The Indian Premier League (IPL) has largely become a batsman's game, and quality T20 bowlers who can regularly pick up wickets aren't easy to come by these days.
In recognition of bowlers who do manage to provide frequent breakthroughs, the IPL announced the Purple Cap award ahead of the inaugural season. Interestingly, the accolade has largely been dominated by pace and only two spinners have claimed it - Pragyan Ojha (2009) and Imran Tahir (2018).
Last year, Delhi Capitals pacer Kagiso Rabada won the Purple Cap with 30 wickets - the second-highest tally in a season after Dwayne Bravo in 2013 (32 wickets). Apart from the usual suspects like Rabada, we name 5 dark horses who could win the Purple Cap in IPL 2021.
#5 Rahul Chahar - Mumbai Indians
As mentioned above, the Purple Cap hasn't frequented the heads of spinners. But Rahul Chahar, who will play 5 matches in Chennai and 4 matches in Ahmedabad in IPL 2021, could be a genuine contender for the award.
The addition of veteran leg-spinner Piyush Chawla to the Mumbai Indians squad has cast a slight doubt over Chahar's place in the XI. But competition will only elevate the game of the youngster, who's certain to be given the first opportunity for MI in IPL 2021.
Chahar played a couple of T20Is for India recently and is in and around the national squad. With the T20 World Cup on the horizon and India's other wrist-spinners struggling, he'll eye a strong IPL season - ideally one in which he contends for the Purple Cap.
#4 Mohammed Siraj - Royal Challengers Bangalore
Mohammed Siraj doesn't have a great T20 record, but his game has improved by leaps and bounds over the last year or so. International experience seems to have given the Hyderabad native a renewed sense of confidence, and he's set to one of the Royal Challengers Bangalore's most important players in IPL 2021.
Expected to take the new ball for RCB this year, Siraj could build upon the few strong performances he put in during the previous campaign. With support in the form of INR 15-crore signing Kyle Jamieson and Navdeep Saini, he could scalp a bagful of wickets in IPL 2021.
Always a wicket-taking bowler, Siraj could seriously make a run to the top of the Purple Cap charts in IPL 2021.