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Masters Champions League Preview


Libra Legends

Sourav Ganguly, the captain of Libra Legends, has pulled out of the Masters Champions League Twenty20 tournament due to back spasm, according to reports on January 27. Jaques Kallis is expected to take the reigns in his absence. This team has a good mix of all-rounders and recently retired players who are in good touch because of world leagues like the Big Bash League and Bangladesh Premier League.

Ganguly who was likely to open with Kallis is not participating now, and Kallis who has been a consistent opener for Sydney Thunder in the BBL has both Michael Lumb and Marcus North for other options as his opening partner.

Their bowling department looks strong, with the likes of Shaun Tait and Ryan Sidebottom to attack the opposition with their pace and accuracy while Brad Hogg and Nicky Boje provide strength in the spin department.

Squad: Sourav Ganguly (captain) (Batsman, India), Graeme Swann (Spinner, England), Jacques Kallis (Costliest buy) (All-rounder, South Africa), Brad Hogg (Spinner, Australia), Ryan ten Doeschate (All-rounder, The Netherlands), Ajay Ratra (Wicketkeeper, India), Chris Read (Wicketkeeper, England), Sean Ervine (All-rounder, Zimbabwe), Shaun Tait (Fast bowler, Australia), Ryan Sidebottom (Fast bowler, England), Michael Lumb (Batsman, England), Marcus North (Batsman, Australia), Taufeeq Umar (Batsman, Pakistan), Nicky Boje (Spinner, South Africa), Ian Butler (Fast bowler, New Zealand)

Players to watch out for: Jacques Kallis, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Shaun Tait.


Gemini Arabians

Led by Virender Sehwag, backed up by Kumar Sangakkara and Brad Hodge, the Arabians boast a very good batting lineup. Chanderpaul and Jaques Rudolph provide stability in the middle order. Two of the best spinners in the world, Muralidharan and Saqlain Mushtaq are present in the Arabians squad.

With a decent bowling and batting attack Arabians look strong competitors. The only conundrum Sehwag will face is picking a perfect XI. They look like a team with everything on paper, yet not looking so great on the ground.

Squad: Virender Sehwag (captain) (Batsman, India), Kumar Sangakkara (Wicketkeeper, Sri Lanka), Muttiah Muralitharan (Spinner, Sri Lanka) (costliest buy), Kyle Mills (Fast bowler, New Zealand), Saqlain Mushtaq (Spinner, Pakistan), Jacques Rudolph (Batsman, South Africa), Rana Naved Ul Hasan (All-rounder, Pakistan), Justin Kemp (All-rounder, South Africa), Paul Harris (Spinner, South Africa), Brad Hodge (Batsman, Australia), Richard Levi (Batsman, South Africa), Ashish Bagai (Wicketkeeper, Canada), Graham Onions (Fast bowler, England), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (Batsman, West Indies), Saqib Ali (Batsman, United Arab Emirates)

Players to watch out for: Virender Sehwag, Kumar Sangakkara, Brad Hodge.


Virgo Super Kings

Graeme Smith is the captain of the Super Kings. Though they have the name Super Kings, we will surely see a huge difference between Chennai and Virgo. While Chennai had a history of consistently performing well, chances are really low that the Virgo Super Kings will create any history.

Smith and Neil McKenzie might open, and be followed by players like Azhar Mahmood, Jonty Rhodes and Owais Shah.

Brett Lee will be the strike bowler for the Super Kings and will get support from Jacob Oram, Dirk Nannes in the pace department. The team is likely to use Murali Kartik and Malinga Bandara as their main spinners.

Squad: Graeme Smith (captain) (Batsman, South Africa), Azhar Mahmood (All-rounder, Pakistan), Brett Lee (Fast bowler, Australia) (Costliest buy), Jonty Rhodes (Batsman, South Africa), Neil McKenzie (Batsman, South Africa), John Mooney (All-rounder, Ireland), Dirk Nannes (Fast bowler, Australia), Owais Shah (Batsman, England), James Foster (Wicketkeeper, England), Murali Kartik (Spinner, India), Malinga Bandara (Spinner, Sri Lanka), Gareth Batty (Spinner, England), Hasan Raza (Batsman, Pakistan), Jacob Oram (All-rounder, New Zealand), Humayun Farhat (Wicketkeeper, Pakistan), Mohammad Yousuf (Batsman, Pakistan)

Players to watch out for: Owais Shah, Azhar Mahmood, Brett Lee.


Leo Lions

One of greatest Test batsmen in recent times, Brian Charles Lara is leading the side of Leo Lions in this tournament. Lara played the All Stars tournament organized by his mates Tendulkar and Warne, but he was not able to make any impact or give a good performance.

The batting lineup of the Lions has players like Herschelle Gibbs, Brendan Taylor, Hamish Marshall which is not very encouraging. Their bowling attack has a similar feel, including Fidel Edwards, Heath Streak and Darren Gough. T20 regular Johan Botha looks likely to be the leading spinner.

Squad: Brian Lara (captain) (Batsman, West Indies) (Costliest buy), Heath Streak (All-rounder, Zimbabwe),Scott Styris (All-rounder, New Zealand), Herschelle Gibbs (Batsman, South Africa), Brendan Taylor (Wicketkeeper, Zimbabwe), James Franklin (All-rounder, New Zealand), Johan Botha (All-rounder, South Africa), Robin Peterson (All-rounder, South Africa), Fidel Edwards (Fast bowler, West Indies), Mohammad Tauqir (All-rounder, United Arab Emirates), Neil Carter (All-rounder, Scotland), Hamish Marshall (Batsman, New Zealand), Kyle Jarvis (Fast bowler, Zimbabwe), Ramesh Powar (Spinner, India), Simon Jones (Fast bowler, England), Darren Gough (Fast bowler, England)

Players to watch out for: Brendan Taylor, Herschelle Gibbs.


Capricorn Commanders

Paul Collingwood has been announced as the captain of the Commanders. With decent batting firepower and a good bowling attack, they could be the team to watch out for.

Michael Vaughan, Andrew Symonds, Chamara Silva, Collingwood, Ashwell Prince and Ryan McLaren make a good batting lineup. Ben Laughlin, fresh from a wonderful performance in the BBL, will be raring to perform well. The experienced pair of Upul Chandana and Jeetan Patel will give the Commanders a good spin attack.

Squad: Paul Collingwood (captain) (All-rounder, England) (Costliest buy), Abdul Razzaq (All-rounder, Pakistan), Michael Vaughan (Batsman, England), Andrew Symonds (All-rounder, Australia), Chamara Silva (Batsman, Sri Lanka), Ashwell Prince (Batsman, South Africa), Upul Chandana (All-rounder, Sri Lanka), Ryan McLaren (All-rounder, South Africa), Jeetan Patel (Spinner, New Zealand), Rikki Clarke (All-rounder, England), Rory Kleinveldt (Fast bowler, South Africa), Ben Laughlin (Fast bowler, Australia), Rizwan Cheema (All-rounder, Canada), Geraint Jones (Wicketkeeper, England), Sunil Joshi (Spinner, India), Saleem Elahi (Batsman, Pakistan)

Players to watch out for: Andrew Symonds, Ryan McLaren, Ben Laughlin.


Sagittarius Strikers

Perhaps the strongest side of the tournament.

Why? Look at these names – Adam Gilchrist, Mahela Jayawardene, Daniel Vettori, Shane Bond, Mushtaq Ahmed, all in the same XI. Gilchrist, the skipper, will surely be hoping that this team is not like his previous team Deccan Chargers in the first edition of IPL, who had a super formidable team with Afridi, Symonds, & Gilchrist all under one colour yet finished at the bottom of the table after the season, and more like the Deccan Chargers in the second edition of IPL, which they won.

Batting lineup of Strikers has Gilchrist, Jayawardene, Jonathan Trott, Michael Carberry, Alviro Petersen. Probably the strongest batting side of this mega event; their players recently played Big Bash and each were one of the impact players for their side like Jayawardene, Hauritz and Carberry.

With Shane Bond, Tino Best, Vettori and Mushtaq Ahmed forming the bowling attack, this is one side the opposition batsmen really wont love batting against.

Squad: Adam Gilchrist (captain) (Wicketkeeper, Australia) (Costliest buy), Mahela Jayawardene (Batsman, Sri Lanka), Daniel Vettori (Spinner, New Zealand), Shane Bond (Fast bowler, New Zealand), Khurram Khan (All-rounder, United Arab Emirates), Phil Mustard (Wicketkeeper, England), Tino Best (Fast bowler, West Indies), Nathan Hauritz (Spinner, Australia), Alviro Peterson (Batsman, South Africa), Michael Carberry (Batsman, England), Krishmar Santokie (Fast bowler, West Indies), Jonathan Trott (Batsman, England), Yasir Ahmed (Batsman, Pakistan), Mushtaq Ahmed (Spinner, Pakistan), Gavin Hamilton (All-rounder, Scotland)

Players to watch out for: Adam Gilchrist, Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Carberry, Daniel Vettori.

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