IPL 2018: Some tadpoles that leapfrogged!

Technically still a domestic tournament, the Indian Premier League’s effect worldwide too has been unmistakable. Apart from international stars benefiting from playing for extended periods in the sub-continent, the flow of information and cricketing technique has certainly led to all-round development. In the process, there have been a handful of careers which can point to the IPL as the springboard.

For all its ills, nothing has quite revolutionised Indian cricket like the Indian Premier League. Within India it has democratised men’s cricket like none other. The number of accomplished cricketers drawn from diverse backgrounds across the length and breadth of the country has slowly grown and them going on to wear the Indian national colours is the kind of validation the tournament has always sought. Technically still a domestic tournament, its effect worldwide too has been unmistakable. Apart from international stars benefiting from playing for extended periods in the sub-continent, the flow of information and cricketing technique has certainly led to all-round development. In the process, there have been a handful of careers which can point to the IPL as the springboard. Here is a look at a few of them... Photo: AFP
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It was in 2013 that Jasprit Bumrah first grabbed eyeballs with his unorthodox action while playing for Mumbai Indians. Blessed with express pace, he also developed the ability to bowl excellent yorkers which by default made him a death-overs specialist. A good 2015-16 domestic season, where he finished as Gujarat’s second-highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy and topped the bowling charts in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, pushed him closer to national selection. He made both his ODI and T20I debuts against Australia in January 2016. Then, in the two subsequent IPL editions, he was one of Mumbai Indians’ mainstays accounting for a combined 35 wickets. He finally earned the coveted Indian Test cap this January against South Africa and is now one of only seven Indian cricketers to bag a BCCI A+ contract. Photo: Sportzpics
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Before the inaugural season of the IPL, Ravindra Jadeja was part of two Indian Under-19 World Cup campaigns — in 2006, when India lost to Pakistan in the final and in 2008 when it beat South Africa. But it was not until the victorious IPL campaign with Rajasthan Royals in 2008 did India fans take notice of his talent. Dubbed a “Superstar in the making” and a “Rockstar” by the legendary Shane Warne, his stock rose. He made his limited overs debut in February 2008. When he was awarded the Test cap in December 2012 against Australia, he was considered a misfit. But in India’s series win Jadeja dismissed Michael Clarke five times in six innings. At the same time his IPL exploits got even better and Chennai Super Kings paid nearly Rs. 10 crore to secure his services. In August 2013 he topped the ICC’s ODI bowling rankings, becoming the first Indian to do so since Anil Kumble in 1996. More or less a definite fixture across formats after that, Jadeja, of late, seems to have lost out to the likes of Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal and Axar Patel in limited-over cricket. He will be looking at IPL 2018 to reboot his career. Photo: PTI
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For nearly half a decade Yuzvendra Chahal was one of many Indian cricketers going through the domestic cricket grind and hoping for one big break. But IPL 2014 changed everything. Picked up by Royal Challengers Bengaluru, he thrived, as he bagged 12 wickets from 14 matches. In the two subsequent seasons, under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, he finished with 23 and 21 wickets respectively, the highest for his franchise. Kohli, an unabashedly bowlers’ captain, set attacking fields, even during the Powerplay overs, and the wrist-spinner in Chahal proved a revelation. In June 2016, he made both his ODI and T20I debuts on the away tour to Zimbabwe and in a span of one year has become one of India’s main bowlers. So much so, that even the likes of R. Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have been shoved aside. Photo: IPL/SPORTZPICS
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Among those who follow the IPL religiously, Shaun Marsh probably has a cult following. He was the tournament’s first Orange Cap winner, an award given to the highest run-getter. Coming as it did on the back of some excellent form in the Australian domestic circuit, Marsh was called up for Australia’s limited overs squad which toured the West Indies in June 2008. He made both his ODI and T20I debuts on the same tour and in 2011 found a place in the Test squad too, even making a century in his first game. Marsh seemed set for a successful career as the next great Australian No. 3 batsman. But till now his journey has been one of underachievement. Despite multiple opportunities, he has been unable to hold down a permanent slot. In the IPL, after having spent 10 years with the Kings XI Punjab, he was unsold in this year’s auction. But his fine form in the 2017-18 Ashes and in the Test series against South Africa may yet alter perceptions. Photo: Akhilesh Kumar
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Playing for Mumbai Indians, Hardik Pandya first caught the eye in the 2015 edition of the IPL. Against Kolkata Knight Riders he scored an unbeaten 31-ball 61 and against Chennai Super Kings he smashed 21 runs off eight balls to carry his side to victory. He made his T20I debut away in Australia in early 2016 and with his performances at the subsequent Asia Cup found a place in India’s T20 World Cup squad. In the World Cup held at home, Pandya bowled the final over against Bangladesh and successfully defended two runs off three balls. India’s till-then elusive search for a seam-bowling all-rounder seemed to have finally ended fruitfully. Since then, in skipper Virat Kohli he has had his biggest backer and after Mumbai Indians’ title-winning 2017 campaign, where he played all 17 matches, with 250 runs and six wickets to his name, Pandya made his Test debut against Sri Lanka. Photo: Vivek Bendre
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