The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a breeding ground for aspiring young cricketers, not just in India but also from around the world. A match-winning performance from an uncapped or lesser-known player in one of the fixture is bound to grab a lot of attention from both the spectators and national selectors alike. The stellar showing might just push the case further for the player, who may earn his maiden call-up to the senior side. While this has been the story behind many successful cricketers at the international level for India, a few haven’t exactly met with that fate and thus had to satisfy with the tag of IPL match-winners. In the below piece, we look at 5 IPL match-winners, who could not play for India:
1. Rajat Bhatia
A medium-pacer, who possessed all the qualities asked of a perfect T20 bowler, Bhatia, unfortunately, couldn’t play a single game at the international level for the country.
Bhatia made merry bowling on the slow and dry wickets of India. His leg-cutters, clever change of pace and inch-perfect yorkers made life difficult for the opposition batsmen, who deemed it wise to play out his quota of 4 overs.
The bowler played for 4 different franchises in his long IPL career but emerged as one of the biggest match-winners for KKR, with whom he also won the title in 2012. Needless to say, he was the go-to man for skipper Gambhir there, who not just bowled in the middle phase but also the tough overs at the death.
Bhatia has scalped 71 wickets from 95 IPL games at an average of 28.46 and an economy rate of 7.33.
2. Siddharth Trivedi
A tall right-arm pacer, who played only for a single franchise, Rajasthan Royals during his entire IPL career, Trivedi became the mainstay for his side as a strike bowler. He was mighty impressive during the inaugural edition of the IPL, picking 13 wickets from 15 games at an average of 30.69 and an economy rate of 8.31, helping the Shane Warne-led RR side win the maiden season.
Like every other bowler, Trivedi too mixed his lines and lengths well, at times also using the slower ones and cutters to fox the batsmen and halt the scoring for the opposition team. Given his height, he extracted steep bounce off the surface, making it tough for the batters to put him away.
It was disappointing to see the bowler of his calibre not getting a single game at the international level for India, especially considering he was part of a title-winning franchise. Trivedi has dismissed 65 batsmen from 76 IPL games at an average of 29.29 and an economy rate of 7.59.
3. Manvinder Bisla
Who can forget this man, who played a huge role in KKR winning their maiden title in 2012?, Chasing 191 for victory, Bisla came out all guns blazing, smashing an outstanding knock of 89(48) to snatch a win from the grasps of CSK and hand KKR their first IPL trophy.
Not just the KKR fans but the entire cricketing fraternity was stunned by this effort from the wicketkeeper-batsman, who showcased a completely different side of his batsmanship. His match-winning display against tough opposition and that too in the final of the tournament raised expectations of quite a few cricket lovers, who thought he might play for the country.
Hapless, nothing of that sort happened and just like other players in the list, he too went down as an uncapped IPL match-winner. Playing for 3 franchises, KKR, KXIP and RCB in his 21 games long IPL career, Bisla scored 798 runs at an average of 21 and strike rate of 113.68.
4. Iqbal Abdulla
A wily left-arm spinner, who could also contribute crucial runs coming lower down, Abdulla too was part of the successful KKR squad, who won the title in 2012. In fact, his best performance with the ball came for KKR during the 2011 season, where he picked 16 wickets from 15 games at an average of 19.06 and an economy rate of 6.10, ending as the highest wicket-taker for the franchise.
Nobody could forget his all-round performance for RCB in qualifier 1 against GL in 2016. Having picked 2-38 to restrict the opposition to 158, Abdulla joined hands with the master, de Villiers to score a useful 33(25) to guide RCB into the final of IPL 2016 by 4 wickets and 10 balls to spare.
Despite being one of the match-winners at the IPL, Abdulla was restricted from making his dream India debut, an aspect that will bother him for the rest of his life. The clever spinner has snapped up 40 wickets from 49 IPL games at an average of 27.73 and an economy rate of 7.23.
5. Swapnil Asnodkar
A relatively unknown name in the Indian domestic circuit before he played in the inaugural edition of the IPL for RR, Asnodkar grabbed the limelight almost immediately, opening the innings in the company of South African great, Graeme Smith.
Despite being short in stature, Asnodkar wasn’t afraid to take on the bowlers in the powerplay overs, dismissing them for boundaries and bestowing his team with flying starts. His counterattacking cricket also took the pressure of Smith and other known batsmen in the team, who were then able to play their natural game.
This fearless brand of cricket at the top of the order, unfortunately, couldn’t earn him his place in the national team, robbing him of an opportunity to shine like successful openers, Sehwag, Gambhir and Tendulkar.
Asnodkar has hammered 423 runs from 20 IPL games at an average of 21.15 and strike rate of 124.78.