IPL 2021: Top 5 little known players to watch out for | Cricket News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Over the years the IPL has provided a huge platform for little known players to shine, propelling them to superstardom and helping them make their international debuts. A number of cricketers have gone on to make a mark for themselves in international cricket after impressing the selectors in the IPL.
IPL 2021 is also expected to provide a similar launchpad. Ahead of the 14th season of the IPL, TimesofIndia.com takes a look at five little known players who were bought at the last layer auction and who have the talent and the ability to shine for their respective franchises:
Riley Meredith (Fast bowler from Australia) – Bought by Punjab Kings for Rs 8 Crore – Base price was Rs 40 lakh
Australian right arm fast bowler Riley Meredith made headlines when he was bought by Punjab Kings for a whopping Rs 8 Crore at the last IPL player auction. The 24 year old had a base price of Rs 40 lakh. The reason Punjab spent that kind of money on him is because he can bowl at 150kmph plus. The Punjab scouts would have liked what they saw of Meredith in the 2020-21 Big Bash League, where he picked up 16 wickets in 13 games and terrorised batsmen with his sheer pace. The price tag of Rs 8 Crore for Meredith in fact also made him the most expensive uncapped foreigner bought at the auction. Meredith, who is from Hobart in Tasmania and represents the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash has since then gone on to make his international debut and played 3 T20Is for Australia in their T20I series vs New Zealand in March this year. Meredith took 4 wickets in those 3 games, with best figures of 2/24. Meredith will be joining forces with his compatriot Jhye Richardson, who was bought for Rs 14 Crore by Punjab, making him the second most expensive bowler ever bought at an IPL auction after Pat Cummins (Rs 15.5 Cr to KKR in 2020) and Mohammed Shami in what looks like a rather potent fast bowling attack for Punjab. Meredith though will have to be very careful on the batting friendly pitches of India. If he strays, with his pace he could go for quite a few

Shahrukh Khan (Batsman from India) – Bought by Punjab Kings for Rs 5.25 Crore – Base price was Rs 20 lakh
He shares his name with a Bollywood superstar and Tamil Nadu batsman Shahrukh Khan will be hoping that his maiden season of the IPL can catapult him to superstardom as well. The burly right handed batsman had a base price of Rs 20 lakh in the last IPL player auction and was picked up by the Punjab Kings for Rs 5.25 Crore – an indication that their scouts had flagged him as a potential game changer. Delhi Capitals and RCB were also part of the bidding war for Shahrukh. Boasting an imposing physique Shahrukh is a big hitter who can really clobber the ball. It’s no surprise then that recently Punjab Kings Head coach Anil Kumble compared Shahrukh with Kieron Pollard, saying that the uncapped Indian batsman reminds him a little of the West Indian power hitter. Shahrukh too is a power hitter and bats low down the order at number 6 or 7. He had a very good run in the last Mushtaq Ali Trophy and that’s where the scouts would have really taken a keen interest in him. In the quarter final vs Himachal Pradesh Tamil Nadu were down to 66/5, chasing 136 to win. Shahrukh bludgeoned an unbeaten 40 off just 19 deliveries to help Tamil Nadu pull off a 5 wicket win. Tamil Nadu went on to win the title. In the final he made an unbeaten 18 off 7 balls. Some people were surprised he wasn’t picked by an IPL team last season, but this time he has got his chance to shine

Mohammed Azharuddeen (Wicket-keeper batsman from India) – Bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 20 lakh – Base price was Rs 20 lakh
Another talented young Indian prospect who will feature in the IPL for the first time this season is Mohammed Azharuddeen. The wicket-keeper batsman from Kerala made headlines when he smashed a 37 ball century vs Mumbai in the last edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. The eventual knock was a 54 ball 137*, his highest domestic score. In the tournament, he ended with 214 runs in 5 innings. A big fan of Virat Kohli, Azharuddeen will get the chance to share the dressing room with his idol this season. The 27 year old has so far played 24 T20 matches in domestic cricket, scoring 451 runs at an average of 22.5. While he might find it tough to make the playing XI cut in the initial part of the season, Shahrukh will be itching to show the world what he can do on the biggest T20 franchise cricket platform of them all.

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Liam Livingstone (Batsman from England) – Bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 75 lakh – Base price was Rs 75 lakh
Indian fans will remember Liam Livingstone from the recently concluded ODI series vs England, which India won 2-1. The 27 year old batsman played two matches, scoring 63 runs, with a highest score of 36. Livingstone was picked up at the last player auction by the Rajasthan Royals for his base price of Rs 75 lakh. Many would say that was quite a steal, considering he is part of the national reckoning for the English limited overs teams and has played two ODIs and as many T20Is so far. Livingstone, who can also bowl part time spin hasn’t really managed to set the stage on fire in T20 international cricket yet, with just 16 runs in the 2 international games he has played so far, which incidentally were back in 2017 vs South Africa. But he is coming off some decent form in the Big Bash where he plays for the Perth Scorchers as an opener. He made his Big Bash debut in 2019 and since then has played 28 matches, scoring 851 runs, with a highest score of 79 and a strike rate of over 138. He has also smashed 55 sixes in his Big Bash career so far. The Royals will be hoping Livingstone who has big match pedigree, having just played the Big Bash final, where the Scorchers lost to the Sydney Sixers by 27 runs, will add more fire-power to their arsenal.

Chetan Sakariya (Medium pacer from India) – Bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 1.20 Crore – Base price was Rs 20 lakh
Left arm uncapped medium pacer from Saurashtra, Chetan Sakariya, made headlines after the last IPL auction when the Rajasthan Royals decided to spend as much as Rs 1.2 Crore to acquire his services. The Royals were involved in an intense bidding war with RCB to buy Sakariya. That wasn’t surprising because Sakariya was part of the RCB set up in the UAE last season, as a net bowler. The 23 year old has so far played 16 domestic T20 matches and taken 28 wickets at an economy rate of 7.08. Hailing from a modest background, Sakariya had a good run in the last edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he took 12 wickets in 5 matches, finishing as the sixth highest wicket-taker in the season. He made headlines when he claimed excellent figures of 5/11 vs Vidarbha. His economy rate of 4.90 was exceptional. He was also second on the list of most dot balls bowled in the T20 tournament with 65. Sakariya, like all strike bowlers, bowls both in the initial overs and the death overs. He has also had a 5 month stint at the MRF Pace Academy, working on his action and fitness. Sakariya made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2018 vs Gujarat and took a five-for in the first innings. He finished with 29 wickets on 8 matches in his debut Ranji season. At the RCB nets in 2020, Sakariya picked up tips from the likes of Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav. It will be very interesting to see if Sakariya joins the long list of medium pacers who are knocking on the doors of national selection. IPL 2021 will give him the perfect platform to do that

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