For a game still struggling to overcome its colonial past, the emergence of Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008 was undoubtedly a breakthrough moment in the history of cricket, spanning over two centuries.
A brainchild of Lalit Modi – the tournament has gone from strength to strength, and also made its name among the most lucrative franchise leagues around the world.
It wouldn’t be a slight exaggeration to comment that the immense success of the league has cemented BCCI’s position as the ‘world leader of cricket’ for years to come.
Providing an incredible platform to the young talents to showcase their skill is perhaps the most significant contribution of the IPL to the cricketing world. One might have lost count of a number of players who shot to prominence after playing the IPL.
For lots of young talents coming from the distant part of the world, the league had been the inflexion point in their career. Whether it is Rashid Khan’s masterful spin, or Jasprit Bumrah’s toe-crushing yorkers, or Hardik Pandya’s blitzkrieg – all these acts first made their appearance in the IPL.
Every year, the league rewards a promising youngster with an award.
Here are the eligibility criteria for the award:
- Should be born on or after 1 April 1993.
- Should have played five or fewer Test matches or 20 or less ODIs.
- Should have played 25 or fewer IPL matches (at the start of the season).
- Should not have won the Emerging Player award in the past.
As a build-up to the 13th season of the T20 extravaganza, let’s look at the past winners of the award.
1.) 2008: Shreevats Goswami (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Shreevats Goswami was the wicket-keeper of the Virat Kohli-led squad which won the 2008 U-19 World Cup. He won the award in the inaugural edition of the tournament.
Plying his trade for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2008, Goswami accumulated 82 runs in four matches, at an average of 27.33. However, he couldn’t build upon an impressive start as he faded to obscurity in later years. Currently, he is a part of team Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL.
2.) 2009: Rohit Sharma (Deccan Chargers)
Rohit Sharma won the award while extending his services to the now-defunct Deccan Chargers in 2009. In 16 matches, Sharma scored 362 runs at an average of 27.84 in what was a title-winning season for the franchise.
The stylish right-handed batsman moved to Mumbai Indians (MI) in 2010.
3.) 2010: Saurabh Tiwary ( Mumbai Indians)
Hailing from MS Dhoni’s home state Jharkhand, Saurabh Tiwary was another small-town cricketer destined to have a bright future. Although Tiwary didn’t really leave a mark in the long run, he had a few great seasons with Mumbai Indians (MI).
Tiwary stockpiled 419 runs from 16 games at a fantastic strike-rate of above 135.59
4.) 2011: Iqbal Abdulla (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Iqbal Abdulla, a left-arm spinner from Mumbai, plied his trade for Kolkata Knight Riders from 2008 to 2013. In 2011, Abdulla picked 16 wickets and helped his side reach the play-offs for the first time.
5.) 2012: Mandeep Singh (Kings XI Punjab)
Mandeep Singh had a spectacular campaign with the bat in 2012, where he piled up 432 runs at an average of 27.00.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t sustain his form for the next couple of seasons and was traded to RCB for the 2015 edition. Mandeep currently features for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
6.) 2013: Sanju Samson (Rajasthan Royals)
KKR acquired Sanju Samson in 2012, but the wicket keeping-batsman didn’t get any chance to showcase his utility.
Samson’s move to Rajasthan Royals (RR) in 2013 turned out to be a fruitful affair. He scored 206 runs from 11 games at an average of 25.75 and bagged the award in his very first season.
7.) 2014: Axar Patel (Kings XI Punjab)
In what was his first season for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), Axar Patel bagged 17 wickets in as many matches. Patel certainly played an instrumental role in guiding KXIP to their first-ever final of the tournament.
Patel now plies his trade for the Delhi Capitals (DC).
8.) 2015: Shreyas Iyer (Delhi Capitals)
Shreyas Iyer, a dashing right-handed batsman from Mumbai, was picked by the Delhi-based franchise in 2015. In what was his maiden season, Iyer amassed 439 runs from 14 games at an impressive average of 33.76.
9.) 2016: Mustafizur Rahman (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Mustafizur Rahman played a crucial role in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s title-winning campaign in 2016. With 17 wickets in 16 matches, Rahman became the only player from another country to win the award. Rahman, meanwhile, went unsold in the 2020 IPL auction.
10.) 2017: Basil Thampi (Gujarat Lions)
Basil Thampi picked 12 wickets in 11 matches for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions (GL) in 2017 season. Although he didn’t pick too many wickets, his effectiveness in death overs, and the ability to bowl perfect yorkers, made him the favourite to grab the award.
Thampi now plies his trade for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
11.) 2018: Rishabh Pant (Delhi Capitals)
Rishabh Pant set the league on fire with his sumptuous stroke play and incredible consistency in 2018 edition of the league. He scored a whopping 684 runs at an average of 52.61, and an other-worldly strike rate of 173.60.
In 14 games, Pant also scored five half-centuries and a century.
12.) 2019: Shubman Gill (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Shubman Gill is already seen as the next big thing for Team India. He shot to fame after a terrific outing in the U-19 World Cup in 2018. KKR made no mistake and acquired his service in the 2018 auction.
Gill didn’t get much opportunity in his first season at the club. But in 2019, the star batsman played 14 matches, aggregating 296 runs at an average of 32.88, and winning the ‘Emerging Player Award’.