Forgotten men of IPL: Where are they now?

IPL success is by no means an assured pathway to a great career. For these players and many others, fame and attention are brief and illusory.

In IPL Season 4, Paul Valthaty created a stir with his swashbuckling knocks for Kings XI Punjab.   -  PTI

“Every year, one sees two or three players whom no one knows and they earn crores of rupees. And in two years, no one remembers them.”

Rajasthan fast bowler Pankaj Singh, who has more than 400 wickets in the Ranji Trophy, noted the fleeting nature of IPL fame when he spoke to Sportstar about fast bowling in India earlier this year. The fluctuating fortunes of T20 cricket and the hype created by the ‘surprise’ factor occasionally results in players fading away for good after dazzling teams and spectators for a season or two. Many of them plough on in domestic cricket but don’t enjoy the adulation and fortune they once did.

When left-arm seamer Barinder Sran went unsold in the IPL 2020 auction, one could be forgiven for forgetting his role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s title bid in 2016. Sran took 14 wickets that season — the 11th highest among all bowlers — and earned the India cap to play eight limited-overs internationals in June 2016.

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He was signed by Kings XI Punjab for Rs3.4 crore ahead of the 2018 season. However, Punjab could just squeeze four wickets out of him that season, and last year, he went wicketless in the two matches he played. Sran faced trouble with his domestic side as well. Punjab left him out of the squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2019, prompting him to switch sides and join Chandigarh, the newest team to have gained recognition from the BCCI as a participant in elite-level competitions.

Although Chandigarh was playing in the Plate Group, Sran failed to ensure a rewarding season. And his Rs50 lakh base price attracted no bids in Kolkata, where the IPL auction was held. He’s only 27; there could be some more IPL limelight for him in the future, but it doesn’t look imminent now.

Manpreet Gony was Chennai Super Kings’ most reliable seamer in the first season, taking 17 wickets. He last played IPL in 2017, for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions.   -  K. Pichumani

 

Another Punjab seamer had a tale of struggle but resurrected himself to make a steady career with his domestic side. Manpreet Gony was Chennai Super Kings’ most reliable seamer in the first season, taking 17 wickets; owing to his promise, he received a chance to play for India in the Asia Cup. His effectiveness dipped in the next season and that level of success eluded him for the rest of his IPL career. He faced difficulties in his personal life as well. There were ups and downs, but he did regularly play all formats for Punjab and enjoyed a good Ranji Trophy season in 2017-18, taking 19 wickets from five matches. In the 2018-19 season, his last, he took 12 wickets.

Gony last played IPL in 2017, for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions; he played only one match in the tournament that season. He wasn’t purchased by any club since and retired from all cricket — except to play for T20 leagues abroad — last year. He participated in the Global T20 Canada and the Qatar T10 league.

Steep decline

In IPL season four, Paul Valthaty created a stir with his swashbuckling knocks for Kings XI Punjab, including a sparkling century against defending champion Super Kings. He featured in the next two seasons — six in 2012 (30 runs) and just one in 2013 — but failed to leave a mark and wasn’t signed by any franchise for the 2014 season.

Valthaty’s tale is extraordinary for the swiftness of his decline. His IPL performances kick-started his first-class career but he ended up playing just five matches for Himachal Pradesh, the last of which was in December 2011. Valthaty, 36, played no domestic cricket after his IPL sojourn ended.

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Less sparkling than Valthaty was Deccan Chargers’ Tirumalasetti Suman, but Suman’s decline was less sharp. Suman turned in good performances with the bat for his side in the 2009 season, which Chargers won, and in 2010. However, that was his peak, and he endured three lacklustre IPL seasons after that. His last IPL game was in 2013.

For Hyderabad, Suman played 38 first-class matches, 47 List A matches, and 75 T20s. His last first-class match was in the 2015-16 season.

IPL success is by no means an assured pathway to a great career. For these players and many others, fame and attention are brief and illusory.