Although the IPL has a strong overseas presence, at the end of the day, it is the ‘Indian’ Premier League. One of the objectives of the tournament is to promote young, budding talent from the country and bring them to the fore. Every year, the IPL sees Indian players producing some amazing performances, which pitchforks them into the limelight. In this feature, we look at five Indian cricketers to watch out for in IPL 2021.
1. Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan was the leading run-scorer for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020. He hammered 516 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 145.76. The tournament saw him cross the fifty mark four times. His best of 99 came in a losing cause (in the Super Over). But it was an incredible knock in a chase that elevated Kishan’s confidence to a different level. When captain Rohit Sharma got injured, he took the responsibility to open the innings and played some cracking knocks. Recently, he also cracked an attractive fifty on his T20 debut against England.
Ishan Kishan’s IPL stats: Matches – 51, Runs – 1211, SR – 136.83
2. Ruturaj Gaikwad
CSK batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad saw two ends of the spectrum in IPL 2020. At the start of the tournament, he tested COVID-19 and had to battle it out in isolation. When he got a chance to bat, his first three scores in the edition were 0, 5 and 0. Not surprisingly, he was dropped. However, with CSK struggling for rhythm, Gaikwad got a second chance towards the end of IPL 2020. This time, he made it count with three attractive fifties. Thanks to the youngster’s solid batting, Chennai had something to cheer about in the second half of IPL 2020.
Ruturaj Gaikwad’s IPL stats: Matches – 6, Runs – 204, SR – 120.71
3. Nitish Rana
Nitish Rana is a key player in the KKR batting line-up. He has versatile skills. Rana can play the support role to dazzling hitters like Andre Russell and Eoin Morgan. When the need arises, he himself is capable of upping the ante. Usually a middle-order bat, Rana can play the role of floater in the team as well. It wouldn’t be wrong to say he is a vital cog in the KKR batting line up. Last season, he had an up and down time, and ended with 352 runs in 14 games at a strike rate of 138.58.
Nitish Rana’s IPL stats: Matches – 60, Runs – 1437, SR – 135.56
4. Varun Chakravarthy
Leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy narrowly missed out on playing for India twice in recent times owing to fitness issues. He got that close because of an impressive season for KKR in IPL 2020. He managed only one game for Punjab Kings after being picked up at the IPL 2019 auction for INR 8.4 crore. Last year, for KKR though, he demonstrated that there is indeed something about him, which is why franchises are willing to shell out huge sums. He bamboozled Delhi Capitals with 5 for 20, and earned a maiden call up to the Indian team, later aborted by injury.
Varun Chakravarthy’s IPL stats: Matches – 14, Wickets – 18, SR – 18.33
5. Arshdeep Singh
The medium-pacer from Punjab Kings claimed nine wickets in eight matches last year. On paper, the numbers are not extraordinary. However, Arshdeep Singh bowled some really tough overs for the franchise last year, when the pressure was very much on the bowling side. In a couple of games, he displayed tremendous composure and a good bowling brain for a youngster. He bowled Punjab to victory with 3 for 23 as the franchise defended a total of 126 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Arshdeep Singh’s IPL stats: Matches – 11, Wickets – 12, SR – 17.41