All of 19 when he played his first IPL match, Virat Kohli was deemed as the next-big-thing in Indian cricket after guiding the junior Indian side to a memorable U-19 World Cup win in 2008. His temperament was under question, but he managed to hold his own in the company of giants like Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Anil Kumble while donning the RCB colours, much before he became a household name across the country with his superhuman run with the bat.
Despite a scratchy start to his international career, the RCB franchise kept faith in Kohli every season, and the results are there for everyone to see. Now 31 years old, he has featured in a total of 177 IPL matches, sharing the field with some surprising names through the course of the first few seasons with the RCB side. Here are five such names:
Also read: 5 players you didn't know played the IPL
1. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
The unlovely batting stance notwithstanding, Shivnarine Chanderpaul was a versatile batsman who could modify his game according to the need of the hour. One of the handful of cricketers to have more than 20,000 international runs under their belt, Chanderpaul had a rather abrupt end to his Test career in 2016 after falling out with his country’s cricket board.
In 2008, he was bought by the RCB for the IPL’s opening season, where he managed to break into the first team on only three occasions. Although his ODI and T20I career couldn’t extend beyond 2011, he continued to play Tests until 2015.
2. Abdur Razzak
Like a conveyor belt churning out identical products, the Bangladesh team has always had a steady supply of left-arm spinners. Ever since debuting as an 18-year old in 2004, Abdur Razzak, cut from the same cloth, was a regular feature in the Bangladesh team, before encountering a dip in 2014 after a new era of bowlers emerged on the scene. On his way, he became the first Bangladesh bowler to claim 200 ODI wickets. Yet, the stigma of being accused of an illegal action plagued his journey in the Tigers’ jersey 2008 onwards.
He played a single match for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first edition of the IPL. It turned out to be a horrid day for him, leaking 29 runs in just two overs.
3. Wasim Jaffer
He was never made for the shortest format, but Wasim Jaffer could score runs at a fair clip, finding gaps with ease using his silken smooth batting. He played some solid knocks at the top of the order for Team India in Tests, yet his place was always under question due to the presence of other opening options towards the latter half of 2000.
It was surprising, however, to see him opening the batting in the IPL, that too with Rahul Dravid by his side, for both aren’t exactly explosive with the bat. He played a total of eight matches, but was quickly discarded after the franchise found better options at the top. In 2011, he became Ranji Trophy’s highest run-getter ever.
Misbah was hot property in the 2007-08 season after his admirable batting display in the inaugural World T20 (barring the mind-numbing dismissal in the final). His cool-headed batting and range of strokes must have been one of the reasons why the RCB team bought him for the first season.
The association didn’t last long, for the now 45-year-old played just eight matches before being discarded because of the increasing political tension led to Pakistani players getting snubbed from the IPL.
5. Sunil Joshi
A relatively late bloomer in international cricket, Sunil Joshi’s half a decade long international career saw his smooth left-arm action being employed for 15 Tests, and 69 ODIs, before young spinners like Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik made their way to the national side. Yet, his jaw-dropping spell of 5-6 against South Africa in an ODI won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
He was already 37 when he was contracted with the Challengers for the first edition, bringing in some recognisable local flavour to a side lined up with big international names. He played just four matches, picking a solitary wicket.Published 27 Feb 2017, 15:41 IST