They are not talked about often as they do not represent the country. But come this year’s edition of the IPL, these five cricketers have the ability to set the stage on fire. They have done it time and again in the shortest format of the game… by picking vital wickets, scoring a quick 30-odd when the chips are down or taking a stunning. However, even then they have failed to attract the selectors’ attentions or for that matter even the fans. It seems that the limelight is always on the more glamorous cricketers like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or for that matter AB de Villiers and Glenn Maxwell.
That though doesn’t seem to bother them. And this season too, even if they do perform, someone else will grab headlines. Orissa POST takes a look at five cricketers who may turn out to be ‘unsung heroes’ for their respective franchises.
Krishnappa Gowtham (Rajasthan Royals): He may have under-performed in the last two editions of the IPL, but then his current form in domestic tournaments has been superb. Gowtham in a recent Karnataka Premier League (KPL) game took eight wickets and scored a century. However, this feat has gone unrecognised as KPL has not been given the official status by the BCCI. In the 2019 KPL this bowling all-rounder finished with 21 wickets from eight games. He has enough variation to trouble and restrict batsman. Gowtham is also quiet handy with the bat and can hit the ball long. So this is one player to watch out for in IPL 2020.
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Nitish Rana (Kolkata Knight Riders): The left-handed batsman and right arm off-spinner is certainly a player to watch out for. He has an impressive strike rate of over 130 and an economy below eight when bowling. Hence, he is someone very handy to have around. Nitish had a very successful season for KKR in 2019 when he scored 344 runs with a strike rate of close to 150 and three 50s. He did not bowl much, but even then picked up four wickets. The Eden Gardens with its short boundaries suits him and he is an important cog in the wheels of KKR’s fortunes.
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Devdutt Padikkal (Royal Challengers Bangalore): Well for those who haven’t heard his name, Devdutt Padikkal is the one to watch out for in IPL 2020. This right-handed batsman became the talk of the town with his performance in last year’s KPL. He scored 310 runs playing for Bellary Tuskers. The Kerala-born youngster is a fantastic batsman in cricket, which was quite evident in KPL and SMAT. In his short T20 career of 12 matches, Padikkal has amassed 580 runs at an average of over 64 and a whopping strike rate of over 175. Well he may not have got the chance of donning the RCB jersey last time around, but this time he is well and truly on the path of making a name for himself. Is Virat Kohli listening?
Suryakumar Yadav (Mumbai Indians): Well he is already a proven customer for the last couple of years. Prior to Mumbai Indians picking him up in 2018, he was also successful for KKR. He has opened the innings, batted at one drop and down the order. It just goes to show that he is versatile and can adjust to any situation. He scored 324 runs in the 16 games he played last season with a healthy average of 32.61 and a strike rate bordering around 132. Not bad for a cricketer who is not always in the limelight.
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Shreyas Gopal (Rajasthan Royals): No one can fathom why this leg-spinner still hasn’t donned India colours. The last four times RR have played against RCB, this diminutive bowler has got AB de Villiers on all occasions and Virat Kohli thrice. Yet he has failed to attract the attention of the selectors. RR picked up Gopal for only Rs 20 lakh in the 2018 auction – a real steal indeed. In the last two years, Gopal has picked up 31 wickets (20 in 2019, 11 in 2018) and has captured three wickets or more five times. No doubt, this season also the opposition batsmen will be wary of him. They will have to because one batsman once observed ‘Gopal’s googly spits venom’.
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