Yet again, it is that time of the year when we are up for another exciting season of the IPL which is all set to return to its home country, India. The 8 franchises have already hit the ground running and are sparing no effort to win the coveted trophy this time around. The preparation for the same began during the auction when franchises purchased the needed resources and covered all their bases. That said, only a few of them will make it to the starting XI while all others will serve as back-ups, coming into the side in case of an injury or other issues. We will be focusing on a few of them in the present article. In the below piece, we attempt to predict one player from each franchise, who will play just a single game in IPL 2021:
1. Rajasthan Royals – KC Cariappa
A mystery spinner from Karnataka, Cariappa has been picked at his base price by RR for playing in IPL 2021. Having played just 11 games and picked 8 wickets in his IPL career so far, there is no rocket science when we say that the spinner will be part of a single game or a few more for RR. The presence of an established spin duo of Gopal and Tewatia will keep him out of contention for a majority of the games and only for a ranked turner like Chepauk that we will see Cariappa being included in the side, doing what he does best.
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore – Shahbaz Ahmed
A tall spin-bowling all-rounder from Bengal, Shahbaz made his IPL debut only in the last season playing for RCB. In 2 games, he picked 2 wickets at a good economy rate of 7.33, but definitely not enough to guarantee him a permanent place in the upcoming season. Given the competitive and fierce nature of the league, RCB will surely include Sundar and Chahal as their frontline spinners for the first couple of games. An injury or a dip in form for the former will see Shahbaz play a single or few games in the red jersey, adding variety to the bowling attack with his left-arm spin.
3. Mumbai Indians – Dhawal Kulkarni
A veteran with 86 wickets in 91 games at an average of 28.20 and an economy rate of 8.25, Dhawal plays as a back-up to India and MI’s bowling stalwart, Bumrah in the current MI set-up. As for the former, he has much-needed international and IPL experience up his sleeves which won’t make it tough for Dhawal to be back in the thick of things. Considering Bumrah is coming off a break, having missed the international action due to his wedding, the chances of Dhawal getting a long rope are less. Just like the last season, he might come into the action during the last few games of the league phase, providing the necessary rest to the mainstays.
4. Kolkata Knight Riders – Pawan Negi
Once a mainstay for the franchises he played for, Negi experienced a steep decline in form and subsequently lost his place in the side, remaining restricted to the bench. Having released by RCB ahead of IPL 2021, Negi was bought by KKR as a backup for their illustrious group of spinners. His ability to tong the ball and pull off remarkable saves and catches in the outfield puts him in good stead to feature in a couple of games for KKR, trying to repeat the heroics of the previous seasons.
5. Chennai Super Kings – Narayan Jagadeesan
Kedar Jadhav’s dismal show with the bat last season came as a blessing in disguise for Jagadeesan, who made his dream IPL debut for CSK and showed sparks of brilliance. Despite scoring 33 runs from 2 innings, the wicketkeeper-batsman has kept his place in the squad and that can be largely attributed to his busy nature while batting. With Suresh Raina, back in the yellow jersey for the new season, Jagadeesan will find it tough to make his way into the playing XI. The addition of Uthappa contributes to that woe and thus, we will see Jagadeesan play only a single game or a few more in IPL 2021.
6. Sunrisers Hyderabad – Siddarth Kaul
A right-arm seamer, who can generate good pace and bowl yorkers as well, Kaul earned his name playing for SRH. Some match-winning displays for them also assisted the man in making his dream India debut against England, although the run continued for a short period. That said, Kaul now finds himself restricted to the bench, given the rapid rise of youngsters like Khaleel and Natarajan. Both being capped players now, are bound to play ahead of him in the new season as well and only an unfortunate injury to one of them will see Kaul get his opportunity to impress at the highest stage.
7. Delhi Capitals – Tom Curran
Having performed decently for RR last season, Curran was released by the franchise and picked by DC at a good price for IPL 2021. With the starting 4 overseas players already fixed for DC, Curran will need to wait for his debut in the Delhi-based outfit. He has been bought as a back-up for the South African pace duo of Rabada and Nortje and may well share their workload in the long season. The fact that he can bat and connect a few in the slog overs, augers well for him and that may see Curran getting a single game or a few more under his belt at the backend.
8. Punjab Kings – Fabian Allen
A talented spin-bowling all-rounder from West Indies, Allen is yet to make his dream IPL debut. His powerful right-handed batsmanship, effective left-arm spin and agility, while fielding is added benefits for any team and Punjab, has to count themselves lucky to possess him among their ranks. Allen has been picked as a back-up to the likes of Henriques or even a Pooran if an untimely injury occurs to one of them. His flexibility as a player, who can bat at any position or bowl at different facets of a game will do wonders for the team and help them in procuring much-needed momentum during the business end.