The Indian Premier League (IPL) has always unearthed some gems in every edition. This edition as well, is expected to produce some. There were a few fresh recruits who took the auction by storm. Majorly, it was the overseas players who were in high demand. Let’s have a look at a few of the players who could turn out to become IPL superstars.
Jhye Richardson made a name for himself in a very short time after his debut. A steadfast career came to a halt for a brief time because of a shoulder injury. But since his return to T20s during the 2019-20 edition of the Big Bash League (BBL), he has been in a rich vein of form, especially in the previous edition (2020-21). Richardson was the highest wicket-taker of the season with 29 wickets. This is also the second most wickets taken by a bowler in a single edition of the BBL.
Most of his wickets (13) in the 2020-21 edition of the BBL came during the death overs. This should be encouraging for Punjab as this was an area which they strived for in the last season of the IPL. On the back of a purple patch, Richardson for sure is one of the players to watch out for.
There was another fast bowler in the 2020-21 edition of the BBL who had troubled every one with his raw pace. Riley Meredith was consistently bowling around the 140+ kph mark with ease. In the recently concluded edition of the BBL, Meredith had 16 wickets to his name, out of which nine came when he had bowled at 140+ kph and six of these nine came when he had bowled at 145+ kph. With the ability to bowl quick, Meredith could be a handful for batsmen, especially with the new ball.
Coming in as a replacement for Josh Philippe for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), New Zealand opener Finn Allen had a stupendous 2020-21 Super Smash season. He scored 512 runs at an average of 56.9 and a staggering strike rate of 193.9. 72 percent of his runs were scored in the Powerplay at an even better strike rate of 210.3 and a balls/boundary ratio of 2.7. In three out of 11 innings, Allen scored 50+ within the Powerplay.
Through the tournament, Allen’s strike rate of 193.9 and balls/boundary ratio of 3.3 was the best among batsmen who had faced 150+ balls. On the back of his successful Super Smash season, he earned his maiden international call-up against Bangladesh in the recent home tour. Although he suffered a set back in his first international innings, he came back strongly in the third T20I with an 18-ball half-century, the joint-second quickest by a Kiwi batsman in T20Is. If he carries similar form, then RCB are guaranteed to start off with a boom.
Dawid Malan is the world’s number one ranked batsman in T20Is and his consistency is something that has been lauded by the cricketing fraternity. In the last few years, he has been in prodigious form, scoring runs in international series as well as domestic franchise leagues. Although he had an average BBL season, his record in Asia in T20s in the last few years is encouraging. In the 2019-20 Bangladesh Premier league, Malan scored over 400 runs at an average of 49.3 and a strike rate of 145.1. During the recently concluded India tour, Malan wasn’t at his best, but top-ranked players do not require too much of time to settle in. Hence, he could be one of the players to watch out for in the upcoming 14th edition of IPL.
After playing just three matches in the 2020 edition of the IPL for Delhi Capitals, the Australian all-rounder was traded to the Royal Challengers. Sams had an exceptional outing with the ball in the 2019-20 edition of the BBL by bagging 30 wickets. But in the 2020-21 edition, he couldn’t replicate the same bowling effort.
However, what makes him dangerous is his ability to smack the ball while batting in the lower order – scoring 200 runs at a strike rate of 188.1 in the latest edition of the BBL is evidence of it. Coming back to his bowling, he had picked up only 11 wickets in nine innings in the recent BBL. While those might not be great numbers, he bowled miserly, especially during the death overs – encouraging enough for RCB’s everlasting and unresolved death bowling issues. His all-round qualities make him one of those players to watch out for.
The Delhi-based allrounder was picked up by his local team during the 2020 IPL auction. However, he never got a chance to impress. On the back of remarkable performances in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy, he should be a contender to feature in the playing XI.
Lalit had scored 152 runs at a strike rate of 197.4 in the 2019-20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Among batsmen who had scored 100+ runs, his strike rate was the second-best. He had backed it up with the ball in hand as well, bagging seven wickets at an economy rate of less than seven. With Axar Patel likely to miss the first match against Chennai Super Kings, Lalit has a golden opportunity to cement a place in the playing XI.
Kyle Jamieson was bought for INR 15 crore by RCB, their costliest buy in the history of IPL auctions. The 6 feet 8 inches lanky fast bowler has risen to the limelight in a quick span and it was probably one of the reasons why he went for such a high price. He is known for his Test match lengths, which might not always be ideal in T20s. But the x-factor is that his deliveries come from a really good height, which can be to his advantage.
In addition, Jamieson is quite good with the bat. He has scored over 200 runs at a strike rate of 140.1. One of the tallest bowlers of this tournament, Jamieson is another player to watch out for in IPL 2021.