Yes, it’s IPL time and the world’s biggest cricketing extravaganza is back. Bigger and better, the IPL showcases talent all around the world in a platform that any cricketer would dream to perform in.
The IPL started 6 years ago with Brendon McCullum’s breathtaking innings of 158 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The brainchild of Lalit Modi, the IPL has since, come a long way. It has turned into a brand. A brand that has an infinitive value due to its unfathomable fan base that it has. Broadcasted in over 100 countries, the IPL has become a global phenomenon over the years.
Although there have been controversies that have embroiled over the past few years, the popularity of the event has never taken a beating. The players and the fans ensure that it is still very popular all over the world. While some experienced players have set the stage on fire, it’s generally the newbies who make the headlines in the IPL.
The IPL has changed the careers of many a cricketer. But we take a look at 5 cricketers who’s career graphs have changed directions and, that too, for the better, thanks to the IPL.
#5 Ravindra Jadeja
One of the best all rounders in the world at the moment, Jadeja was nothing but a rough rookie who, was still confused about the know-how of the game. Inspirationally led by Shane Keith Warne, he was one among the many in the Royals’ dugout that year who benefitted from the willy Australian. Jadeja’s exploits made him a hot target for many teams as he was an uncapped player and he was an all rounder. Therefore he could fill in the shoes as an extra bowler or an extra batsman. A few years on, he was picked up by the CSK for an undisclosed amount. He was a million dollar baby. Between those years, he became one of the most consistent players in the IPL and the domestic circuit. This catapulted him onto the national team where is now a vital cog in captain MS Dhoni’s jigsaw. Jadeja’s batting has certifiably improved over the years and his brand of off spin has been extremely consistent and he is a regular wicket taker. His ability to strike the ball hard has made him a lethal force down the order and his fielding make him a player that no team would want to miss.
#4 Suresh Raina
Playing his hundredth match last evening, Suresh Kumar Raina has clearly shown why he is one of the best players to have come out of the IPL. Consistent from the word go, he has time and again, steered Chennai Super Kings out of danger and he holds the unique distinction of being the only player to notch up at least 400 runs in every season of the Indian Premier League. Often playing the role of the batsman who comes after the fall of one wicket, Raina is the batsman who glues the innings together. He can attack when needed and can be equally good while defending. Raina was an integral part in India’s successful capturing of the One Day World Cup which was held in the subcontinent in 2011. Coming at no.5 or 6 and playing the kind of innings he has been playing, he has been very good to say the least. The only chink in his armour is his inability to play the rising ball He often doubles up as a fifth or sixth bowling option and his fielding is something to look out for.
#3 Ravichandran Ashwin
Initially not used for the first couple of seasons by his franchisee, Chennai Super Kings, Ravichandran Ashwin grabbed his opportunity when legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was injured and he had to fill his shoes. Yes, they were huge shoes to fill in, but Ashwin actually performed exceedingly well and he even replaced the legendary Sri Lankan for the rest of the tournament. The rest is history. Ashwin has never looked back since. He has spun a web around many an opponent of his and he is now a very important player for the national team. He has been very consistent with his tidy off spin and his carom ball has outfoxed many a batsman in the world. Although criticised for trying one thing too many, Ashwin would slowly but surely bounce back. His batting is no pushover either. He can use the long handle with great effect and that’s something he can still work on. Yes, he has scored a few test match hundreds and has played a few key innings but for him to become a world class all rounder, he must improve his batting.
#2 Sunil Narine
A Magician at work- Sunil Narine is indeed a genius with the ball. Often bamboozling batsmen who generally are in no man’s land while facing him, Narine has certainly come a long way. Narine is one of the few spinners in the world who actually turn the ball and that has taken him to places. Turning it one way is said to be good but what if someone could turn it both the ways? Well, that’s Narine for you. How many ever times someone faces him, they still find him too hot to handle. His variations trouble even the best of batsmen. The ‘knuckle ball’ has been very effective and his off spinner too has been a revelation over the years. He was a key factor for the Knight Riders when they won the Indian Premier League in 2012. He was later retained by his franchisee and that shows his value to the team. Also, he was a very important member of the World Cup winning side from the Windies in 2012.
#1 Shane Watson
Destructive. Game Changer. Accurate. These words can describe one man and one man only. He can bat like a man possessed. He is one of the best ‘death’ over bowlers in the world. He is quite a good fielder as well. Well, these qualities make him such a versatile and important player for whichever team he plays for. And he makes his mark wherever he plays. The IPL showcased that. Playing for the Royals for the past six years, Watson has been one of their mainstays. He has been part of both their highs and lows and he is one player that they would not let go whatever happens. He has played quite a memorable innings for the Royals but nothing can be as splendid and amazing as his hundred against the Chennai Super Kings. His exploits with the Royals showed the Australian selectors what they had missed and he was immediately drafted in to the squad. This season too Watson is a force to reckon with and it would be no surprise if he proves why he is so lethal again.
Yes, the IPL has brought out more such players and given them the platform and the limelight they deserve. But I felt these five were helped the most and thereby went with it.
Mohit Sharma, Shadab Jakati, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Harshal Patel, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Siddharth Trivedi, Sohail Tanvir, Rajat Bhatia, Pravin Tambe, Swapnil Asnodkar, Shreevats Goswami, Debarata Das, Rohit Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu.