IPL has always been a platform for young, uncapped players to perform at the highest level with international stars and take it as a stepping stone of their journey of getting into their respective national sides.
The recent selection of Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav and Rahul Tewatia is a testament to the same fact.
Ishan and Suryakumar have been pillars of the Mumbai Indians (MI) since 2018 and they dominated the IPL with their agile strokeplay.
Ishan played 14 matches in the 2020 IPL and amassed 516 runs at an average of 57.33 while Suryakumar featured in 16 matches and scored 480 runs at a strike rate of 145.01. Both booked their spot in India’s T20I squad for England series.
On the other hand, Tewatia who was bought by Rajasthan Royals (RR) for 3 crores in the 2019 auction also showed his brilliance on the field in last year’s IPL and single-handedly turned the game against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings).
Hence it is expected that IPL 2021 will be no different where uncapped players will prove their mettle and deliver when needed the most.
Today, let’s have a look at three uncapped players who can be the most valuable assets for their teams in IPL 2021.
1) Devdutt Paddikal
Padikkal was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for IPL 2021 at his base price of 20 lakhs. Scoring 473 runs in his maiden IPL, the left-handed opener showed his batting prowess on-field by being the highest scorer for RCB in IPL 2020 at an average of 31.53. His dependable batting along with a strike rate of 124.80 provided RCB with the much-needed solidarity to qualify for the playoffs.
With Shikhar Dhawan being rested during the England T20Is and a relatively young Ishan taking his place, the moment seems opportune for Paddikal to make the most out of IPL 2021 and knock at the selectors’ doors.
2) Krishnappa Gowtham
Picked by Rajasthan Royals at the 2018 IPL auction, Krishnappa Gowtham contributed significantly with the bat and ball in his game-changing cameos. With Ben Stokes struggling that season, Rajasthan Royals gave a chance to the fresh Gowtham for his maiden IPL match.
Nicknamed ‘Bhajji’ after his uncanny resemblance with his idol Harbhajan Singh, Gowtham was one of the five bowlers to be selected for the net practice session during the England series.
His ability to perform restrictive off-spin coupled with explosive batting makes him a good contender for the Indian team.
Picked by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the 2021 auction for a whopping 9.25 crore making him the costliest uncapped player in the history of IPL, Gowtham is all set to raid the ranks of the opposition and deliver what is expected of him.
CSK leader MS Dhoni is known for supporting emerging talents and polishing their crafts with his strategic planning and ahead of IPL 2021, Gowtham told the media that it is a dream come true for him to play alongside Dhoni and the price tag of 9.25 crore doesn’t add any pressure on him.
Making his intent very clear, Gowtham added that he is looking forward to performing both with the bat and ball and win matches for CSK.
3) Shahrukh Khan
With the whole country going gaga over his name, Shahrukh Khan, another star in the making was purchased by Punjab Kings at a hefty price of 5.25 crore.
The mighty finisher recently impressed everyone with his head-turning strike rate of 220 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.
During the auction, a bidding war ensued between Punjab Kings and Delhi Capitals (DC) with finally Priety Zinta winning it and taking Shahrukh home for 26 times his base price of 20 lakhs.
Shahrukh, earlier, hit the headline after scoring quickfire 30s and 40s in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL).
Named after Bollywood superstar Sharukh, the 25-year-old might also have luck favouring him this IPL 2021 when he makes a name for himself as a lower-order batsman and be the match finisher that KL Rahul & Co. needs.