Over the years, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has become a stage for uncapped players to fast track themselves into the reckoning for the Indian team. A number of current Indian stars have risen through their stellar performances in the IPL and it has proved to be a huge breeding ground for budding Indian talent.
There have been some players who, despite doing well in domestic cricket, haven't quite been able to dish out brilliant performances against top-quality opposition in the IPL. Despite the IPL 2021 being halted early, these players had more than their fair share of chances to prove their mettle.
3 players who had an IPL 2021 to forget
With the T20 World Cup to be played later this year, the IPL 2021 season was also a golden opportunity for some players to strengthen their claim to be a part of the Indian squad for the showpiece event. However, inconsistency plagued numerous players and it proved to be a season to forget.
On that note, let's take a look at the three uncapped players who had a disappointing IPL 2021 season:
#3 Rajat Patidar
The 27-year-old had smashed 221 runs in just five games in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at a brilliant average of 44.20 and an outstanding strike-rate of 153.47. He was destined to be RCB's X-factor at No.3 with skipper Virat Kohli deciding to open the batting.
However, Patidar did not have a great IPL 2021 season, scoring just 71 runs from 4 games at a poor strike-rate of 114.51. He struggled to change gears through the middle overs and it put immense pressure on the likes of Glenn Maxwell and AB de Villiers to rescue the game against Punjab Kings.
This was a golden opportunity for the 27-year-old to nail down his position in the RCB team and give himself an outside chance to be the next explosive batsman Team India are looking for. He may now have to wait a bit longer for the next opportunity to come his way.
#2 Nitish Rana
A prolific run-getter in domestic cricket for Delhi, Nitish Rana made his name in the IPL for the Mumbai Indians in their victorious 2017 IPL season. This led to him being snapped up by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) the very next year.
For the past three seasons, Rana has been a consistent run-getter for KKR at the No.3 position. But towards the end of IPL 2020, he was promoted to the opening spot and it proved to be a masterstroke as he scored three half-centuries in five innings.
KKR decided to persist with the opening combination of Rana and Shubman Gill for the IPL 2021 season. It looked to be the right decision as the 26-year-old started off with back-to-back half-centuries, taking the Orange Cap.
But instead of kicking on, Rana could only score just 65 runs more over the next five games. His relatively low strike-rate was costing KKR in the powerplay and Gill's failures weren't helping them either.
Had the IPL 2021 season continued, KKR might have dropped both openers for their next game. 201 runs from 7 matches was a disappointment for Rana as the IPL 2021 season had started for him in the best possible way. He might end up pondering upon the missed opportunities to convert his starts into big scores.
#1 Rahul Tewatia
Rahul Tewatia made his IPL debut for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) way back in the IPL 2014 season. Six years later, he was traded in from DC by RR with the aim of replacing outgoing spinning all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham.
The trade proved to be a masterstroke as Tewatia scored 255 runs with the bat and also picked up ten wickets. His brilliant all-round ability was recognized by national selectors as he received his maiden call-up to the Indian team for the T20I series against England.
Although Tewatia didn't make his international debut, he was looked up to as one of the more experienced players in RR for the IPL 2021 season. Consistent strong performances could well have earned him his place in the Indian squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.
But the 27-year-old had a poor IPL 2021 season, where he picked up just a couple of wickets in seven games. He wasn't impressive with the bat either, scoring just 86 runs at a poor average of 17.20.
With India not playing many T20Is before the showpiece event, Tewatia might need to wait quite some time to make his debut. If somehow the remainder of IPL 2021 resumes before the World Cup, only an extraordinary performance could keep the all-rounder's hopes alive.