IPL 2020: Players who proved to be one-season wonders
The Indian Premier League is about survivors — only the fittest who have kept pace with the constant changes of Twenty20 have stayed relevant. The IPL has also given players who dazzled for an edition or two before receding from public memory. They are not complaining though, knowing many are willing to give an arm and a leg to swap places with them. And they haven’t quit on cricket either. Let’s take a look a some one-season wonders who took the league by story but then fizzled away soon after.
The Mumbai lad was expected to scale great heights in 2002 when he was part of the India U-19 World Cup squad. Over the next few years though, he managed just an odd game for Mumbai. Then came the IPL. Valthatu shot to fame in Kings XI Punjab colours when he smashed a match-winning 63-ball 120 against Chennai Super Kings in 2011. T20 cricket were still a novelty then and till this day, that innings remains one of the best knocks in IPL history. He made 463 that season at a strike rate of 137 but hit a bump again. He played just six games next season and another in 2014 before injuring his knee.
When the IPL was entering its middle stages last week, the left-arm seamer — once nicknamed ‘Tornado’ by then Rajasthan Royals captain and mentor Shane Warne — was using a temporary 200m track at his village of Nadwasarai, Mau district in UP to work on his fitness. Kamran, who became a sensation after bowling a match-winning Super Over in 2009, dismissing Chris Gayle in the process, was pitchforked into the limelight after Rajasthan Royals literally picked him from the hinterlands in 2009.
He didn’t get wickets by the bagful (6 wickets in 5 matches including a 3/18) but Kamran caught Warne’s fancy with his whippy action, ability to swing and bowl yorkers. Soon however, his action was deemed suspect, prompting Rajasthan Royals to send him to Australia to work on his action. The 2010 season saw Khan get three games and the 2011 and 2012 seasons were spent with Pune Warriors playing just one game.
A veteran of 88 first-class games and one of the most experienced Goa cricketers, Asnodkar spent most of the past year-and-half on the sidelines. Playing Ranji Trophy for Goa since 2001-02, he was part of the Rajasthan Royals squad from 2008 to 2011 but has been left out of the state team since December 2017. The 2009 edition, held in South Africa, was expected to be an opportunity to cement his reputation but he got injured. Though he kept appearing in IPL auctions, another break didn’t come.
He was one of the finds in the first IPL. A well-built pacer, Gony made waves with Chennai Super Kings before playing two ODIs for India at the 2008 Asia Cup. In his first IPL, Gony picked 17 wickets in 16 matches. After three years he was picked by the now-defunct Deccan Chargers. Then came the fall.
Injuries, indifferent form, and family turmoil saw Gony falling off the radar. His stints at Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions were forgetful to say the least. A veteran of 61 first-class matches, Gony is struggling to hold his place in the Punjab team too. This year, after making a late foray, Gony featured in four first-class matches and also played some T20s. But an IPL break never came again.
((Inputs from Khurram Habib and Ashutosh Sharma))