The T20 version of cricket, especially the IPL, is mostly perceived as a batsman’s game. However, bowlers have proved time and again that they are not there to make up the numbers. Bringing in variations like knuckle balls and slower bouncers, they have given batsmen a lot to worry about.
Over the years in the IPL, bowlers have produced several memorable moments for fans. Kagiso Radaba’s yorker to clean up Andre Russell in IPL 2019 and Virat Kohli’s struggles against Shreyas Gopal’s variations instantly spring to mind.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that bowlers have played their part in making the IPL exciting. On that note, let's have a look at five bowlers who could have breakthrough IPL 2021 campaigns.
Five upcoming bowlers to watch out for in IPL 2021
Every year, the IPL churns out new talent in both the batting and bowling departments.
In this feature, we'll profile five young bowlers who could make a big impression in IPL 2021. Let's get started.
#1 Marco Jansen
There is a lot of excitement around lanky South African fast bowler Marco Jansen. The 6' 8" pacer, which was purchased by Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2021 auction at his base price of INR 20 lakh, can bowl real quick.
The 20-year-old picked up a five-wicket haul on his first-class debut for North West against Eastern Province in the 3-Day Provincial Cup. He now represents the Warriors.
The left-arm pacer has had an impressive start to his domestic career. In 14 first-class games, he has claimed 54 wickets at an average of 22.96.
Jansen has also featured in 13 List A games and 10 T20s, claiming 16 and six wickets, respectively. Moreover, he is also a handy lower-order batsman and has three half-centuries to his name in first-class cricket.
Jansen and his twin brother Duan made news when they bowled during an Indian net session when Virat Kohli’s men toured South Africa in 2018.
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani had revealed earlier that South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who represents the franchise in the IPL, helped them make a final call on Jansen.
De Kock told the MI management:
“You have to go for him; he is ready.”
#2 Chetan Sakariya
A 23-year-old left-arm seamer from Saurashtra, Chetan Sakariya, became the IPL’s latest rags-to-riches story when he was purchased by Rajasthan Royals at the IPL 2021 auction for INR 1.2 crore.
The son of a tempo driver, Sakariya lost his younger brother, who committed suicide in January when the former was playing in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
A net bowler with Royal Challengers Bangalore during IPL 2020 held in the UAE, Sakariya’s first big break came when he was chosen for the Saurashtra Under-19 side.
He did well, claiming 18 wickets in six Cooch Behar Trophy games, and was sent to the MRF Pace Foundation. There, he impressed none other than Glenn McGrath with his nippy pace.
When Jaydev Unadkat got injured during the 2018-19 Ranji Trophy season, Sakariya was handed his debut. He made a serious impact, claiming a five-wicket haul against Gujarat. The pacer finished the season with 29 wickets from eight games.
In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy held at the start of the year, Sakariya blew away Vidarbha with exceptional figures of 5 for 11, including a maiden, in his four overs. This stunning performance went a long way in helping him bag an IPL contract.
#3 Lukman Meriwala
Lukman Meriwala is not young, per se. He is 29. But considering Suryakumar Yadav made an impressive India debut at 30 and is being referred to as a youngster, Meriwala can definitely make this list.
Another left-arm medium-pacer, Meriwala, played a massive role in Baroda, making it to the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final at the start of the year. He was the second-leading wicket-taker in the tournament, with 15 wickets in eight matches at a strike rate of 12.2.
During the tournament, Meriwala wreaked havoc with figures of 5 for 8 in a match against Chhattisgarh; Baroda went on to win the game by nine wickets. He again impressed in the semis, taking 3 for 28 against Punjab to lift Baroda into the final.
Impressed by his efforts, Delhi Capitals picked Meriwala at the IPL 2021 auction at his base price of INR 20 lakh. At DC, Meriwala will get a chance to rub shoulders with the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma and Anrich Nortje.
Meriwala has an excellent T20 record. In 44 games, he has grabbed 72 wickets at a strike rate of 12.9 and an economy rate of 6.72. He made his first-class debut in 2017 and has taken 59 wickets in 17 games at an average of 20.77.
#4 R Sai Kishore
One more left-armer, but this time a spinner, R Sai Kishore, was one of the architects of Tamil Nadu’s impressive triumph in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
Sai Kishore claimed 2 for 16 in his four overs as Tamil Nadu overcame Rajasthan by seven wickets in the semi-final. Although he went wicketless in the final against Baroda, he conceded only 11 runs in four overs, which included a maiden, which stifled the opposition.
Sai Kishore ended his Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy campaign with eight wickets in as many games at a stupendous economy rate of 4.82. A year earlier, he was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, claiming 20 scalps in 12 games, as Tamil Nadu finished runners-up.
The 24-year-old was purchased by Chennai Super Kings at his base price of INR 20 lakh in the IPL auction last year but did not get a game. With CSK looking for a revamp following their disastrous IPL 2020 season, Sai Kishore could come into their scheme of things.
In 30 T20 games so far, Sai Kishore has 33 wickets to his name at a strike rate of 19 and an economy rate of 5.28. He has also featured in 17 first-class games and 25 List A matches, picking up 48 and 45 wickets, respectively.
#5 Kartik Tyagi
Impressed with his pace and exuberance, Rajasthan Royals picked Kartik Tyagi at the IPL 2020 auction for INR 1.3 crore.
He then went to the U-19 World Cup in South Africa and had a wonderful tournament. Although India were beaten in the final, Tyagi and leg-spinner, Ravi Bishnoi ended up as India’s two bowling stars.
Bowling with good pace, Tyagi unsettled batsmen with his swinging deliveries and yorkers. He claimed 11 wickets in six matches at an average of 13.9 and an economy rate of 3.45.
In IPL 2020, RR backed Tyagi and played him in as many as ten games. The youngster did not do a bad job, as he picked up nine wickets. However, he proved to be highly expensive, going at 9.61 runs per over, which hurt the Royals’ chances. Still only 20, Tyagi has massive scope for improvement.
Interestingly, he was named as one of the net bowlers for India’s tour of Australia. Tyagi earned praise from Ajinkya Rahane for his excellent attitude during the tour.
With Jofra Archer likely to miss out on the early part of IPL 2021 owing to injury, Tyagi could get another chance to prove his mettle against some of the finest T20 players in the world.