With the IPL 2021 auction set to be conducted at Chennai on Feb 18, teams are busy shortlisting the talents that could prove decisive in the upcoming season. Let us look at five former Indian players who could add some much-needed firepower to their former IPL sides.
Left-arm spinner Pawan Negi made his debut in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils in 2012. However, he did not get to make a name for himself until he was snapped up by the Chennai Super Kings in 2014. The youngster patiently waited for his chance before exploding on to the scene in 2015, albeit with the bat instead of the ball.
Negi made 116 runs in that year’s IPL at an excellent strike rate of 158.90, which eventually earned him a slot in the Indian team for the World T20 in 2016. However, five years down the line, after unsuccessful stints at the Delhi Daredevils and the Royal Challengers Bengaluru, he is back in the auction pool.
With the Super Kings lacking firepower down the order to back Ravindra Jadeja, this could prove to be a perfect opportunity for Negi to change his fortunes as a part of the Men in Yellow.
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A member of the World Cup winning Indian squad of 2011, Piyush Chawla has seen a lot of ups and downs in his IPL career. He was a backbone of the KKR team under Gautam Gambhir, even hitting the winning runs in their 2014 victory. Before his title winning heroics for the KKR, he was a part of the Kings XI Punjab as their leading wicket taking threat from the inaugural IPL up until 2013.
The wily legbreak bowler, who took 84 wickets during his time with the KXIP, has also played some crucial knocks down the order in his IPL career. After a disappointing season with CSK, he is available in the auctions ahead of IPL 2021.
Another former KXIP star, the tall and lanky seamer, Rajpoot made his IPL debut way back in 2013 for the CSK. But it was in 2018 that he made a name for himself.
Representing the Kings XI Punjab, he picked 5 wickets for fourteen runs from his four overs against the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the best figures recorded by an uncapped Indian bowler in the IPL to this day.
However, following a disastrous IPL 2019 campaign he was traded to the Rajasthan Royals who, in turn, released him after IPL 2020. After getting picked as one of the net bowlers for India’s series against England ahead of the IPL, his morale is bound to be high.
KXIP should definitely keep an eye on the youngster as he could provide much-needed Indian pace bowling backup to their team which has been overly reliant on Shami in IPL 2020.
One of the fastest Indian bowlers ever, Umesh Yadav made his IPL debut in 2010 as a young tearaway seamer for the now-defunct Delhi Daredevils. After a productive spell with the DD, which earned him his first national cap, he switched over to the KKR ahead of IPL 2014, and was a part of their title winning IPL side in 2014. Next, he joined the Royal Challengers Bengaluru in 2018 after playing a key role in them getting bundled out for 49 in the IPL 2017.
Umesh picked 20 wickets in his debut season for RCB, establishing himself as a key cog of their side. However following a disastrous IPL 2020, he is without a team ahead of the upcoming season. While he can be expensive at times, his ability to pick wickets and bowl at a threatening pace can be an asset to most teams.
The Delhi Capitals, who reached their maiden IPL finals in 2020, lack a quality Indian pacer to support the rampaging South African duo of Rabada and Nortje. Umesh can prove to be that player, taking up bowling duties in the powerplay and freeing up Rabada and Nortje to bowl most of their overs at the death.
Only the second player after Virender Sehwag to score a triple ton for India in Test matches, Karun Nair’s career has nose-dived after reaching those dizzying heights.
Nair was part of the dominant Karnataka side of the mid 2010s, who dominated domestic cricket in India, and he eventually earned the chance to be a part of the IPL with RCB. However, it was at the Rajasthan Royals that his career really took off, as he became a staple of their batting lineup until their ban from the IPL for two years. A moderately successful stint followed with the Delhi Daredevils from 2016-2017. And it was during this period that he made his Team India debut and broke a long standing Test record.
However, an ill-timed move to a top heavy KXIP ahead of the IPL 2018 didn’t help his career as he never got enough opportunities to showcase his batting prowess. At 29 years of age, he still has a lot of cricket left him, and a move to the Rajasthan Royals who want to fill a Steven Smith-sized hole in their batting order, could prove to be an immense opportunity.
RR should definitely keep an eye on their former man, as they look to mount a title challenge in the IPL 2021.
Other Potential Returns: Mohit Sharma – Kings XI Punjab, S. Sreesanth – Rajasthan Royals, J. Suchith – Mumbai Indians, K. Gowtham – Rajasthan Royals