With the IPL set to start in a couple of days, the entire cricketing world’s focus is on the competition. Like every year, it promises to be an exciting event once again, given the quality of every squad. Each team has several world-class players and it is hard to predict who will come out on top.
While we have seen several T20 specialists like Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, and Chris Lynn perform to entertain us, we have also seen a few long-format specialists play and even excel in the toughest T20 league. Quite a few Test match players will be in action during the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League and let’s take a look at-
5 Test specialists to watch out for in IPL 2021
1. Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin hasn’t been a part of the limited overs’ squads since India’s tour of West Indies in 2017. He was dropped in favour of an attacking spin combination of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav, and their immediate success made it quite difficult for him.
He has been playing quite well in the IPL, but the selectors have continued to ignore him and have picked the likes of Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy ahead of him. In 15 games last season, he picked up 13 wickets at a strike rate of 23.53 while conceding at 7.66.
While Virat Kohli said that Ashwin’s chances of making a comeback in the shorter formats of the game are minimal, he could still have a chance of returning to the squad as Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav have been in dismal form. Thus, he is a player to watch out for as he has a lot to play for with the T20I World Cup approaching.
2. Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane was dropped from the T20I set up in 2016 and from the ODI set up in 2018, which seemed particularly harsh given that he was in sublime form in the 50-over format. Even his IPL form has been a bit poor since then and his chances of coming back into the team are quite slim at present.
He was in and out of the team last season due to the presence of two other Indian openers in the form of Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan. He was even made to bat at No.3, but it didn’t really work out for him and he had his worst-ever campaign. Rahane could only score 113 runs in 9 games at a poor strike rate of 105.6.
It was expected that he would once again start the season as a backup, however, Shreyas Iyers’ injury means that he will be a first-choice player this season. It will be interesting to see how he will adapt to a completely different role considering he isn’t a No.3 batsman.
3. Ishant Sharma
The third Delhi Capitals player in general, Ishant Sharma will be seen in action in the next couple of months. He has established himself as India’s lead fast bowler in Test matches while also be cementing his place in history by playing 100 games in the format.
His stocks in the T20 fell tremendously during the period when he was improving as a Test bowler and he even went unsold in the 2017 and 2018 auction. He made his IPL come back in 2019 and showed that he can be a useful asset in the format as he picked up 13 wickets in 13 games.
He played just one game last season due to an injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign. He will have to compete with Amit Mishra and even Umesh Yadav for a place in the team and is expected to be given the first preference.
4. Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha has played just nine ODIs in his career and the last one came in 2014. He has even been relegated as the backup wicket-keeper in Test matches due to Rishabh Pant’s excellent form in recent times.
He’s been a decent performer in the IPL over the years and has played some vital knocks. He has been the backup keeper-batsman in SRH’s squad over the last couple of seasons, but due to a change in combination in the last few games of the season, he came into the team ahead of Jonny Bairstow.
The 36-year-old played quite well and made the most of his opportunities as he scored 214 runs in just four games at a strike rate of nearly 140 while averaging 71.33. Thus, he will most likely be a part of their team in the first few games and whether he can retain his place in the team throughout the season remains to be seen.
5. Cheteshwar Pujara
After missing the last six editions of the league, Cheteshwar Pujara will be back in the tournament for the first time since 2014. He has played just 5 ODIs and the last one came 7 years ago in 2014. Even in general, he hasn’t played a 20-over game for two years.
The 33-year-old has played 30 matches in his IPL career and scored 390 runs at an average of 20.52 while maintaining a rather poor strike rate of 99.74. He has never been seen as someone who can excel in this format and thus, many believed that CSK bid for him out of respect rather than him being a tactical buy.
He isn’t expected to play a lot of matches given that there are Indian batsmen like Suresh Raina, Robin Uthappa, Ruturaj Gaikwad, and Ambati Rayudu ahead of him in the pecking order. However, it will be quite interesting to see how he plays if given a chance as he hasn’t played much limited-overs cricket in the last two years.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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