The countdown to the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has begun. Among other things, It is also the time to ponder over which unanticipated, non-household foreign names will grab the cricket world's attention during IPL13.
From hard-hitting top-order batsmen to T20 bowling maestros to dashing wicket-keeping gems, there is a whole pool of extremely talented foreign cricketers in this year's IPL.
Many of these players have done exceptionally well in other T20 grand extravaganzas around the globe and they certainly have that potential to emulate those performances on the IPL stage too.
In this article, we will shed light on a few such players who could be the breakout stars for their respective franchises.
#5. Marcus Stoinis (Delhi Capitals)
Marcus Stoinis belongs to that rare breed of players who can bat almost anywhere in the order and bowl handy spells - both at the start and the end of a T20 innings. He is also a gun fielder, and the characteristic Australian never-say-die spirit oozes out of him whenever he takes the field.
Debuting in 2015, Stoinis's career has been a roller-coaster ride with a fair share of ups and downs. His comeback to the side against New Zealand was a dream one. After claiming 3 important scalps, he came out to bat at number 7 and, despite batting out of position, he managed to string together a heroic innings of 146* - decorated with grit and determination.
He was crowned as Australia's ODI Cricketer of the year in 2018/19, and was an integral part of their 2019 World Cup campaign, before having to sit out due to a side strain.
The powerfully built yet underrated cricketer from Perth topped all run-scoring charts for Melbourne Stars in the 2018-19 Big Bash League, accumulating 533 runs at a brilliant average of 53.30, while also taking 14 wickets.
Earlier this year, Stoinis' knock of 147* off 79 deliveries shattered several batting records in the BBL. He is a gun player and could prove to be a vital cog for Delhi Capitals in the IPL.
#4. Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals)
Andrew Tye, the criminally-underrated pacer who specializes in the T20 facet of the game and has a penchant for big-hitting down the order, is a forgotten IPL hero and a T20 Cricket stalwart.
A late bloomer of sorts, he made his List-A debut for Western Australia in the 2013/14 season aged 26. Since then, however, his meteoric rise through the ranks has been exemplary. Only 3 years later, he was representing Australia against India at the MCG.
Brought into the lineup by Gujarat Lions to arrest a dwindling and utterly mediocre IPL campaign, Tye struck gold in his very first game. He picked up a hat-trick en route to a well-deserved fifer and finished with the exceptional figures of 5/17 on his debut.
His 'knuckle-ball' - too good for most batsmen - became the talk of the town. Tye triggered a bidding war between CSK, RR, and KXIP in the 2018 auction, finding a new home in Punjab for ₹7.2 crores. The man from Western Australia impressed immediately with 24 wickets and secured the purple cap.
Tye, without a doubt, has enough fire in his belly to come out with excellent returns for his respective franchise. This IPL could really pave the way for him to become a regular in the Australian T20 setup as well, if he plays to his potential.
#3 Alex Carey (Delhi Capitals)
In a world of superheroes, Alex Carey would have been the perfect exemplification of an underrated yet highly effective paladin with machismo. The 28-year-old from South Australia has always been an innate sportsman, be it his initial AFL boom or his cricketing exploits.
A terrific wicket-keeper batsman who is good enough to make the strongest of XIs in the world, Alex Carey wasn't always a wicket-keeper. He started off as a specialist batsman, only to add agile wicket-keeping skills to his arsenal later on.
Courtesy Australia's recurring problems with the wicket-keeper slot, Carey was called upon to the national side after a phenomenal 2015/16 season where he amassed more than 500 runs and 50 dismissals.
Carey not only provides a regular wicket-keeping option but his penchant for power striking as well as the strike-rotation and excellent running between the wickets make him a perfect back-up option for Delhi Capitals in the IPL given that Rishabh Pant is likely to feature more frequently.
#2 Josh Philippe (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Josh Philippe is a name that many cricketing fans expect to hear quite often in the coming years. He has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks of the Australian cricketing setup and is regarded as a future mainstay of Australia's limited-overs cricket.
The 23-year-old was highly impressive in BBL9 where he was the third highest run-getter with 487 runs at 37.46. To top it off, the young Philippe led his team Sydney Sixers to the ultimate glory in the final versus the Melbourne Stars, scoring 52 off 29 and was adjudged the man of the match.
The Perth-born cricketer has received his maiden call-up into the senior Australia side that will be travelling to England in the early phase of September for a limited-overs tour.
It would be unfair to deem Philippe's sale to the Royal Challengers Bangalore in this IPL auction anything less than a bargain.
At only ₹20 lakh, Virat Kohli and Co. have gotten hold of a street-smart young cricketer - an agile wicket-keeper and a dashing top-order batsman.
#1 Mitchell Santner (Chennai Super Kings)
Arguably the most overlooked and underrated star from this year's IPL auction, Mitchell Santner could run riot at the spin-friendly, dusty pitches in the UAE. Ranked number 6 in ICC T20 Bowler's Rankings, the left-arm spinner might well be the luckiest of persons to benefit from the shifting of the IPL from India to the Emirati dunes.
A like-for-like replacement for the New Zealand stalwart and veteran, Daniel Vettori, Santner made his maiden appearance for the Black Caps against England in 2015. He had played only 19 List-A games when his potential was identified and he was fast-tracked into the international setup.
Having a Test hundred against England also speaks volumes about his batting potential which has greatly improved recently. Despite not being the most muscular guy in the team, Santner can smash the ball a long way.
Santner’s prowess with the ball is highly suited to the hot and dusty conditions of the UAE. Averaging 17 in the IPL last year, Santner showed a glimpse of his ability and could well take the cricketing world by storm this time around.