The Most Valuable Player in IPL is one of the most tightly contested accolades in the tournament, but it is also a bit skewed. All-rounders are usually the runaway winners of the MVP award, with specialist batsmen and bowlers rarely achieving similar points totals.
Last year, Jofra Archer was the recipient of the MVP award, as much for his lusty hitting lower down the order as for his wicket-taking threat. Over the years, world-class T20 all-rounders like Shane Watson, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell have claimed the prize on more than one occasion.
In this article, we name one underrated all-rounder from each team who could contend for the MVP award in IPL 2021.
#8 Rajasthan Royals - Shivam Dube
Shivam Dube's IPL 2020 campaign got off to a good start, but his form slowly waned as the season progressed. He wasn't used as much with the ball and struggled to get going on slow pitches in the UAE, finally being dropped altogether from the Royal Challengers Bangalore playing XI.
A move to the Rajasthan Royals could be perfect for Dube to resuscitate his career and make a return to the Indian team. The all-rounder will have an increased role in the absence of Jofra Archer, with Ben Stokes unlikely to bowl frequently this year.
We've seen RR promote the careers of many young Indian players, and Dube could be another name on that list at the conclusion of IPL 2021.
#7 Punjab Kings - Moises Henriques
The only recognised all-rounder on the Punjab Kings roster, Moises Henriques will have an important role to play for the team in IPL 2021. The Aussie must contribute in both departments for KL Rahul's side, who are rather top-heavy and don't have too many world-class T20 bowlers capable of making the playing XI.
Henriques has a ton of experience, having played in international franchise leagues for a number of years now. He'll need every bit of that experience as he attempts to play the finisher's role and chip in with a few overs for PBKS in IPL 2021.
We could see Henriques, who has a very underrated IPL record, make a mark on this edition of the league.
#6 Royal Challengers Bangalore - Daniel Christian
Another Aussie veteran, Dan Christian was a late acquisition by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL 2021 auction. The all-rounder was initially not expected to be part of the team's XI this year, but the withdrawal of Josh Philippe has all but ensured he'll be a key component.
Christian was in superb form for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League, and he could carry that momentum in IPL 2021. The all-rounder's reading of the game and finishing abilities will be invaluable to RCB in this IPL, along with his handy medium-pace.
Christian might be overshadowed by the likes of Kyle Jamieson and Washington Sundar in the RCB all-rounders department, but he may outshine them all.
#5 Kolkata Knight Riders - Sunil Narine
One of the greatest T20 all-rounders the game of cricket has ever seen isn't exactly 'underrated'. But many sections of the cricketing fraternity believe that Sunil Narine is past his prime, and have called for the Kolkata Knight Riders to field Shakib Al Hasan instead.
However, KKR are likely to back their overseas legend despite his troubles with action and form. And Narine could repay their faith by putting on a vintage season.
Last year, we saw Narine being used as an opener before being moved into the middle order as a floater. And that role really seemed to free him up as he scored his first fifty of the season in the middle order. This, combined with the fact that he bowled at the death for KKR in IPL 2020, makes him a dark horse for the MVP award.