KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock are the biggest strengths, Deepak Hooda X-factor of Lucknow Super Giants: Aaron Finch | Cricket News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Former Australia skipper Aaron Finch believes the opening pair of captain KL Rahul and wicketkeeper-batter Quinton de Kock are the biggest strengths while Deepak Hooda will be the X-factor of Lucknow Super Giants in the upcoming 2023 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Last year’s debutants, LSG, led by Rahul, finished third in the league stage with nine wins and five defeats. LSG knocked out of the competition after losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the eliminator at Kolkata.
“The big strength of the Lucknow Super Giants is their opening combination, KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock. They complement each other so well. They are very different players, and their strengths and weaknesses offset each other. So, I think if they are going to have a big season.”
“I think the home ground advantage for the Lucknow Super Giants this year, although their wicket has been a little unpredictable at times, they’ve got a class opening combination in KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, their middle order power of Stoinis, Nicholas Pooran, and they’ve got a lot of bowling options, Krunal Pandya with the ball, who can also be versatile with the bat. So, I think they have got a lot of options to be able to exploit whatever the wicket produces,” said Finch on the ‘Know Your Team’ show on Star Sports.
De Kock will miss Lucknow’s first two matches against Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings on April 1 and 3 respectively as South Africa will be playing an ODI series against the Netherlands.

Finch also feels West Indies’ left-handed batter Nicholas Pooran will be a game-changer for the side in the tournament while calling Deepak Hooda an X-factor player.
In the mini-auction held last year, Pooran was picked by Lucknow for a whopping Rs 16 crore and could be the finisher-cum-wicketkeeper for the side. Hooda, the off-spin all-rounder, had a brilliant IPL 2022, making 451 runs at a strike rate of 136.66, largely while batting at number three and was in the top ten run-scorers list.
He’s also been a constant presence in India’s white-ball squads. In June last year, he scored a T20I century for India from the number three position against Ireland. Later, against the West Indies, Hooda illustrated his tight, stump-to-stump line off-spin bowling, which came in very handy during the ODI and T20I series.
After being in India’s squad for the Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia last year, Hooda was also in India’s squads for T20Is against Sri Lanka and New Zealand at home earlier this year.
“They’ve spent a lot of money to get him in the auction. He wasn’t at his best last season, but we know how destructive he can be. He’s someone who strikes it at such a high strike rate, particularly early in his innings. So, for me, he is the player to watch out for.”
“The X-factor for me this season for Lucknow I see is Deepak Hooda. He’s someone who has taken the responsibility of batting at number 3. He’s someone who strikes at a good strike rate, particularly in the first 10 balls. He continues to keep being aggressive. If he can bat for longer periods while being aggressive, that will set up that middle and lower order to be at their destructive best,” he added.
(With IANS inputs)

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