IPL 2019: 2 leggies, a 17-year-old, an overseas all-rounder - Young players who impressed in IPL 2019
There hasn’t been a single season of IPL which didn’t throw youngsters into furnace only for a few to emerge as smelted metals.Updated: May 14, 2019 15:13 IST
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
“Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi”, nothing describes IPL better than these four Sanskrit words engraved in the middle of the IPL Trophy. The Indian map to its right is symbolic but one would not have blamed the makers had there been a world map instead. This demands a different explanation, coming back to the motto, in English it means “Where talent meets opportunity.” In Hindi, it translates to “Jaha pratibha avsar prapt karti hai.”
There hasn’t been a single season of IPL which didn’t throw youngsters into furnace only for a few to emerge as smelted metals. From being in the wilderness for the major part of their careers to straightway becoming household names, the two months of IPL has been changing careers across the globe for the past 12 years.
Ask Shane Watson or Shaun Marsh, who came into the inaugural season of IPL as fringe players and became regulars in Australia’s limited overs side after two-three months of franchise cricket in India. Look at Yusuf Pathan, who did make his India debut in the inaugural World T20 in 2007 but attained name, fame and cemented his place in India’s ODI side for a good three-four years after his unprecedented success in the first two seasons of IPL. Jasprit Bumrah, Axar Patel, Shreyas Iyer, Hardik and Krunal Pandya, the list just keeps growing with each passing season.
The 12th edition of IPL, which raced to a grand finish with what is being described as the best final in the history of the tournament, where MI pipped CSK in the last ball to lift their fourth IPL title, did not disappoint either. After 60 action-packed matches spread across 50 days of non-stop cricket, IPL 2019 did manage to successfully live up to its official theme and gave ‘name’ to a lot of youngsters who had the ‘game’.
Backgrounder: For those who keep track of India’s domestic cricket, Shreyas Gopal’s success in IPL 2019 is not surprising at all. The 25-year-old Bangalore lad, who made his First-class debut back in 2013, was pretty much the shining light in Karnataka’s disappointing season in 2018-19. The leg-spinner did nothing out of the ordinary even in the IPL. He just stuck to basics and success finally followed.
Gopal was no stranger to IPL either. He burst into the scene in 2014 for Mumbai Indians but in his three seasons with the four-time champions, he played just six matches. His career took a decisive turn when he was picked by Rajasthan Royals ahead of IPL 2018.
IPL highlights: Gopal and his Karnataka teammate K Gowtham led the Royals’ spin bowling attack in IPL 2018 before the leggie tripped his friend this season to emerge as the highest-taker for Royals. Gopal returned as the fourth highest wicket-taker of the tournament with 20 wickets to his name in 14 matches and an economy rate (7.22) only second to Purple Cap holder Imran Tahir in the top four. Including a hat-trick and a rare feat of dismissing Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers in both matches in one season, it’s safe to say Shreyas Gopal is now breathing down the neck of India’s premier leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal for a spot in the limited overs side.
Plus Points: A lethal wrong’un that can only be compared to Piyush Chawla in recent times. India captain Virat Kohli accepted that he had difficulties in picking the back of the hand delivery from Gopal.
Backgrounder: When most of his friends were busy with their class 12th board exams, 17-year-old Riyan Parag was carrying the burden of an IPL franchise – Rajasthan Royals – on his shoulders. The Assam boy tried his best to manage studies and cricket but unfortunately missed three papers as the exam dates clashed with Royals’ matches. Such was the value of Parag in a side boasting Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, and Sanju Samson, that the franchise did not permit Parag an exam break. Not that the teenager had any objection.
IPL 2019 Highlights: To his credit, Parag bossed a sterner test of IPL which youngsters of his age can only dream of. When Royals lost early wickets they turned to Parag for rescue, when Royals needed a breakthrough they threw the ball to Parag, when Royals needed someone quick in the field, they placed Parag on important positions. If anything, the Royals management would be kicking themselves for not playing Parag in the first half of the tournament. His numbers – 160 runs in 7 matches at an average of 32 -would have been far better and Royals could well have emerged in the top four. Nevertheless, the Assam teenager did claim the records of youngest IPL half-centurion and the second youngest to take an IPL wicket during the course of the tournament.
Plus Points: Though his bowling needs a lot of work Parag has all the makings of becoming a good all-rounder. He has maturity well beyond his age and he has shown that time and again, playing crucial knocks for Royals under pressure situations.
Backgrounder: The only player in the list who has played Test cricket but the fact that he is only 20 and this was his first IPL, gives Sam Curran a direct entry to this list. The baby-faced England all-rounder was picked up by Kings XI Punjab after winning a fierce bidding war with Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals for a whopping 7.2 crores – the highest for any overseas player in IPL 2019 auctions. He came in with a bit of a reputation as India captain Virat Kohli named him the difference between the two sides after losing the five-match Test series in England 1-4.
IPL 2019 Highlights: Curran didn’t disappoint. He didn’t win matches single-handedly but he dished out few memorable performances and showed a wealth of promise to look up to. Curran claimed the first hat-trick of IPL 2019 against Delhi Capitals in which they lost 7 for 8 in the worst collapse in the history of the tournament. He scored a 24-ball 55* when given the responsibility to bat at No. 6 in KXIP’s penultimate league game against KKR.
Plus Points: We probably don’t need to talk about it much but just for the record, Curran is Test match material and he has already shown that. He can bring the ball back in to the right-hander, packs a punch with the bat and has a terrific cricket brain.
Backgrounder: The Chris Lynns, Andre Russells, and the Dinesh Karthiks overshadowed Shubman Gill for the better half of IPL, not because he failed to outscore but he did not get the opportunity to do so. The moment he was given the responsibility to open the innings, Gill came out from the closet and made the spot his own. The official Emerging Player of IPL 2019 had actually emerged a year ago in New Zealand during the U-19 World Cup, where he was the top run-scorer of the tournament but it was this IPL that actually proved he belongs in the league despite a couple of failures in ODIs.
IPL 2019 Highlights: Gill scored 2 half-centuries in the four matches that he opened for KKR in the latter half of the league stages and KKR won both of those shrugging off a six-match losing streak.
Plus Points: He has class, a lot of it. But more importantly, at 19, he knows how to build an innings, give respect to the conditions, the bowler and then let his bat do the talking. For someone, who doesn’t boast a broad shoulder, Gill has an amazing ability to hit humungous sixes against the spinners.
Backgrounder: Mumbai Indians threw Mayank Markande out of nowhere in last IPL but surprised many by giving him only 3 matches this season despite him making his international debut weeks before the 12th season began. The reason was another leggie, Rahul Chahar. Chahar was simply bowling better in the nets, stated MI head coach Mahela Jayawardena and boy did the youngster translate his net-form (if something like that exists) into wickets during IPL.
IPL 2019 Highlights: Previously a member of various India age-group squads and the India A team, Chahar played a crucial role in MI’s record 4th IPL triumph. Even in the final, it was Chahar who put the brakes in the CSK juggernaut. He returned with figures of 1 for 14 in 4 overs. He finished IPL 2019 with 13 wickets in 13 matches with an economy rate a shade over 6. His performance even drew praise from Sachin Tendulkar, “Rahul Chahar stands out. I shared my opinion (with Mahela) before he played his first game and I thought he was fabulous,” said Tendulkar.
Plus Points: For a wrist spinner, Chahar has an impeccable control, that not only helps him get wickets but also makes it almost impossible for the batters to go after him. He has the second-best dot ball percentage among leg-spinners only behind Rashid Khan in the IPL.
First Published: May 14, 2019 15:09 IST