Extravagant bids, bidding wars and surprising picks — the IPL player auction has never failed to baffle spectators and pundits alike. There have been hits and there have been misses, as every team has looked to build the perfect group of players to win them the coveted trophy.
While millions are spent every year by each franchise, there have always been players — relatively unknown sometimes and out of favor at others — that have literally managed to come up from nowhere and built a name for themselves in the international circuit. Sportwalk takes a look at five such players who have used the Indian Premier League to get the ball rolling.
Having made his international debut back in 1999, the journey has been rather difficult for this lanky pacer from Delhi. Once considered as a major cog in the wheel for his pace and consistency, injuries pegged him back at almost stage of his career.
He has played for five different sides in the IPL but it wasn’t until the 2015 edition of the tournament that Nehra truly found his place. Led by Indian Cricket’s most successful captain, he flourished as a frontline bowler for the now-defunct Chennai Super Kings, picking 22 wickets with an economy of just over seven runs per over. His performance earned him a recall to the Indian side and has since led the India bowling attack in the shortest format of the game.
When Rajasthan Royals won the first edition of the IPL in 2008 with relatively unknown players, much was talked about the spectacular return of Shane Watson. A naturally gifted all-rounder, Watson had lost his place in the Australian squad because of consistent injury concerns.
Playing under the leadership of former teammate Shane Warne, he made a mark with both the bat and the ball, eventually earning himself the player of the tournament award. With 472 runs and 17 wickets under his belt, he was recalled to the Australian squad as an opener, replacing the injured Matthew Hayden and the rest, as they say, is history.
For a spinner from West Indies to have the kind of impact that Sunil Narine has had, was unprecedented. Picked by the Kolkata Knight Riders after good performances for his home side in the Champions League T20, it was a classic case of confusion among the opposition batsmen every time he came in to bowl.
24 wickets in the tournament earned him the purple cap and his team the trophy as he was drafted into the national side that would go on to win the World T20, their first major silverware since their Champions Trophy triumph in 2006. Narine has been instrumental to the KKR side and despite a change in action after being called by the ICC, his stature in the T20 circuit across the world remains unscathed.
Ever since the retirement of spin greats Warne and Muralitharan, there hardly has been a spinner with the success rate of Ravichandran Ashwin. It is interesting to note that Ashwin had had an impressive domestic record before playing in the IPL, but it was his performance in the 2010 edition of the tournament that got him into the Indian selector’s reckoning.
His variations and the ability to bowl in the power play overs made him a potent weapon in the shorter formats. This paved way to his limited overs debut soon after, and since then, has emerged as one of the top spinners in the international circuit.
There may be several success stories to come out of the IPL in the future, but none would make for a read as interesting as that of Christopher Henry Gayle. He debuted in the tournament for Kolkata Knight Riders but largely made no significant impact, owing to injuries and international commitment.
In 2011, having been left out of the national side due to inconsistency and initially unsold at the player auction, he was brought as a replacement to Dirk Nannes in the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad. He made immediate impact, scoring a breathtaking century against his former team. Since then, Gayle has consistently been among the runs and has managed to a plethora of contracts in all major T20 leagues around the world.