The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the most lucrative and prestigious T20 league in the world. But more significantly, the league presents an opportunity for the young and talented Indian cricketers to match their talents against the best in the world.
There have been many players who made it through to the Indian team on the back of their performances in the IPL. Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya would be prime examples of such players who made it big at the international level. On the other hand, there are players like Swapnil Asnodkar and Paul Valthaty who gave outstanding performances in one season of the league but failed to replicate them in subsequent seasons.
The IPL has seen some noteworthy brilliant performances by relatively little-known Indian players that have set the tournament on fire. Manish Pandey, a relative unknown at that time, scored the maiden century by an Indian in the history of the league. Manvinder Bisla smashed a belligerent 89 in the 2012 IPL final to help Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) claim the title.
Let us have a look at some of the IPL records that are held by Indian players who are not household names, especially in the T20 format.
# 1: Highest career batting average
Iqbal Abdulla has the highest career batting average in the IPL amongst Indian players with a minimum of 10 innings. The Mumbai left-arm spinner averages 44.00 with the bat in the IPL. MS Dhoni comes in next, with an average of 42.20. For the record, Jonny Bairstow has the highest overall average (55.62) in the IPL.
Abdulla had won the "Rising Star of the Year" award in IPL 2011 but that was more for his bowling than his batting. He picked up 16 wickets at an average of 19.06, and an economy rate of only 6.1 that season.
In his IPL career, Abdulla has represented Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Rajasthan Royals (RR), and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). He has only batted in the IPL on 13 occasions, remaining unbeaten in 11 of those innings. With a run aggregate of 88 runs and a highest score of 33*, Abdulla averages an impressive 44.00 in his IPL career.
# 2: Highest strike rate in an IPL innings
Balachandra Akhil has the highest strike rate among Indian players with minimum 25 runs in an IPL innings. The Karnataka all-rounder had a strike rate of 385.71 in his innings of 27* for RCB against Deccan Chargers. Virat Kohli comes in next with a strike rate of 357.14. For the record, Chris Morris has the highest strike rate in an IPL innings, having scored 38* in 9 deliveries at a strike rate of 422.22.
Akhil's match-winning knock came in the inaugural season of the IPL in 2008. RCB required 25 runs to win off 16 deliveries when Akhil came into bat at the fall of Kohli's wicket. The youngster smashed an unbeaten 27 off just 7 deliverables in a knock studded with 3 sixes and 2 fours. This helped RCB to romp home with 5 wickets in hand and an over to spare.
# 3: Most sixes in an IPL innings
Murali Vijay holds the Indian record for the most sixes in an IPL innings. Vijay struck 11 sixes in his knock of 127 for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) against Rajasthan Royals (RR). For the record, Chris Gayle has struck the most sixes (17) in an IPL innings, doing so during his knock of 175* for RCB against Pune Warriors.
Vijay has been a pretty successful opening batsman for India in the longer version of the game. But he has not set the world on fire in the few opportunities he got for India in the limited-overs format. He represented India in only 9 T20Is, aggregating just 169 runs at a meagre average of 18.77, and a modest strike rate of 109.74.
Vijay's six-hitting spree came in the 2010 IPL at the Chepauk, CSK's home ground. He smashed 127 runs off just 56 deliveries in a knock studded with 11 sixes and 8 fours. The knock helped CSK reach a total of 246/5 in their allotted 20 overs, eventually winning the game by 23 runs.
# 4: Best career bowling average
Shreyas Gopal holds the Indian record for the best career bowling average among bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 250 deliveries in the IPL. Gopal has a career bowling average of 19.39 and is the only Indian in the IPL list of top 10 bowlers with the best averages. For the record, Kagiso Rabada has the best career bowling average in the history of the IPL, with an average of 17.93.
Gopal, who had a prolific 2019 season for RR, is still looking for a breakthrough at the international level. A relatively poor 2019-20 domestic season for Karnataka has set him back in the race for the India cap.
In the IPL, apart from RR, Gopal has also represented the Mumbai Indians. The Karnataka leg-spinner has taken a total of 38 wickets in 31 IPL matches, at an average of 19.39, an economy of 7.5, and a strike rate of 15.5. He would be hoping to continue in the same vein in the upcoming IPL to come back in the reckoning for a spot in the Indian team.
# 5: Best career bowling strike rate
Asish Reddy holds the Indian record for the best career bowling strike rate among bowlers who have bowled a minimum of 250 deliveries in the IPL. He has a career strike rate of 14.5 in the competition, which is second only to Rabada who has a career strike rate of 13.2.
Reddy, who has never been in the India reckoning, has represented Deccan Chargers and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the IPL. The Hyderabad all-rounder has picked a total of 18 wickets in 31 IPL matches at an average of 22.00, an economy rate of 9.06, and a strike rate of just 14.5.