IPL has seen many brilliant performances over the years. The cricketing superstars have delivered one exceptional show after the other. But what makes IPL the best league in the world is the fact unexpected players put in dazzling performances. These lesser-known stars with their cricketing exploits went on to become household names after just a single season.
StumpsandBails looks at 6 such unexpected star performers of all time in the IPL:
#6 Avesh Khan (2021)
DC took everyone by surprise when they chose Avesh Khan ahead of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav in the playing XI. But Khan has been on the ball right from the word go. His discipline and skills have fetched him great rewards in IPL 2021. Khan has wickets to his name. His strike rate of 12.85 and economy rate of 7.70 is flat-out brilliant.
#5 Swapnil Asnodkar (2008)
Swapnil Asnodkar was a Shane Warne discovery. He was a pocket-sized dynamo who opened the innings for RR in 2008 along with Graeme Smith. Asnodkar often outpaced Smith in the partnership. His flying starts were instrumental in RR’s success.
#4 Paul Valthaty (2011)
Paul Valthaty announced himself on the world stage when he smashed 120* off just 63 balls against CSK playing for KXIP. The Kings were chasing a stiff total of 189 when a little-known Valthaty partnered with Adam Gilchrist and played one of the best knocks in IPL history. He top-scored for KXIP that season with 463 runs.
#3 Ambati Rayudu (2018)
Ambati Rayudu’s career is a curious case study. He is one cricketer who did more than his bit to earn an India call-up but somewhere failed to nail a permanent spot in the team. His temperament took him to participate in the rebel league, ICL from 2007-2009. Rayudu was allowed to participate in IPL from 2010. He made an instant impression for MI and played a stellar role for them in 3 title-winning campaigns.
MI didn’t retain Rayudu ahead of the 2018 auctions. His career seemed all over. But CSK took a punt on Rayudu and the move paid off beautifully. Rayudu smashed 602 runs striking at 149.75 averaging 43. His brilliant season capped off with CSK’s championship win. He rightfully earned an India call-up post that season.
#2 Shaun Marsh (2008)
Nobody had expected Shaun Marsh to top the run-charts in IPL 2008. But Marsh did just that. In a team boasted names like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, and Yuvraj Singh, it was Marsh who bagged the batting honours. He ended with 616 runs in just 11 games at an average of 68. Marsh was a revelation.
#1 Harshal Patel (2021)
Harshal Patel is an IPL veteran. He has been playing in the IPL since 2012. Patel could never really nail down a spot for himself playing for RCB back then. He rose into prominence for his off-speed deliveries representing DC in 2018. But even then nobody took him seriously. In an inspired pre-season tradeoff, RCB bought Harshal Patel from DC in 2021. He was handed the death-overs duties for the season. And boy did he deliver. He emerged as the runaway winner for the purple cap. Patel picked up 17 wickets in 7 games and an India call-up is round the corner.