Kolkata: If the slam-bang T20 cricket is for dynamic youngsters, reigning Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have to look at the age of their squad with some concern. The average age of the KKR squad is 28.52 years and it has 11 players in their 30s - the most among all IPL teams.
New entrants Sunrisers Hyderabad (SH) have the youngest squad with an average age of 25.69 years. Sunrisers are the reincarnation of the Deccan Chargers (DC), whose contract was terminated by the IPL for breach of contract. Sunrisers skipper Kumar Sangakkara (35 years, 154 days) is their oldest player while uncapped batsman Hanuma Vihari, who was a member of the World Cup winning India Under-19 squad, is the youngest at 19 years, 168 days.
Closely following KKR are Rajasthan Royals, whose average age is just over 28. The Royals have two players in their 40s, Australian Brad Hogg being the oldest at 42 years and 52 days. Their captain Rahul Dravid at 40 is the oldest Indian in this edition of the IPL and he will be joined by Mumbai Indians' Sachin Tendulkar April 24, when he turns 40.
The other Royals - Royal Challengers Bangalore - have an average age of 27.09 but in Virat Kohli (24 years, 145 days), they have the youngest captain. Adding a teenage lustre to their side is Maharashtra batsman Vijay Zol (18 years and 127 days), the youngest player in the cash-rich league. Zol, who is yet to make his IPL debut, hogged the limelight by scoring an unbeaten 451 against Assam in the Under-19 Cooch Behar Trophy. Zol idolises dashing opener Virender Sehwag and tries to emulate his batting style.
Kings XI Punjab have selected a squad with an average age of 27.12 - slightly more than the Bangalore franchisee. However, they have the oldest skipper in the tourney - Adam Gilchrist. At 41 years and 136 days, the Australian is also the most matured wicket-keeper in the contest. While one may never dare to call Mumbai Indians skipper Ricky Ponting (38 years, 101 days) inexperienced, with just four IPL games under his belt, that too in the maiden edition of the cricket jamboree, he surely is way behind to the rest of his toss counterparts in having a feel of the tournament.
At just over 26 years, the M.S. Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, the Pune Warriors as well as Delhi Daredevils are the other franchisees who have fairly young squads. The youngest foreign player in the competition is Pune Warriors' lanky all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, aged 21 years and 183 days. Son of famous Australian batsman Goeff Marsh, Mitchell also happens to be quite a talented Australian Rules football player, and has represented Western Australia at the U-18 level.