The Indian Premier League (IPL) began with a bang in 2008 and pulled huge crowds towards the popular Twenty20 cricket tournament. The league became a godsend for domestic as well as international players to earn money and make a big name in the world of cricket. It gave prodigious opportunities to youngsters as they shared the dressing room with experienced and international stalwarts. For Indian players, their remarkable performances even led to their selection in the Indian team. Yusuf Pathan, M. Gony, Pragyan Ojha, M. Vijay, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel, Karn Sharma and Mohit Sharma are among those Indian players for whom the IPL proved to be a big boon. For other international players too, it was a great chance, so much so that the players will remain indebted to IPL throughout their lives, for bringing a progressive change in their career.
When talking about IPL, it would be apt to mention that CLT20 has been scrapped, which was a stepping stone for young and talented cricketers. Moreover, as BCCI was also the founding member of CLT20, a wonderful performance at the highest level (CLT20) would mean a convinced IPL contract for the overseas players. Let’s have a look at the top five players who moved ahead in their careers after implausible performances in the IPL and CLT20 and will remain obligated to IPL.
1. Kieron Pollard
One of the best T20 players, Pollard is a cracker who bowls and bats with gust on the field. During the complete T20 tournament, he played few T20s and ODIs for West Indies but could not really make a mark. It was at the inaugural season of CLT20 in 2009 that Pollard came to limelight with his terrific performance. Pollard played from Trinidad and Tobago that were the Caribbean T20 titleholders. In his second match against Deccan Chargers, he hit 31 off 14 balls and rose to fame as T&T won the match by only three runs. Besides this great knock, the best one that was career changing came in the first match in league stage against the robust New South Wales. Pollard played a heroic role then with 54 from only 18 balls defeating NSW, which at first seemed impossible. With his extraordinary 14 sixes in the tournament, he had the most number of sixes alongside best strike rate and being the fifth highest run-getter. Even though T&T lost the final, Pollard stunned his fans with promising performance.
Pollard was signed up by Indian Premier League’s Mumbai Indians, leading them to victory twice and he also aided in two CLT20 victories. His international career has picked up pace since then. Now he plays for almost seven clubs all over the world.
2. Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins as a part of the New South Wales team in the CLT20 promotion in India in 2011 was a young 18-year-lad to be playing in an international tournament. The right-arm fast bowler played in all five matches and even proved to be the most popular bowler. Easy on the pocket, along with young blood and speed, he made NSW reach the knockout stage. Despite a mammoth score of 203, NSW was defeated by RCB who chased the mark with the loss of four wickets. Amusingly, it was Cummins who took all of those wickets that too of Chris Gayle, Kohli and Dilshan. With his performance, Cummins announced his readiness for international cricket. He went on adding feathers to his career and was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. Cummins rose to fame with the popular Twenty20 league.
3. Sunil Narine
This name is familiar to all cricket lovers. Narine’s bowling action has been probed and inspected many times, but he still remains the enigmatic spinner. He has been playing for Trinidad and Tobago since 2009. The 2011 CLT20 was a distressing tournament for them as T&T lost on the last ball against Mumbai Indians and then were defeated again when they failed to win a super over against NSW. One run became a big thing to achieve and could have made a big transformation both the times, but ultimately, they couldn’t make their place in the knockouts. Nonetheless, Narine became the second highest wicket-taker and the superb bowler; 2 for 10 against Mumbai Indians and 3 for 8 against CSK spoke itself for Sunil Narine. His ambiguous bowling muddled the batsmen, which became a positive for the team. In the 2012 auction. Kolkata Knight Riders bought him and then, he never looked back. He stepped the ladder of success on the rungs of opportunity.
4. Pravin Tambe
The CLT20 has profited this Indian player the most. The 43-year-old is still young at heart and was selected in the Royals squad in the 2012 IPL. There he was outshined players like Johan Botha, Ankeet Chavan, Ajit Chandila and Brad Hogg.
In the 2013 season of IPL, Tambe enthralled people with his performance. Therefore, Royals recollected him in their CLT20 team. Tambe made the best out of this opportunity and became the highest wicket-taker in the tournament, winning the golden ball.
With all the experience that he got while playing in Mumbai’s domestic circuit, Tambe helped Royals leap into the finals; 3 for 10 against CSK and 4 for 15 versus Highveld Lions were Tambe’s figures. Pravin Tambe coped to deliver in spite of others losing runs in the final match against the Mumbai Indians. Mumbai Indians gathered 202 on the scoreboard, but Tambe took two wickets for only 19 runs in four overs. Tambe’s hard-work and vivid performances led him to be chosen for Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy just after CLT20.
5. Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson is one player who had made his name noticeable even before his maiden entrance in CLT20 in 2014. Williamson was considered more a Test player and his stats in T20 format were not very prodigious. Even he had only one half-century in his name in international cricket. It became tough for him to compete with other astounding batsmen in the New Zealand T20 team, but with his dedication, he proved everyone wrong and bounced back with invigorating batting. He became one of the three batsmen to have scored a century with 101 off 49 balls against Cape Cobras. After that, there were more centuries in the qualification phase, which brought him popularity. His first IPL contract came from Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015, which brought more fame to his cricketing career. Williamson made his ODI, Test and T20 debut in 2010-11 seasons, but it took him almost four years to make his place in the IPL, which became possible because of CLT20. There remains more recognition to be achieved with time!
Surely IPL has changed the playing careers of many players and moved them a step ahead.