The 13th edition of the IPL is around the corner with Chennai Super Kings taking on the defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede. With the T20 World Cup later in the year, not only the Indian selectors but other national boards will also follow the tournament keenly and assess the performance of their players. The IPL has always been a breeding ground for youngsters by providing them with the opportunity to showcase their talent and skill on the biggest T20 stage in the world.
There are plenty of players who owe a large chunk of their success to the IPL- Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Pandya brothers, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishabh Pant are few of the many Indian players who have benefitted from their IPL performances. Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Shaun Marsh are overseas players who shot up the ranks by their IPL exploits.
Also, there have also been several players who arrived ‘out of nowhere’, turned out to be a surprise package and won games for their team. Paul Valthaty, Manvinder Bisla, Pravin Tambe, Alzarri Joseph, Rahul Tripathi were thrown in the pool and game out dripping gold. This year we expect a few more players who could leave everyone dumbstruck wondering that where was this player hidden.
Here we look at 5 players who could be the surprise package of IPL 2020:
1. Josh Philippe
The latest season of the Big Bash turned out to be a festivity for top-order batters as 9 batsmen scored over 400 runs- with Marcus Stoinis shattering all records by amassing 705 runs at 54. One such other opener who grabbed everyone’s attention was Sydney Sixers’ Josh Philippe. Philippe was at the forefront of the Sixers’ march towards the final of the Big Bash.
The 22-year-old was the leading run-scorer for the Sixers- he accumulated 487 runs at an average of 37 including 5 half-centuries. Even before that, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had bought him for his base price of 20 Lakhs in the auction. In the 2108-19 season of the Big Bash, Philippe once again was impressive with his 308 runs at an average of 30 striking at 158.
But with the inclusion of Aaron Finch, Dale Steyn, and Chris Morris, the overseas slots are filled and Philippe will have to wait for his opportunity. If Finch and Parthiv are unable to fire, Virat Kohli would be tempted to give the wicket-keeper opener a go- and Chinnaswamy is a place he would love to bat. The right-hander could prove to be a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ to finally fill RCB’s empty trophy cabinet.
2. Tom Banton
Tom Banton is on everybody’s ‘to watch out for’ list for the upcoming IPL season. England’s golden boy was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a hefty deal of one crore INR in the auctions. He was the second-highest run-scorer in the Blast 2019 scoring 549 runs in 13 innings with an average of 42, striking at 161. The right-hander also smashed a 51-ball-hundred against Kent displaying his 360-degree range of shots.
Banton was mentored by former English opener, Marcus Trescothick at Somerset. The 20-year-old grabbed England’s Young Player of the Year award. Soon he received a national call up for the T20Is against New Zealand and gave a glimpse of his ball-striking penchant. In the T10 League last year, Banton scored 162 runs in 5 innings at a strike rate of 200 with a couple of half-centuries.
KKR under Gautam Gambhir launched Sunil Narine as an opener and Manvinder Bisla in the final of IPL 2012 against CSK. Dinesh Karthik is an experienced campaigner and a shrewd captain. He has shown commendable leadership qualities in the way he handled the young Indian players as a skipper for KKR in the past couple of seasons. Both Sunil Narine and Andre Russell are injury-prone and therefore Banton could be the guy to set the Eden ablaze.
3. Isuru Udana
Isuru Udana was the only Sri Lankan to be sold in the IPL auction. The Royal Challengers Bangalore brought him for his base price of INR 50 Lakhs. People may have noticed Udana in the last couple of years, however, the left-arm pacer made his international T20 debut way back in 2009 in the T20 World Cup. He has had a stop-start career because of inconsistent performances.
But he has been on the radar since 2018. Udana not only improved his death bowling skills but has also added batting strength for his case as he showed in a T20I against South Africa last year by smashing a 48-ball-84. Before the IPL auction, Udana had a brilliant T20 series against Pakistan– he picked 5 wickets in 2 games at an average of mere 9.8 and economy of 7.35– which was his best performance in a T20I series.
Overall Udana has 24 wickets in 29 T20Is, but he has been remarkable in the death overs. Out of the 24 wickets, 14 have come in the final five overs. Udana has variations like the cutters and the back of the hand slower ones. RCB roped in Dale Steyn and Kane Richardson as well, but the former is injury-prone and the latter doesn’t give much with the bat. Virat Kohli has expressed the need for extra batting towards the end of the innings and Udana is capable to hit the ball hard and long.
4. Kartik Tyagi
The base price of 20 Lakhs, sold for 1.3 crore- this should give more than just a hint of how highly Kartik Tyagi is rated. His performances in the Under-19 World Cup corroborate the amount Rajasthan Royals spent on the teenager. Tyagi picked up 11 wickets in 6 matches, at an average of 13.9 and an economy of 3.45.
He was so impressive from his early days that he got selected for Uttar Pradesh’s Ranji at the age of 17! Kartik Tyagi demonstrated his raw and hostile pace in the World Cup. He pegged back Australia’s run chase in the Quarterfinal with 3 wickets in his opening spell and total figures of 4/24- running away with the man of the match award.
Rajasthan Royals have invested heavily in youngsters. Along with Tyagi, the Royals bought in Akash Singh and Yashasvi Jaiswal. Rajasthan won their only title twelve years ago, on the back of youngsters in Ravindra Jadeja, Yusuf Pathan, and Swapnil Asnodkar- 2020 could be the year of Kartik Tyagi and his under-19 teammates.
5. Fabian Allen
Fabian Allen was touted as a very special player, not only for his batting and bowling exploits but also for his razor-sharp fielding efforts. He was part of the West Indies team in the Under-19 World Cup in 2014. In 3 innings Allen scored 126 runs at an average of 42 and strike rate of 97.
Allen had a successful outing in the Caribbean Premier League last year. The right-hander scored 218 runs in 11 innings at a monumental strike rate of 177. In the recently concluded ODI series against Sri Lanka, batting in the lower order he scored 54 runs in two innings at a strike rate of 186.
Sunrisers Hyderabad bought the 24-year-old all-rounder at his base price of 50 Lakhs as a backup after losing Shakib Al Hasan to a ban. In the IPL 2016 final, Ben Cutting proved to be the game-changer for SRH- Fabian Allen with his very ‘West Indies-esque’ striking could do it for the Hyderabad team this season. He offers left-arm off-spin as a supplement to his hard-hitting ability.
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