When IPL was launched first up, nobody was quite sure how successful the tournament was going to be. It was a kind of an experiment for the BCCI, but the way the tournament panned out in the very first season, it paved the way for a long journey.
A lot of credit for that goes to the players who put on exemplary performances in the first season and lit up the tournament. Here are the 5 biggest stars of the first season of the IPL –
#1 Shaun Marsh:
Shaun Marsh, who came into the IPL as an unknown player, grabbed the eyeballs around the world with his range of stroke-play. He was one of the reasons why Kings XI Punjab managed to qualify for the playoffs in IPL 2008.
Marsh scored 616 runs in 11 games that he played for Punjab at an average of 68.44 and a strike rate of 139.68. He ended up winning the first-ever orange cap in the IPL.
#2 Sanath Jayasuriya:
Sanath Jayasuriya was easily past his prime when IPL began, but he still showed his hitting prowess in the tournament playing for Mumbai Indians. Jayasuriya finished as the second highest run-scorer in IPL 2008, behind Shaun Marsh.
The former Sri Lankan captain scored 514 runs in 14 games for Mumbai Indians at a strike rate of 166.34. He also scored a hundred in the first edition of the IPL.
#3 Shane Watson:
Shane Watson was the man of the tournament in IPL 2008 as he made a huge difference for his team Rajasthan Royals, both with bat and ball.
Watson scored 472 runs in 15 games and then grabbed 15 wickets with the ball as well. The veteran Australian all-rounder was the main hero of the title triumph of Rajasthan Royals.
Watson’s white ball international career took off after IPL 2008 as he made a comeback to the Australian ODI team and went on to win the Champions Trophy a year later.
#4 Sohail Tanvir:
Sohail Tanvir was the highest wicket-taker in the inaugural IPL season. The Pakistani southpaw registered the figures of 6 for 14 in one of the games of IPL 2008 and it remained the best bowling figures in the IPL for 10 years before Alzarri Joseph eventually broke it in IPL 2019.
IPL 2008 was the only season of the IPL where the Pakistani players participated. They were banned from the tournament later.
#5 Shane Warne:
Shane Warne had already retired from international cricket ahead of IPL 2008, but the Rajasthan Royals still named him the captain of the side. The Royals didn’t have the strongest squad in the tournament and they were the underdogs.
But, Warne’s charismatic captaincy made an underdog team punch above their weight as they beat some of the heavyweights of the tournament to win the title. Warne himself was at no. 2 in the list of the highest wicket-takers in IPL 2008 as he finished with 19 wickets in 15 games.