In their maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) season last year, Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) established themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Under the leadership of KL Rahul, the Super Giants impressed one and all with their brand of cricket and dominated the 15th season of the cash-rich league. They secured a spot in the playoffs by winning 9 out of 14 league games before their journey concluded as they were defeated by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the semifinal.

As the Lucknow-based franchise are set to kick off their campaign in the IPL 2023 with the high-voltage clash against Delhi Capitals (DC) on April 01, former Australia skipper Aaron Finch has picked the ‘X-factor’ of the last year’s debutants.

On the ‘Know your team’ show on Star Sports, Finch went with all-rounder Deepak Hooda as the ‘X-factor’ of Super Giants. Notably, Hooda had a tremendous campaign with the bat as he ended up scoring 451 runs at a strike rate of 136.66 and finished the tournament under the top-10 run-getters list.

Finch reckoned that Hooda has adopted the number three batting position and sets up a good platform for other batters with his decent strike rate and aggressive style of batting.

“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,” said Finch.

For the unversed, Hooda has been a regular member of India’s limited-overs teams and made notable contributions in various matches. In June last year, the Rohtak-born exhibited his batting prowess by smashing a century in a T20I game against Ireland. Later, during the ODI and T20I series against the West Indies, Hooda proved to be a valuable asset with his accurate and disciplined off-spin bowling.


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