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From Jansen to Hazlewood - Shining in the shadows

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Last updated on 04 May 2022 | 08:29 PM
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From Jansen to Hazlewood - Shining in the shadows

Despite playing a major role in multiple wins this season, many players have gone unnoticed in the Indian Premier League

When two new teams were introduced for the 15th edition of the Indian Premier League, dilution in quality was definitely one of the concerns analysts feared. That Kolkata Knight Riders had to sign someone like Baba Indrajith, who averages 18.89 and strikes at 103.3 only for a fundamental belief that somewhere in his club cricket level he had once kept wicket and that could come in handy for the franchise as a back-up, set up for the narrative for the things to come. 

However, the reality struck in a really abject manner. While the likes of Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Ravindra Jadeja have failed to make any strides, making the franchises bleed right from the start, few faces have gone under the radar despite having some crucial performances for their respective units.

Marco Jansen: One of the most impressive performers in the ongoing season of the Indian Premier League, Marco Jansen has played the role of a bridge between the calmness of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the fire of Umran Malik. Apart from the game against Gujarat Titans, where his length went for a toss, Jansen has been impressive with six wickets in seven games. With four wickets at an economy of 7.2, he was super impressive in the powerplay but somehow, failed to match that in the death overs. However, with all focus on Malik and his incredible range of pace, Jansen surely was given a raw deal by many fans when that one bad show made him a subject of many trolls, overlooking a lot of cool performances. 

Prasidh Krishna: Prasidh Krishna is an antithesis of a name on the IPL circuit. He was celebrated by the then Indian skipper Virat Kohli as an India prospect even before having one good season with KKR and that said a lot about his talent. His India ODI performances since then stand testimony to his ability but in IPL 2022, in a sea of stars like Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Trent Boult, Krishna’s impact hasn’t been mentioned in the same breathe. 

With 12 wickets from 10 games, Krishna maintained consistency while giving away just 7.9 runs per over. His three-fer against Delhi Capitals and two-fer against Sunrisers Hyderabad played a vital role in Rajasthan’s win and the subsequent position they have found themselves on the points table.

Krunal Pandya: Easily the best performer for Lucknow Super Giants, Krunal Pandya is the bridge that plugged two vital roles significantly. Such had been the collective might of Mumbai Indians over the years that the elder Pandya never had to break his sweat to stand out - there were many superstar performers to guide them - but playing a bigger role - including vice-captaincy of the side - at LSG, Krunal has stepped up his game big-time.

A batting average of 25.6 at a strike rate of 143.8 notwithstanding, Pandya has nine wickets at an incredible economy rate of 6.6. His bowling average of 20.7 tells you the confidence of a player who is at the peak of his prowess. While their top-order batters and Mohsin Khan’s raw pace have hogged headlines, Krunal has become a victim of perception. 

Josh Hazlewood: 11 wickets in seven games at an average of 17.4 and an economy of 7.2. In 15 overs that he has thrown in the powerplay, he has had an economy of 5.9 - an incredible achievement considering the kind of season Royal Challengers Bangalore have had. All the success that he has achieved, without resorting to any back of length or bouncing strategy, while establishing a hallmark of how bowling the length is the most effective weapon in the shortest version of the game. That he is still unheralded and not be considered the most important cog in RCB’s wheel belies a belief in more ways than one. 

Arshdeep Singh: Kagiso Rabada has been superb in the last few games, but if one player who has maintained the level of consistency to help Punjab be in the contention for a top-four spot has to be Arshdeep Singh. He might have only four wickets to show for his efforts but therein kicks in the importance of a frugal bowler - whose controllability helps the others around him stay calm. The likes of Rabada and Rahul Chahar have managed to get to the base only because Arshdeep provided a safety blanket of pure pedigree. Don’t be surprised if the Indian team management calls him up for forthcoming South Africa and Ireland series in June. 

Khaleel Ahmed: Consistency had eluded Khaleel Ahmed and the only thing that had kept him relevant was his left-arm angle. However, now with Delhi Capitals, Khaleel has shown a different facet of his performance, having picked at least one wicket in each of the six matches he has represented the side this year. In four games, he has a minimum of 2 wickets, having an economy rate of 7.9 just adds a different zing to his overall prowess. All these while slipping under the radar and without any noise. 

Tim Southee: Brought to the side after Pat Cummins failed to live upto the expectations, Tim Southee was designated to do the role of a death-over specialist. Not only has he aced that role to perfection but also ensured he has his share of impact in the first six overs and the middle overs as well. With an average of 15.7, Southee rose above the base to cater to the pressure generated by the likes of Umesh Yadav and Sunil Narine. 

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