the leading wicket-taker last year, Harshal Patel. He enjoyed an astounding season – taking 32 wickets at 14.34 per wicket to help his team, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, lift the IPL trophy.