Undoubtedly, the Indian Premiere League (IPL) is one of the most hyped league tournaments in world cricket. Backed by the town’s wealthiest, and featuring some of the globe’s greatest, it is the platform for stalwarts, freshmen and even the inbetweeners to (re)stake their claims. While Amit Mishra, Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma have previously used their IPL performances to resurrect their international careers, the Pathan brothers – Yusuf and Irfan – have deterred the international selectors from selecting them any further. We look at five high-profile Indian cricketers who could use this year’s IPL 7 to bounce back into contention:
1. Virender Sehwag – Bought for 320 Lakhs by Kings XI Punjab
Still holding the record for the world’s highest individual score in an ODI and the highest test innings score by an Indian, Virender Sehwag needs no other introduction. After Sachin Tendulkar, he was once the most feared Indian batsman for his explosive shots, which often gave his team dream starts. And then the bubble bursted; inconsistency turned into lack of form, which eventually tested the selectors’ patience. Sehwag believes he can still play international cricket for at least a couple more years. Can he convince the selectors?
2. Gautam Gambhir – Retained by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Once touted to be the leader of India in all formats of the international game, Gautam Gambhir is now struggling for a slot in the side. Known for his anchor roles, Gambhir has the potential to patiently carry his bat through and then unleash towards the latter part of an innings. He captained KKR to the IPL trophy in 2012, then was bullied back to the barrel with almost the same team the next year. Can he inspire yet another respite for both himself and his team?
3. Ishant Sharma – Bought back by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for 425 Lakhs
Ishant Sharma delivered several ‘hair raising’ international performances in 2013, which ultimately led to his axing earlier this year. With fast bowling being a genuine weakness in most Indian sides, he could have an early return to international colors. Under the coaching of Tom Moody, and being partnered by the world’s best fast bowler, Dale Steyn, we expect nothing less than glory for Sharma this year.
4. Shikar Dhawan – Retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
Yet another record holding explosive batsman fades away. Just over a year after his stellar test debut, the reality and struggles of international cricket seems to have hit Shikar-Movember-Dhawan. Recently left out of the World Twenty20 team in place of Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawan would have a lot to do to save his dwindling career. It would be anyone’s bet if his recent promotion to captain SRH would further burden or inspire his performances this year.
5. Yuvraj Singh – Bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for 1,400 Lakhs
Yuvraj Singh hit six 6s in the inaugural World Twenty20; he was the Man of the Tournament when India won the 2011 world cup; but in 2014, he was blamed for losing India the World Twenty20. The many challenges he has faced on and off the cricket field pale in comparison to his ‘crime’ of having a strike rate of 52.38 at a World Twenty20 final. He embodies resilience like no other cricketer, and has repeatedly bounced back stronger from adversities. RCB head honcho Vijay Maliya backs his million-dollar buy and is confident that Singh would prove to be more than his money’s worth.
Who do you think will make an amazing comeback this IPL 7 season? Leave your replies in the comment section below.