From entering the cricket world as an unknown entity to becoming a household name, Indian Premier League (IPL) has come a long way over the last 12 years.
The IPL is among the major tournaments in the annual cricket calendar as stars from across the globe arrive in India and add glamour to the Twenty20 tournament.
From the inaugural season to the 12th season that was held last year, India and overseas stars have dominated the narrative. From Sachin Tendukar, Shane Warne, Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni to Rohit Sharma, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, the IPL has banked on its stars to become one of the popular sporting leagues across the globe.
Nonetheless, there have been some unsung heroes who have contributed to the success of the league and their respective franchises over the years.
Indiatoday.in looks at 5 such players who were underrated when it came to their impact on the IPL.
Subramaniam Badrinath made his India debut as early as 2008 in Sri Lanka but the Tamil Nadu batsman’s limited-overs career did not take off as expected. The right-handed batsman played 2 Tests for India after making his debut in the longest format of the game in 2010.
However, at Chennai Super Kings, Subramaniam Badrinath excelled in his role as a middle-order batsman. Badrinath understood his limitations and modeled his game around it brilliantly that he served a star-studded CSK team for 6 years from 2008 to 2013.
Badrinath managed 1441,including 11 fifties, runs in 85 matches at a healthy average of 30.65. After being part of CSK’s run to the final in the inaugural edition of the IPL, Badrinath was part of CSK’s title winning sides in 2010 and 2011.
Badrinath was CSK’s crisis man. He was the bridge between an explosive top-order and a star-studded lower-middle order that had the likes of MS Dhoni.
Badrinath was used as a floater as well as Dhoni banked on him to rescue the team whenever they were in trouble.
Not to forget his efforts on the field!
Courtesy by BCCi
Rajat Bhati made a mark in IPL 2010 for Delhi Daredevils, showcasing his all-round abilities. However, it was under Gautam Gambhir at Kolkata Knight Riders that Bhatia raised his game and delivered match-winning performances.
Bhatia was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders side that went on to win the IPL in 2012. With his accurate slow medium pacers, Bhatia troubled the opposition batsmen and went on to pick 13 wickets to finish inside the top 20.
Bhatia continued to serve Kokata Knight Riders for one more season before he was bought by Delhi Daredevils in 2014 for Rs 1.7 crore. Bhatia picked up 12 wickets on his return to the Delhi franchise but was unable to repeat his performances for Rising Pune Supergiant who bought him in 2016.
Rajat Bhatia played 95 matches in the IPL and picked up 71 wickets at an average of 28.45. His economy rate of 7.40 made him a handy bowler during the middle overs.
Rajasthan Royals’ early success in the IPL can’t be spoken about without the contributions of Siddharth Trivedi. Trivedi picked up 13 wickets in the inaugural season of IPL as he played a crucial role under Shane Warne in their title-winning campaign.
Trivedi proved to be one of the most reliable fast bowlers for Rajasthan Royals between 2008 and 2013 as he picked up 65 wickets in 76 matches at an impresive average of less than 30. He was banned by the BCCI in 2013 for failure to report corruption approaches in 2013.
Courtesy by BCCi
Dhawal Kulkarni, the right-arm medium pacer bowler from Mumbai, has played for 3 different franchises over the years. He spent 6 years with Mumbai Indians and was part of their winning side in 2013. Kulkarni picked up 8 wickets after making use of limited opportunities he got in the star-studded line-up.
Dhawal Kulkarni’s best performance came in the IPL when he played for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions in 2016. Kulkarni finished among the top 5 in the bowling charts, after picking up 18 wickets in 14 matches which included a 4-wicket haul.
Kulkarni was bought by Rajasthan Royals in 2018 as the former champions retained him with the RTM card.
Shreyas Gopal spent three seasons between 2014 and 2016 at Mumbai Indians where he had to make do with limited opportunities. However, a turnaround in his fortunes came when he was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018.
The Karnataka leg-spinner went on to prove his worth by picking up 11 wickets in his maiden stint with the Royals. IPL 2019 proved to be a major highlight in his career as he finished 4th on the bowling charts with 20 wickets at a staggering average of 17.35.
Against Royal Challengers Bangalore at his home ground, Gopal flaunted his leg-spin skills by removing the trio of Marcus Stoinis, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli to pick up a dream hat-trick.
Shreyas Gopal may have been an underrated spinner so far in the IPL but things are certainly going to change for this crafty leggie.