To say that the Indian Super League (ISL) has been beneficial to Indian football would be an understatement. The kind of talent that has been unearthed so far has been nothing short of phenomenal.
The likes of Sandesh Jhingan, Anirudh Thapa and several others have gone on to make their mark on the Indian team, courtesy of their discoveries in the ISL.
The upcoming edition of the tournament is set to be a defining one. Not just in the narrative of Indian football as we know it, but also in what many are calling the ‘new normal’.
While the tournament is set to be played behind closed doors, eyeballs will be focused on a few players who could make an impact in the league. That said, let’s take a look at a few players who could impress in the 2020/21 edition of the ISL.
1) Pratik Chaudhuri (Bengaluru FC)
In recent times, the Bengaluru FC defensive unit has taken somewhat of a beating. The previous season witnessed a few issues in the backline with veteran Albert Serran being dropped and Rahul Bheke moving into a rather unusual center-back position.
While this worked for a while, the cracks began to show, leading to the Blues' ouster in the semifinal against ATK.
The signing of Pratik Chaudhuri from Mumbai City FC is a show of intent from Carles Cuadrat. Having played in the ISL for a bevvy of clubs over the years, the 30-year-old brings in much-needed experience in the backline for the Blues.
He will be expected to partner with Juanan at center-back with Rahul Bheke moving back to his preferred right-back position. It remains to be seen whether Chaudhuri can live up to the expectations placed upon him this ISseason.
2) Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin FC)
Among the youngsters who play in the ISL, not many have shown the promise 22-year old Anirudh Thapa has shown.
Having made a name for himself with Chennaiyin FC, Thapa earned a call-up to the Indian national team a few months prior to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, thus establishing his credentials as a midfield stalwart.
With the ability to play across all positions in midfield, Thapa will be expected to provide leadership in the middle of the park, something that has been lacking in recent times. Another thing that will be expected from him are goals, something he has not managed to do in the recent past.