The Indian Premier League isn’t just another sporting league in India. It is the most popular and the richest T20 league in the world. Moreover, it is a celebration for a population of 1.35 billion people in India. It is a celebration of battles between the bat and the ball, a celebration of individual and team performances, and the celebration of lesser significant things like brilliant catches, spirit of the game, and great commentary. Over the years IPL has established itself as an incubator for budding talents, domestic or foreign. The IPL has elevated the likes of Rohit Sharma, Axar Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Shubhman Gill to a different level over the years.
The IPL has become the elite platform for young talents to showcase their flair and grit. As a result of which many domestic players have the opportunity to showcase their trade at an international level. Domestic Indian talents taking on Internationally seasoned players is always a refreshing treat to the eyes. Here is a list of 5 domestic players who made an impact in IPL 2020.
1. THANGARASAU NATARAJAN
Evolution is inevitable in every form and way of life. In the same way, cricket has evolved by folds during its lifetime. Spinners who were earlier written off, have become game-changers in T20 and openers have redefined their job profile time and again. However, the dear yorker has remained a threat to most batsmen from the time of its inception.
T.Natarajan is one player who can deliver yorkers to perfection, pooled with consistency. The Tamil Nadu born player was first picked by the KXIP in 2017 where he could not perform to the liking of Kings XI Punjab. He played 6 matches for them and proved to be expensive. However, the IPL 2020 proved to be fruitful for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Natarajan himself. SRH benefitted from his block hole bowling in the death overs. Over the years he has mastered the yorkers and has achieved a level of consistency which makes him a constant threat in the death overs. He returned with figures of 16 wickets in 16 matches at an economy rate of 8.02 in the ongoing IPL 2020. At 29 years of age, he seems to have found his purple patch. It wouldn't be much of a surprise to see him in the coveted Blue jersey in the limited-over format.
2. RUTURAJ GAIKWAD
2020 hasn't been very kind to the Chennai Superkings. Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina backing out of the tournament, lack of quality squad depth, and the neutral venue. It is the first time in the history of the IPL that CSK hasn't faced the group stages hurdle. Amidst all the complications, CSK has found a silver lining in the likes of Sam Curran and Ruturaj Gaikwad. CSK might have just missed the trick by not backing the young player in the initial stages.
Ruturaj Gaikwad was picked up by the Chennai Superkings for the 2019 season. However, he had to wait for his opportunity in 2020. After 0,5,0 in his first three games, he came back with 3 back to back half-centuries in the latter half of the tournament. He has scored 204 in 6 matches with an average of 51.0. With an effortless batting style and elegant stroke play, he has established himself as a CSK opener. He has played the anchor role for CSK while opening the batting. However, he has made it clear that he can play the big shots at will. He could prove to be one of the mainstays in CSK in the years to come. MSD has even gone on to praise Ruturaj Gaikwad as “one of the most talented players going around.”
3. RAVI BISHNOI
India as a nation has given the game Erapalli Prasanna, Bishen Singh Bedi, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, and R.Ashwin. These names alone attest to the quality of spin bowlers in India. Ravi Bishnoi could be one for the future.
After glimpses of brilliance in the 2019 U19 World Cup where he emerged as the highest wicket-taker of the tournament, the spinner was picked up by the Kings XI Punjab for the 2020 season. He repaid the management’s faith by returning with 14 wickets in 14 matches at a miserly rate of 7.37. In his debut season, he has impressed everyone with his deception and change of pace. In a spin attack that had the likes of Murugan Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the 20-year-old looked like the leader of the spin department. He is a serious contender for the Emerging Player of the Season award in the Season 13 of the IPL.
4. VARUN CHAKRAVARTHY
An architect by profession, Varun Chakravarthy had a late entry into professional cricket. He was first snapped up by the Kings XI Punjab in the 2019 IPL for Rs. 8.4 crores after a string of fine performances in the Tamil Nadu Premier League. However, he acquired an unwanted record of conceding the most number of runs (25) in an over on debut. Injuries did not help his cause either.
The Kolkata Knight Riders acquired his services for the IPL 2020 season after the Kings XI Punjab released him. IPL 2020 justified his heavy price tag in IPL 2019. There seemed to be an aura of mystery around his bowling. Mystery spin got him the wicket of MSD on 2 occasions. Moreover, he picked up 17 wickets in 13 games at an economy of 6.85 and a strike rate of 18.35. Even though KKR had a change of captaincy midway, both Eoin Morgan and Dinesh Karthik seemed to put loads of trust in the bowler. His finest performance came up against the Delhi Capitals when he ran through the middle order and picked up a 5 wicket haul in the process. His performances in the IPL 2020 has earned him a place in the Indian T20 squad for the tour of Australia.
5. DEVDUTT PADIKKAL
After the departure of Chris Gayle and K.L.Rahul from the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Bangalore based franchisee have been looking for a replacement. Their middle order has arguably had the two best batsmen in the world. However, the middle order alone doesn't win you matches. IPL 2020 validates that RCB has finally found their man in the leading run-getter of the Vijay Hazare Trophy (19-20).
The Karnataka batsman had been given the green signal from the RCB management form Match 1 and he in turn has paid huge dividends. He averaged 31.53 at the top and returned with 473 runs from 15 innings. In addition to that, he has scored 5 fifties this season and has provided the perfect cushion for the Kohli – De Villiers show. The stylish left-handed batsman has grabbed a lot of eyeballs in the ongoing season.
By Amit Nandi.