The IPL is perhaps the only T20 tournament in the world right now where reputation can guarantee you good riches but not always a place in the playing XI. With not more than 4 overseas players allowed in each squad, it becomes all the way more important for franchisees to build a good core team around professional Indian players and uncapped stars who have the potential to be the superstars of tomorrow. In a tournament like IPL, it doesn’t matter how many centuries you have scored or how many wickets you have taken all over the globe. All that matters is how you fared in the last few games as that plays a key role in cementing your spot in the playing XI. While some franchises use the same as a form of motivating factor, some end up building too much pressure on their superstar players unintentionally. Either way, it’s the players who have to bear the brunt of it.
In IPL 2021, some players always had the potential but weren’t delivering to good effect. Either the runs and wickets weren’t coming or even if statistics weren’t much of a challenge, they didn’t appear to be in the best of rhythms. However, with the mega auction happening in IPL 2022, a lot of structural changes have happened which has resulted in some major swapping of players. Well, guess what? We have a list of 8 interesting and talented players for whom this swapping proved to be a blessing in disguise.
Dinesh Karthik: Dinesh Karthik is one player who has represented almost every other franchise in IPL history and more often than not, has done well for his teams as well. However, the biggest responsibility came his way when he got to captain KKR after the legendary Gautam Gambhir. As far as captaincy is concerned, he was average but he certainly wasn’t able to deliver with the bat as well as he would have liked to. The last few seasons for KKR were disastrous for him. However, this season, as soon as he came into the RCB setup, things changed drastically for him. He is finishing games left, right and centre for the team and has impressed so much that he might get a call for the Indian team as well ahead of the T20 World Cup. Amazing change of fortunes indeed.
Kuldeep Yadav: India has always lacked a good quality chinaman spinner and when Kuldeep Yadav started to enter the cricketing circuit, everyone termed him as India’s very own Brad Hogg. He did complete justice to the name as well for India and for KKR as well for many seasons but only under Gautam Gambhir’s leadership. He was eventually dropped from the side under Dinesh Karthik’s leadership and it impacted his confidence to a great extent. However, right now, he’s with Delhi Capitals and has taken wickets so smoothly that he already finds himself in the top 10 list of ‘Most Wickets’ aka purple cap holders. Fans are certainly hoping that the good form continues ahead in the T20 World Cup as well.
Yuzvendra Chahal: This name became popular in the cricket circuit when he started performing wonderfully for RCB under Virat Kohli’s leadership. His performances helped him earn a call in the limited-overs format for India and there’s no element of doubt over the fact that he has delivered the goods. His last season with RCB didn’t go as well as he would have liked to and in this season, it was a shocker to see him not getting retained by RCB. Well, RCB’s loss was RR’s gain and immediately after this change, he’s now one of the leading wicket-takers in IPL 2022. The journey ahead is only upward for Yuzi Chahal.
Hardik Pandya: He has been one of the finest all-rounders for India and Mumbai Indians over the years. He’s unfortunately been prone to injuries due to which he has been in and out of the squad. The injuries have impacted his bowling as well due to which he wasn’t performing as well as fans expected him. Mumbai Indians didn’t retain him nor could buy him back in the auction and it was Gujarat Titans who saw an opportunity to capitalise on here. The net result? Hardik has been playing some amazing knocks in IPL 2022 so far and Gujarat Titans are placed within the first three to four teams of the IPL league stage.
Shikhar Dhawan: Indian cricket’s beloved ‘Gabbar’ aka Shikhar Dhawan has been one consistent player for India. Even though he’s aging, he’s kept his fitness level very high because of which he is an asset to literally any team he represents. He was quiet for Delhi Capitals in the last few seasons but still wasn’t retained by the squad. Punjab Kings used this opportunity as a ‘steal’ and as expected, Dhawan has been playing wonderfully to answer his critics as he started representing Punjab Kings. Certainly, a lot of cricket is left in you Gabbar. Game on.
Umesh Yadav: Until 2012, India was known to produce fast bowlers who could only bowl at an average pace of 135km/hr. It was Umesh Yadav who changed the reputation to a good effect in the 2012 series in Australia by consistently bowling after 145km/hr to trouble Australian batsmen. He along with Varun Aaron formed a lethal pair and since then, Umesh has been doing wonderfully. In the last few years, he has been in and out of teams and while representing RCB, he would more often than not go for runs. This season, KKR showed faith in him and the man has certainly delivered by taking early wickets in most games.
Shreyas Iyer: This man is currently being hailed as an interesting No. 3 batsman and future skipper for team India. Shreyas has been in red hot form in the last few months but still, he wasn’t retained by the Delhi Capitals. Kolkata Knight Riders roped him for big bucks by hoping that he would be able to repeat the heroics of Gautam Gambhir for their squad. He wasn’t performing to the best of his abilities with the bat for DC. But the moment he geared up in KKR colours, he seemed a different player altogether. Here’s hoping Iyer’s personal form helps KKR make a comeback after four straight losses.
Shubman Gill: Last but certainly not least, we have to talk about Shubman Gill. After his Under-19 World Cup heroics earlier, he was picked by KKR when they decided to groom him and build him as a future player for their squad. His strike rate at the top of the order was a matter of concern for KKR and he would often be criticized for the same. However, this season, the moment he started representing Gujarat Titans, he looked like a different player altogether. He also managed his career-best T20 IPL score of 90+ odd runs by representing GT and the strike rate has gone high as well. A positive surprise for Indian cricket indeed, especially keeping the T20 World Cup in mind.
Since the stakes are quite high in IPL, it is quite understandable that franchises can’t afford to place their bets on an individual player for too long if they don’t perform. But it seems like, from a player’s point of view, a change in the dressing room and environment can literally change the whole equation to good effect. Whatever it is, it is good cricket that eventually seals the deal for fans.