Over the past 13 editions of the IPL, there have been some wonderful stories of players who have emerged from relative obscurity to become stars for their respective teams. Young players look at the tournament as an opportunity not just to try and catch the eye of the selectors. But, also test themselves against international stars from India as well as overseas. The 2021 edition of the IPL is no different, with a barrage of hitherto unknown talent set to take to the field. SportzPoint.com takes a look at those seven players, who can became the stars of IPL 2021.
Nathan Ellis | Punjab Kings
Country : Australia
Playing role : Pace Bowler
The Tasmanian seamer has a gift of making grand first impressions. He produced a six-for on his Sheffield Shield debut, a five-for on Marsh Cup debut, before plucking a hat-trick in his first game for Australia in a T20 International against Bangladesh.
But Ellis had to work really hard to reach those platforms. For a long time, he thought it was the lack of thundering pace that stood between him. And also recognition in domestic cricket, for a while he thought it was his height that mattered He even deliberated on quitting cricket and taking up a full-time accounting job. But somehow, he persisted with cricket, even if it was difficult to make ends meet. Along with part-time jobs as a labourer in Hobart, as a furniture removalist. And then as a teacher’s help in a school for boys with learning difficulties. He will join Punjab Kings for the IPL 2021 in UAE.
It was then that Tasmania coach Adam Griffith spotted him during a club game and invited him for trials. He was impressed by Ellis’ supple wrists and the ability to swing the Kookaburra ball on hard, dead tracks of Australia. He added a pinpoint yorker and a cleverly-disguised back-of-the-hand slower ball. Moreover, he shed his pace-height inferiority complex and began his real cricketing journey.
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George Garton | Royal Challengers Bangalore
Country : England
Playing role : Bowling all-rounder
A side-on freeze-frame of his follow-through resembles that of South Africa’s left-arm wrist-spinner Paul Adams. His body almost hugging the ground in the physical intensity of the action, his arms in a whirl. But Garton’s anything but a spinner, someone who consistently clocks above 90mph from an explosive leap from a relatively short run-up. He was earmarked for Test cricket, and picked as a standby for the Ashes 2017-18. But for a side strain, he picked when lifting his cricket kit from the airport carousel. He lost two years of progression but returned revitalised and with an eye on franchise cricket.
Garton joined the T10 league, where he emerged as the highest wicket-taker. He threw his hat in the Hundred ring, where too he was in irrepressible form. With propelling Southern Brave to the title with his 10 wickets. While he has not lost any of his speed and the rare gift to seam the ball back into the right-hander. However, the Sussex man has added more strings to his bow, the veritable T20 staple like slow bouncers and cutters. But it’s pace that thrills him, and it’s the pace that could be his USP on the dead tracks of the UAE. RCB will definitely want him to be in there playing XI for IPL 2021.
Tim David | Royal Challengers Bangalore
Country : Singapore
Playing role : All-rounder
He’s a hot T20 franchise property, but had to trek a circuitous route to fulfill his cricketing ambitions. Repeatedly snubbed by his home state, Western Australia, David chose to play for the country of his birth, Singapore. He became a spontaneous superstar with his big-hitting prowess, which didn’t escape the eyes of the Big Bash League scouts. So before playing a single first-class or List A game, David fetched a Perth Scorchers contract. Also more lucrative deals followed; Lahore Qalandars, St. Lucia Kings, Hobart Hurricanes, Southern Brave (the Hundred champions), and now Royal Challengers Bangalore. In between, he bargained a limited-overs cricket deal with Surrey.
He embodies all the virtues the shortest format requires. The knack to tee off from the get-go, the ability to sustain momentum which he does with thunderous blows down the ground. And a strong and accurate throwing arm. David affected the game-changing run-out of Liam Livingstone in the Hundred final. He boasts a T20 strike rate of 154 in 61 games and an average of 36. Which means he hits well and scores consistently.
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Wanindu Hasaranga | Royal Challengers Bangalore
Country : Sri Lanka
Playing role : Spin bowling all-rounder
When Hasaranga was growing up, he wanted to turn the ball as precociously as his idol Muttiah Muralitharan. But he chose leg-spin and evolved into a modern-day, shorter-format exponent. A leg-spinner in the Rashid Khan mould, swapping flight and turn for flatness, control, skid and variations. Also confounding and frustrating batsmen with change of angles, pace and release points. The methods are working, as he is second to Tabraiz Shamsi in the ICC T20 bowlers’ rankings. Like Rashid, Hasaranga can open the bowling, apply the squeeze in the middle overs and stifle batsmen at the death. With a T20 economy rate of 6.39 and an average of 15, it’s a mystery why he had gone unsold in the auction. It took his three-wicket burst against India in July to catch the eyes of the franchise. And there apparently was a four-way tussle to avail his services.
His utility is swelling of late, he has evolved into Sri Lanka’s finisher with both bat and ball. Moreover, he was filling the Thisara Perera role with aplomb. He speaks wisdom too: “Finishers are the ones with long careers and I want to be one among them.” No bigger window for that than the next two months. Wanindu Hasaranga will be a trump card for the RCB team in the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
Ben Dwarshuis | Delhi Capitals
Country : Australia
Playing role : Seamer
A couple of commentators in the BBL were tongue-twisting to correctly pronounce his Dutch surname. To them, he offered a simple solution: “They’re all legends so they can say it any way they want!” Earlier, it was his surname that caught the attention, then his moustaches, and now it’s his bowling that’s garnering admiration. However, Delhi Capitals keeps him as a replacement of Chris Woakes for IPL 2021.
Not an express bowler, he is most reputed for his accuracy and cleverness, his yorker and cutters, the innate ability to second-guess a batsman’s mind, serenity under duress, and wicket-taking knack. Only Daniel Sams has taken more wickets than Dwarshuis over the past three BBL seasons. And only Sams has taken more wickets at the death, and his economy rate of 6.62 in the Powerplays is the best during that period. Moreover all of these, he does with a couple of screws and wires wrapped around his back after a succession of stress injuries. Like the other Dutch-Australian cricketer, Dirk Nannes, he is deliberating to turn up for the country of his origin, if the wait gets longer for an Australia cap.
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Glenn Philips | Rajasthan Royals
Country : New Zealand
Playing role : Wicket-Keeper batsman
Daniel Vettori calls him a total cricketer. A post-modern stroke-maker, a polished gloveman, an acrobatic slip-fielder and an efficient off-spinner who could bowl flat and skid the ball off the surface, a skill both his franchise and country would look to harness over the coming months in the UAE. But it’s Phillips’ batsmanship that is expected to make headlines. He has arrived in the desert with a spring of runs. In a Caribbean Premier League match, he cuffed nine sixes (and two fours) on his way to an unbeaten 80 from just 39 balls. His boundary-hitting instinct is immense — every fifth ball he faces is struck for a six or four in T20 cricket, in which he brandishes a strike rate of 144.
Now that Jos Buttler is unavailable for this leg, Phillips could get an extended opportunity to set the six-hitting chart on fire. But he wants to create his own legacy. “The team has brought me in to do whatever role they need me to play, so it’s not really like I’m filling in Jos’ shoes, I’m probably filling in my own shoes and looking to create a legacy of my own rather than being a replacement.” And part of that legacy-making will include him turning his arm over.
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Liam Livingstone | Rajasthan Royals
Country : England
Playing role : Batting all-rounder
He could bowl both leg-breaks and off-breaks, depending on whether the batsman is left or right-handed. But, it’s his destructive batting that has made Livingstone a coveted franchise-cricket entity. He first hit the headlines at 21, days after dropping out of university, saying he cannot focus on academics because of cricket. However, he climbed the rungs of the game swiftly, eventually making his England debut last year. Despite their riches of all-round quality in the shorter formats.
Livingstone’s clean, straight-hitting expertise has many stalwarts in thrall. Andy Flower is convinced that he’s the hardest hitter of the cricket ball he had ever seen. His Lancashire teammate James Anderson calls him a frightening hitter. What could make him even more precious in the UAE is his ability to demolish spin, which he displayed by smacking back-to-back hundreds on a Lions tour to Sri Lanka a couple of years ago.