India is a cricket frenzy nation where cricket is not just a sport, it is a religion. Here, cricketers are worshiped like Gods. Every other child in India wants to be a cricketer and play for the national team. In the pre-IPL era, it was to be done through a rather tough route of domestic cricket where years of consistency and perseverance would earn you the limelight and national call-ups.
But ever since the IPL started in 2008, it has been the shortcut to fame where you can go from rags to riches in a matter of weeks. Every season has seen a few youngsters who rise from nowhere to be touted as the next big thing in Indian cricket but never make it to the big stage. Either they can’t cope up with the pressure at the highest level or they get distracted by the sudden celebrity status and lose their way.
There have been a lot of eye-catching youngsters during this year’s IPL as well who are already being seen donning the national kit soon. Gritty leg-spin of Yuzvendra Chahal, power hitting of Deepak Hooda, innovative stroke play of Sarfaraz Khan, consistency of Shreyas Iyer are some of them. But these players are quite young yet and should be dealt with very cautiously and carefully.
Lessons should be learned from such cases in the past where players couldn’t live up to the hype that was built up around them after performing in the IPL. Let’s have a look at some players who rose to fame during the IPL but faded away soon after.
1. Swapnil Asnodkar
Rajasthan Royals are still one of the most underrated champions of IPL history. Despite having no big names, they won the title riding on indomitable team spirit. Apart from Shane Warne’s captaincy, Sohail Tanvir’s unorthodox bowling and Shane Watson’s & Yusuf Pathan’s all-round show, one major factor in their victory was their consistent opening pair.
Alongside ex-South African skipper Graeme Smith, the pocket-sized Swapnil Asnodkar earned a lot of plaudits. The opener from Goa scored 311 runs in the 9 innings at an impressive average of 34.55 and strike-rate of 133.47. He shared 418 runs with Smith at an average of 59.18 for the opening wicket. His fearless strokeplay suddenly led to him getting noticed, but things faded away soon. He could never live up to his stats in the inaugural season and currently, he is not a part of any IPL franchise.
Domestic record: 4442 first-class runs in 116 innings at an average of 41.12; highest score – 254*
National call-up: No
2. Paul Valthaty
In the 2011 season of the IPL, the KXIP opener took the world by storm after scoring a century against the mighty bowling attack of CSK. His 120* was the highest individual score that year. The Mumbaikar amassed 463 runs at an average of 35.61 and strike-rate of 136.98. Despite being in the U-19 squad for the 2002 U-19 World Cup alongside Parthiv Patel and Irfan Pathan, he could not make his mark until his IPL ton.
After he made his first-class debut for Himachal Pradesh in the 2011-12 season, injuries kept him away from competitive cricket every now and then. He played only 7 matches in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the IPL and went unsold in the 2014 player auction.
Domestic record: Hasn’t played much domestic cricket due to injuries
National call up: No