Before the start of this IPL season, we mentioned five Indian players who would look to impress this season in order to stake a claim back in the national side. With half the campaign now over, we look at how these players have performed so far:
How Have India’s Outcasts Performed In This IPL Season?
Harbhajan, the ever present Mumbai Indians spinner, has had a very average season in terms of wickets. In seven games so far, he has picked up only four scalps at an average of 38.25. In four of those seven games, Singh has been wicketless. What has been impressive, however, is his economy rate.
The off-spinner has gone at just 5.88 runs per over this season and, as many believe, has done justice to his role of a containing bowler rather than a wicket taking one. Harbhajan has reached the landmark of becoming only the third Indian bowler to take 200 T20 wickets when he dismissed Steven Smith in Mumbai’s defeat to Pune. The wily off-spinner has impressed in patches, and with half a season yet to come, he will look to improve his wickets column.
Amongst this list, there was no one who needed as strong a season as Suresh Raina. A limited overs specialist, Raina has been an ever present in the Indian setup for a long time before losing his place over a year ago. He has not disappointed and has proved yet again why he is the highest run getter in IPL history and why this is his den.
In a disappointing season so far for Gujarat Lions, the skipper has stood up tall, along with Brendon McCullum and Dinesh Karthik. The Uttar Pradesh skipper is third on the Orange Cap list with 275 runs in seven games at an average of 55.00 and a strike rate of 146.27 with two fifties – both against the Kolkata Knight Riders. His 84 against that opposition took his team to a victory – only their second in seven games so far. With half a season to go, expect Raina to cross the 500 run mark again in his IPL career and make a case for his selection for the forthcoming Champions Trophy.
In a team where overseas players have been used in the batting department, the Kings XI Punjab have relied solely on their Indian bowlers. So a lot of that trust was put in Mohit Sharma, who is currently the team’s most expensive bowler.
For a player who has made his mark previously in the IPL, this has been a poor season. In seven games this season, Mohit has only picked five wickets at 45.40, with an economy of 8.90. For a bowler expected to pick up wickets as he opens the bowling and performs at the death, these are disappointing figures.
Kings XI Punjab have won three out of their seven games and if they are to reach the playoffs, they will need Mohit Sharma to turn his form around.
In a season where Kolkata Knight Riders’ top order has fired on all cylinders, Yusuf Pathan has not had much of a chance to make an impact. Yet when Kolkata was in trouble against the Delhi Daredevils, Pathan scored a quickfire 59 to help his side win.
Kolkata’s strong performances with the ball have meant that the Baroda all-rounder has bowled just two overs this season. He has scored 105 runs at 35.00, with a strike rate of 136.36. And with the Knight Riders firmly in contention to reach the playoffs, they will need the services of Yusuf Pathan to help reach the latter stages.
When Ishant Sharma was brought in as a replacement for the injured Kings XI Punjab skipper Murali Vijay, there were hopes that he would make this opportunity count. He certainly has not. In his three games this season, Ishant has not picked up a single wicket and has gone for an average of 9.7 runs per over.
While he has been an ever-present in the Indian Test squad, his limited overs prospects have been weak and this tournament has not helped those prospects in any way.