The biggest cricket carnival in India, IPL, is all set to kick-off in April. Though the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hasn’t announced the schedule yet, the reports of the tournament starting in April have been doing the rounds on social media.
Over the years, IPL has provided opportunities for players to showcase their talent on the world’s best T20 platform. The followers of the game will be excited to see their favourite teams and players in action, yet again.
While many young players will have a chance to make a name for themselves, many others will be hoping to rejuvenate their careers.
On that note, let’s take a look at the six cricketers who could have a sizzling season in IPL 2021.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is rated as one of the most successful captains in the history of the Indian Premier League. He has led the Chennai Super Kings to three elusive titles (2010, 2011, and 2018). The 39-year-old has been a vital cog of the Chennai-based franchise since the inception of the cash-lucrative league in 2008.
It is almost impossible to imagine a CSK squad without the legendary wicketkeeper-batsman. With his astute leadership and impressive batting display, Dhoni has always proved to be a reckoning force for the three-time champions in the cash-rich league.
However, despite the presence of the Ranchi-born batsman, CSK failed to make it to the playoffs in the IPL 2020. The franchise somehow managed to avoid a last-place finish, but eventually ended its campaign at the seventh spot.
Dhoni too had a poor run in the 13th edition of IPL in UAE as he scored just 200 runs from 14 games at an average of 25.
Ahead of the IPL 2021, Mahi will be looking to change the fortunes of his side with his impactful batting performance this year.
New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson became the second-most expensive player in the recently held IPL auction after being purchased by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 15 crore. The 26-year-old speedster, who had a base price of Rs 75 lakh, attracted bids from many popular franchises including, Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings. However, in the end, RCB broke the bank for the lanky bowler.
As far as the domestic circuit is concerned, Jamieson has played 34 First-class matches and notched up 773 runs while picking up 128 scalps.
Moreover, in 40 T20 games, Jamieson has scored 190 runs and scalped 54 wickets.
The Kiwi pacer, who made his international debut during the three-match ODI series against India, has played just 6 T20Is so far, bagging four wickets to his name. His brilliant pace and ability to score quick runs make him one of the best prospects in world cricket at the moment.
In one of the most talked-about moves in the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Rajasthan Royals took a big step of not only removing Steve Smith as the captain of the team but also releasing him in the auction pool this year.
Under the leadership of Smith, Royals finished last in the 13th edition of IPL with just 6 wins from 14 games.
The Australian batsman had a forgetful season in the IPL 2020 as he amassed just 311 runs at an average of 25.91.
After an underwhelming performance, the 32-year-old was released by the Rajasthan-based franchise ahead of IPL 2021 auction in Chennai. But not many franchises were interested in roping in the batting great barring the Delhi Capitals who bought the Aussie stalwart for Rs 2.2 crore.
Notably, Smith was also delighted to join the new team and asserted that he is looking to help Shreyas Iyer-led side clinch their maiden IPL title in 2021.
The next player on the list is the Indian left-arm spinner, Kuldeep Yadav. The 26-year-old, who was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for a whopping amount of Rs 5.8 crore in the 2018 IPL auction, hasn’t really managed to deliver as per the expectations of his side.
The Uttar Pradesh-born bowler had a horrendous run in the 13th edition of IPL as he ended up with only one wicket from 5 games at an economy rate of 7.66.
Despite his miserable outing last year, the two-time champions retained him ahead of the player auction for IPL 2021.
If BCCI decides to host the next season of the tournament in India, Kuldeep Yadav has a chance to play enough matches.
Following Kuldeep Yadav, another Indian cricketer who could have a good season in the IPL 2021 is Rishabh Pant. There is no doubt in saying that Pant will be one of the players to watch out for in the upcoming edition.
Considering Pant’s current form with the bat, the young wicketkeeper-batsman can prove to be a match-winner for Delhi Capitals in this year’s tournament.
The 23-year-old southpaw has had an intriguing journey in the cash-rich league over the years. Though he missed out on the Orange Cap, his batting has always been a bright prospect for Shreyas Iyer-led side since 2018.
In 68 IPL games so far, Pant has amassed 2079 runs at an average of 35.23 and a strike rate of 151.97.
Shakib Al Hasan
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan recently made a comeback in international cricket after serving a ban for not reporting corrupt approaches.
In the IPL 2021 auction, the Kolkata-based franchise managed to acquire the services of the 33-year-old for Rs 3.20 crore. Though Punjab Kings had also shown interest in the left-hander, KKR outbid them. Shakib was an integral part of the Kolkata Knight Riders squad from 2011 to 2017.
However, the two-time champions decided against retaining the former Bangladesh captain ahead of the IPL 2018.
Now, when Shakib has returned to his former IPL franchise, he could produce a strong performance in the upcoming tournament.
Shakib Al Hasan can be flexible with the willow right from the top order to the middle order and could also come in handy with the ball in the crucial middle overs.
For the record, the southpaw has played 63 games in his IPL career so far and accumulated 746 runs in addition to picking up 59 wickets.