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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Finds of the Season: Uncapped Indians who broke through in IPL 2020

Five standout young Indian players who made their mark in IPL 2020 and can be expected to play leading roles for their teams next season too.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: November 12, 2020 1:41:59 pm
iplDevdutt Padikkal scored the joint-most half-centuries (5) in IPL 2020. (BCCI/IPL)

IPL 2020 was dominated by some usual suspects. The likes of Kagiso Rabada, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Jofra Archer dominated the bowling records, while the likes of KL Rahul, AB de Villiers and Shikhar Dhawan piled on the runs. But there were some unfancied names too — some young players making their mark in their debut season or some others hitting a rich vein of form.

Devdutt Padikkal (473 runs at average of 31.53, strike-rate: 124.80) received the IPL 2020 Emerging Player award. The 20-year-old, making his IPL debut, stood tall at the top of the RCB batting order, even as his opening partner kept changing — from Aaron Finch to Josh Philippe and finally even to Virat Kohli in the Playoffs.

Having consistently delivered throughout the season, Padikkal scored 5 half-centuries in the season, the joint-most with KL Rahul and AB de Villiers.

Also deserving mention among batsmen who made their mark this season are 19-year-old Priyam Garg (SRH) and 23-year-old Ruturaj Gaikwad (CSK), both of whom had cemented their place in star-studded batting line-ups by the end of the season.

T Natarajan bowled yorkers consistently throughout IPL 2020. (BCCI/IPL)

There was a new yorker king in town this season! Nobody bowled more yorkers at the death than SRH’s T Natarajan, who enjoyed a resurgence this year.

READ | How T Natarajan’s yorker deceived the great AB de Villiers

Natarajan, 29, had made a handful of appearances in IPL 2017, but had suffered a spate of injuries since then. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s injury early in the season finally gave Natarajan the opportunity to shine. Picking up 18 wickets at an average of 34.38 and an economy of 8.19, Natarajan was the primary reason why SRH’s death overs bowling was clinical more often than not.

Natarajan was picked in India’s T20I squad for the Australia tour.

Varun Chakravarthy in action for KKR (BCCI/IPL)

Another 29-year-old who broke through the ranks this year was KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who took 17 wickets at an average of 20.94 and an economy of 7.10. The ‘mystery spinner’ made amends for a bad outing last year, becoming KKR’s most trusted bowler through the season.

READ | India selectors told ‘fit’ Varun Chakravarthy can’t throw

He even picked up a five-wicket haul against eventual finalists Delhi Capitals, which turned out to be the best bowling figures in the season. Chakravarthy was handed a place in the India T20I team as well initially, but was left out later due to injury.

Rahul Tewatia in action for RR (BCCI/IPL)

For many, IPL 2020 was the season of Rahul Tewatia. Ever since he dragged Rajasthan Royals back from the dead to clinch a tie vs Kings XI Punjab, the question on everyone’s lips whenever chases have become tight has been — ‘Can he do a Tewatia?’

READ | Tewatia’s redemption: A frustrating start, 5 sixes in an over and IPL’s highest run chase

Tewatia’s brute force with the bat never reached the heights of his battering of Sheldon Cottrell since then, but the relatively unheralded all-rounder did become the only Indian player in IPL 2020 to achieve the double of 200 runs and 10 wickets, thus making him the best all-rounder of the season statistically.

He scored 255 runs at an average of 42.50 and a strike-rate of 139.34, also taking 10 wickets at an economy of 7.13.

Ravi Bishnoi in action for KXIP (BCCI/IPL)

Ravi Bishnoi was the wildcard up KXIP’s sleeve in the bowling department this season, the 20-year-old leg spinner often being the most difficult bowler to face from their team. Such was his efficiency that he bowled the most dot balls (122) among Indian spinners in IPL 2020. He picked up 12 wickets at an economy of 7.37.

“As a spinner, I enjoyed Ravi Bishnoi. For him, it can’t get any better because he has been working with Anil (Kumble) bhai. At 20, you are getting to work with a legend like him. It is something one would dream of,” Pragyan Ojha said on a Sportstar show earlier this week.

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