The auction for the thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League was completed on 19 December at Kolkata. Since this mini-auction was mainly about filling the voids, not many players found a buyer. As many as 61 players were sold in the IPL auction with Rajasthan Royals recruiting the highest number of players – 11. The likes of Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris seized a lot of limelight after attracting massive bids in this auction.
As known, the IPL is one of the biggest platforms for Indian youngsters to showcase their skills. SMAT and the state-leagues like TNPL & KPL offer opportunities before the players to impress the IPL franchises and get picked in the cash-rich league. The advantages of playing in the IPL do not need an introduction. A player is rewarded with a place in India’s T20 set-up if he performs consistently, and the IPL certainly helps the player to showcase his potential at the international level.
And, it’s not only about the players, but it’s also about the IPL teams as well. Investing in a potential young player helps the team eventually; Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, for example. Before the IPL auction, Vijay Hazare Trophy, Deodhar Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy were held, in which some youngsters performed consistently. The likes of Yashaswi Jaiswal, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg and other got good bids in the auction, owing to good performances in the domestic cricket.
Here are the five uncapped Indian players who might set the stage on fire in the IPL:
1. Krishnappa Gowtham (KXIP)
Krishnappa Gowtham has been in the red-hot form in all the formats of India’s domestic circuit of late. Gowtham was traded to Kings XI Punjab from Rajasthan Royals for Ankit Rajpoot in the pre-auction trade window. He was acquired by Rajasthan Royals for 6.2 crores in IPL 2018 and represented RR in two seasons. However, he failed to justify his price tag in both the seasons.
Albeit, IPL 2020 might be the breakthrough season for the bowling all-rounder. In a KPL game, he scored a century and an eight wicket-haul, an incredible feat. However, that game was not recognized as an official T20 game as the state-leagues are not given the T20 status.
Gowtham was the leading wicket-taker in the KPL 2019 as he snared 21 scalps in just eight matches. The 31-year-old defended 13 runs in the last over against Tamil Nadu in the SMAT 2019 Final and finished with the game with pretty good figures of 4-0-31-1.
The hard-hitting batsman from Karnataka was in the sublime touch in the Vijay Hazare Trophy while performing the tough task of the finisher. The right-hander is expected to assume the same role for the KL Rahul-led team and might be comfortable doing that. The off-spinner has an ample number of variations in his armoury, however, he did not use them well in the previous edition of the IPL. So, he would look to do better this time as an all-rounder, keeping the opportunities T20 World Cup 2020 in the view.
2. Nitish Rana (KKR)
Nitish Rana has been quite impressive in the Indian Premier League, especially in the last two seasons for Kolkata Knight Riders. He played for Mumbai Indians earlier, as KKR acquired him for a hefty sum of 3.40 crores INR ahead of IPL 2018. Rana plays for Delhi in the domestic circuit and is yet to have a breakthrough season. In SMAT 2019, he averaged less than 30 with a strike rate of over 144 and just two 50+ scores. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy, his average was close to 52 but his strike rate was less than 80 with one fifty and a hundred.
Rana is the best suited for good batting surfaces, on which the ball comes nicely on the bat. The deck at Eden Gardens is perfect for him, and the boundaries are short as well. So, Rana has a good advantage of that. Coming to his gameplay, he is an attacking batsman who is a very good player of spin. Representing the Kolkata based franchise, he has accumulated 648 runs with an average of over 28 and a strike rate of about 139. In fact, IPL 2019 was the best season of his career.
The southpaw has been pretty good in the IPL but should try to be more consistent. Generally, he is in sublime form at the beginning of a season, however, his form dips as the season progresses. Rana is a number four batsman, howbeit he might be promoted to three, as KKR released Robin Uthappa. With more responsibility coming up, the thirteenth edition of the IPL might be his breakthrough season.
3. Devdutt Padikkal (RCB)
Devdutt Padikkal, the opening batsman, has been the talk of the town in India’s domestic circuit for a while. The young lad has been in incredible form since Karnataka Premier League (KPL) this year. Padikkal has been one of the top finds of India’s domestic cricket. He has been doing very well in all the formats with scintillating consistency.
Playing for Bellary Tuskers, the left-handed batsman was the leading run-scorer with 310 runs under his belt in the KPL. His stocks rose further in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, in which he amassed runs 609 and topped the run charts. It was time for the shortest format – T20s in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Devdutt did not disappoint, as he was the highest run-getter in SMAT as well. In both the tournaments, the 19-year-old was the hero for his state side Karnataka, who were the eventual champions.
The Kerala-born youngster is a fantastic batsman in theT20 cricket, which was quite evident in KPL and SMAT. In his short T20 career of 12 matches, Padikkal has amassed 580 runs with a sublime average of over 64 and a whopping strike rate of over 175.
Although he did not get even a single chance to represent RCB in the last season, he was retained by the franchise for IPL 2020. Mike Hesson, the Director of Cricket Operations of RCB hinted that they are likely to use him to whack the spinners in the middle overs. Padikkal would be hoping to get opportunities in the next edition and cash in wonderfully.
Suryakumar Yadav (MI)
Suryakumar Yadav, the middle-order batsman, grabbed a lot of spotlight in 2019, thanks to his effective and consistent performances. Surya represented Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL earlier and played as a finisher. However, Mumbai Indians recruited him in IPL 2018 and promoted him to open the innings. In next season – IPL 2019, the Mumbaikar batted at one down. The right-handed batsman performed well in both the seasons, adapting to the different roles pretty well.
Suryakumar has been the top run-scorer for his franchise since IPL 2018. Having appeared in 30 games, the local lad has accumulated 936 runs with an average close to 35 and a strike rate of over 132. The 29-year-old is a good prospect for the limited-overs cricket, as he possesses the required abilities to be an upper-middle-order batsman.
In Vijay Hazare Trophy this year, he got only four innings to play, and he utilized them to the fullest, by playing useful cameos. The right-hander, who had a whopping strike rate of over 154 in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, averaged exactly 52 with a strike rate of 158 in SMAT.
Yadav is a wonderful player of spin; his match-winning knock of 71 (54) against MI’s arch-rivals – CSK, in the Qualifier 1 of IPL 2019 was an absolute masterclass. Surya has improved his power game against pacer, which was evident in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Suryakumar has a wider range of shots and is one of the most promising Indian middle-order batsmen. The talented is expected to get a chance to showcase his skills at the international stage soon.
5. Shreyas Gopal (RR)
Shreyas Gopal is one of those uncapped Indian players who has already set the stage on fire in the IPL. Gopal was acquired by Rajasthan Royals in the mega-auction before IPL 2018 for just 20 Lakh INR. It has proved to be a steal deal as he has been the best bowler for the franchise his then. Since IPL 2018, the leg-spinner has scalped 31 wickets in 21 innings. Gopal has picked up three or more wickets in an inning as many as five times.
Despite being the best Indian spinner in the IPL since 2018, Gopal has not received a call for the national team yet. It is surprising and bizarre as well that he is not in India’s plan for the T20 World Cup 2020. The 26-year-old is a gun spinner and has a decent number of variations in his array. He bowls a very good Googly and it is one of his main weapons. The spinner from Karnataka has got AB de Villiers in all the games – four times, and Virat Kohli’s wicket thrice in the last two seasons. That’s quite some achievement!
Gopal did not have the best of the times in the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year. However, the tables turned around in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, as he finished the tourney as the second-highest wicket-taker. Playing for his state side Karnataka, the Bangalore-born picked up 19 wickets with an economy of less than seven. Shreyas Gopal will be Rajasthan’s main spinner yet again and would be looking to have a good season again.
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