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IPL 2024: A Season of Swansong, Returns, Loyalty Tests, and Fresh Starts

<p>With the T20 World Cup approaching and the nation in the middle of a general election, the Indian Premier League is poised for its 17th edition. It is unclear whether the league would be played exclusively inside the nation given the schedule for the first 21 games, but one thing is for sure: IPL 2024 is going to be a historic season in the league’s history. Perhaps this is the year the league says goodbye to the last “icon players” from 2008. For a few of the league’s true legends, this may be their last season.</p>
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<p>When Hardik Pandya takes the field as the Mumbai Indians captain, this season will be like no other as supporter loyalty will be put to the test. It will also be a season of new beginnings, with a chance for crown prince Shubman Gill to establish his legacy at the Gujarat Titans and a rejuvenation for the seasoned Rishabh Pant. Pat Cummins, who won two ICC trophies the previous season and made history at the IPL 2024 auction, will be tasked with winning the IPL championship for SRH this season.</p>
<p>IPL 2024 will serve as a tryout venue for a number of very gifted “fringe players,” including Sanju Samson, Jitesh Sharma, Ishan Kishan, and a plethora of other exceptionally gifted athletes.</p>
<p><strong>MS Dhoni: The last aria</strong><br />
The fans’ appetite for another season of the T20 extravaganza has been stoked by Dhoni. One day before to the first game, he handed up the leadership of CSK to Ruturaj Gaikwad. As Dhoni was the last player standing who had captained a franchise during the IPL’s very first season in 2008, the IPL has officially entered a new era. Both the youthful Gaikwad and the CSK fan base will be put to the test greatly.</p>
<p>IPL 2023 seemed to be the legendary player’s last season, and the championship victory in the most spectacular manner possible was the ideal scenario. However, Dhoni, being Dhoni, did not take away the spotlight from his team, and it seems that IPL 2024 will be his final.</p>
<p><strong>Coming back, Rishabh Pant</strong><br />
Fans will be cheering for another wicketkeeper batter as he prepares for an incredible comeback that seemed unthinkable only 14 months ago, but they will also be engaged in MSD’s last push. In addition to the fact that his return is a boost to the Delhi Capitals, Rishabh Pant is the IPL 2024 story that will be told repeatedly as the season goes on. However, in the grand scheme of things, India needs their maverick for the T20 World Cup, and the IPL 2024 offers the ideal stage for him and the Indian management to assess where Pant stands following the horrific accident.</p>
<p><strong>MI’s Loyalty Test</strong><br />
It’ll be a test, but a different type of test, for Hardik Pandya, who is returning. There will be a lot of pressure on Pandya to perform and win back the fervent MI supporters. Pandya led Gujarat Titans to the championship in their first season and to the final last year. MI fans have never known a captain other than Rohit Sharma in the previous ten years. Not that the Indian T20I skipper doesn’t have the motivation to succeed in the IPL, but Rohit would understand how business is conducted and it wouldn’t be personal.</p>
<p><strong>The Drought in RCB Title</strong><br />
Not to mention Faf du Plessis’ Bengaluru squad, who will be encouraged by their women’s team’s WPL triumph, but all eyes will be on Virat Kohli and his RCB. For him too, it’s a kind of comeback. Kohli would be eager to play and, like Rohit, would have the added motivation of putting RCB’s trophy drought to rest and establishing a strong case for selection to the T20 World Cup after taking a leave of absence and missing the Test series against England.</p>
<p><strong>Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins established records</strong><br />
The fact that Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc together are valued at 45.25 crore is just mind-boggling. In 2025, Starc participated in the IPL. Even though the bowler is now 34 years old, KKR paid an outrageous 24.75 crore for him in an attempt to win their third championship. It is possible to argue that KKR pursued Starc in every way just because they could, because they had more cash, and because they indulged. Conversely, however, Cummins’ acquisition by SRH at a high cost of 20.50 crore was worth every cent for the 2016 Champions. Over the last few years, they have been playing musical chairs with their leaders. While Aiden Markram, the team’s SA20 winning captain, seemed to be the most likely candidate to captain the IPL team as well, SRH was tempted to choose the captain who had won two ICC championships in a single year. Can Cummins turn around SRH’s situation? Time will tell.</p>

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