IPL heroes yet to make the Indian national team
For all the controversies and criticisms surrounding the Indian Premier League, it does have to its credit the discovery of a myriad of talents. Young players who would earlier have to go through the red tape of the selection committee and the long drawn out selection procedures for just eleven prestigious spots, have had their chances to showcase their talents exponentially increase. For young, budding cricketers, the IPL provides a highway to glory – a platform to test their mettle against the best in the business, an opportunity to learn the trade from the masters themselves. Those who catch the eye of the selectors earn the honour of representing their country, besides their share of the limelight.
There have been many names that have cut in to the national sides via this route. Rahul Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan are players who owe their national call-ups in no small measure to the IPL. But there have been those who have, for some reason, escaped the eyes of selectors despite eye-catching performances for their clubs. So here’s a look at five players who have not been rewarded with a place in the national side despite making an impact in the IPL.
At number one on the list is the opener from Kings XI Punjab. A little-known name before his heroics in the IPL for the Punjab side, Valthaty shot to fame with a century that single-handedly won the Kings XI their game against the then-defending champions, Chennai Super Kings. As he continued making headlines for the rest of the tournament with his bat as well as the ball, a lot was expected from the Punjab hero. But he disappeared from the limelight just as quickly as he had made his way into it. Never called up to India’s senior squad and his performances in first class cricket a far cry from his IPL form, his flashes of brilliance were lost into oblivion, not deemed worthy of an international cap by the selectors, not until now anyway.
An IPL hero in his own right, Bisla won the final of IPL 2012 for the Kolkata Knight Riders with a blistering 89 in just 48 balls against CSK – a fitting end to a remarkable tournament for the young player. But with Dhoni sealing his spot in the national side, there was little Bisla could do as a wicket-keeper batsman other than await his chances, which he did… and still does.
A young, budding right-arm medium pacer whose contributions in the 2009 season of the IPL helped the Deccan Chargers win the tournament, Harmeet Singh came into the IPL with little first-class experience. His semi-final and final performance that year stood out more than anything else, and India seemed to have unearthed a gem. However, a couple of outstanding seasons didn’t win him his national debut, and he has since moved on to Kings XI Punjab, and the brilliance he produced for the Chargers seem more like memories from the past.
One of the more consistent players on this list, Suman has repeatedly performed well in the IPL, first for the Deccan Chargers and then for Mumbai Indians, whom he signed for in 2011. With 15 wickets to his credit in the tournament as well, he is an able all-rounder. A well-known player in Hyderabad with a notable batting style and a decent first-class record, it is surprising how, or why he has not been called up to the national team.
An all-rounder with an outstanding batting average in both first-class cricket as well as the IPL, the wicket-keeper batsman has been unfortunate enough to be playing in the era of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Saurav Ganguly. During his best years, he was kept out of the national team by these legends of Indian cricket, and despite having made a favourable impression with the Pune Warriors India, he has not been handed his debut chance for Team India, and at 34 one must wonder if there is to be one in the future.