The modern-day fetish for a result-oriented pitch in Test cricket is the sign of the times we live in. Nobody has any time to waste. Everyone wants things in small adorable packages.
So, it isn’t surprising that increasingly, apart from the grind of domestic cricket, the IPL has been a breeding ground for successful cricketers. They come in many different varieties capable of wreaking havoc in the shortest of times. Here is a look at a few of those who owe significant parts of theirs careers to the IPL.
Modern-day T20 cricketer
Australian James Faulkner doesn’t quite conform to the prototype of either a menacing fast-bowler or a bludgeoning batsman. But he fits the bill of what a modern-day T20 cricketer is expected to be — full of deception both with the bat and the ball.
The 25-year-old from Tasmania was first part of the Pune Warriors India set-up in 2011. The next year he wore the colours of Kings XI Punjab. But in these two years he played all of three IPL matches.
In 2013 though, Rajasthan Royals came calling and in the first season itself he scalped 28 wickets becoming the side’s highest wicket-taker. In the series against India later that year, he scored a 29-ball 64 and a 57-ball century.
In three seasons from IPL 2013, he has cemented his place as one of the game’s premier all-rounders. He was even the Man-of-the-Match in the ICC Cricket World Cup final, which Australia won against New Zealand, in March 2015.
David Miller had featured in a handful of One-Day Internationals and T20s for South Africa in the early part of this decade. But the world sat up and noticed him when he played an astonishing, match-winning knock of 101 (38b) for Kings XI against Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013. This and his many more finishing acts for Kings XI would serve as a launch pad for his exploits in national colours.
The South African was first signed by the Kings as a $100,000 replacement for all-rounder Dimitri Mascarenhas in 2011. Until then he had played six T20 internationals and four one-day series. He made the preliminary squad for the 2011 World Cup only to be excluded from the final list.
He didn’t shine much then but Kings XI was patient until he repaid the faith with a slew of match-winning knocks in 2013. From being retained for the subsequent seasons to being announced skipper in 2016, ‘Killer Miller’, as he is called, owes a lot, if not everything, to the IPL.
Kieron Pollard made his ODI debut for West Indies in the 2007 World Cup against South Africa. But he was not quite known outside of his home nation. It all changed when in 2009, in the now-defunct Champions League Twenty20, he smashed an 18-ball 54 for Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) against New South Wales.
In the subsequent IPL auction in 2010, he attracted the highest bid and was signed by Mumbai Indians (MI) for a $750000 amount. He was one of the franchise’s star performers in his debut year. Then in 2013, he scored 420 runs and picked up 10 wickets as MI surged to the title.
Pollard became an integral part of what slowly developed into a dangerous West Indian team. When the country won the World T20 in 2012, it was further evidence of the same.
But contract disputes between the West Indies board and players led to Pollard being axed from the 2015 World Cup squad.
He hasn’t played any form of cricket for the West Indies since November 2015 and even withdrew from the recently-held World T20 in India.
It might yet again be in the 2016 IPL where Pollard can show what the world has been missing for a while.
Yet another Champions League success story-turned IPL success story-turned international success story is Sunil Narine. The mystery off-spinner played for T&T in February 2009. Then he helped his team qualify for the 2011 Champions League Twenty20. He picked up 10 wickets there and garnered immediate interest.
He made his ODI debut for West Indies in 2011, but it was in the 2012 IPL auction that he was picked up by the Kolkata Knight Riders for $700,000. In his maiden season he was the Man-of-the-Tournament and the Knight Riders won its first title too. His stock rose steadily and in March 2014 he topped the ICC’s rankings for T20 bowlers.
But in the last two years, he has been suspended more than once for a dodgy bowling action and in November 2015 he was banned from bowling in international cricket. At that time he was even the No. 1 bowler in both one-dayers and T20s. He had earlier pulled out of the West Indies’ 2015 World Cup squad and like Pollard he too withdrew from the World T20.
One of the most-wanted players
When Shaun Marsh first made an appearance in the IPL in 2008, he was known for nothing other than his second name. However, after scoring more than 600 runs at an average of 68.44 for the Kings, he was one of the most-wanted players.
It was the left-hander’s run-making in the Big Bash League which earned him a contract with the Kings. Then after having starred in the IPL, the Australian selectors immediately handed him his T20 and ODI debuts. His Test debut was in 2011 against Sri Lanka when he hit 141 blazing runs.
Since then he has been in and out of the Australian squad but has played for no other franchise other than the Kings. At 32 he may well be into his sunset years, but he will forever be known as the first IPL ‘Orange Cap’ winner, given to the tournament’s top-scorer.
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