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5 Players who may have a make-or-break IPL 2021

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has without a doubt given a platform to many young talents to showcase their skills and get fast-tracked in the India A or the senior Indian team’s setup.

The IPL has also been a saving grace for many cricketers who have tried to redeem their careers. Many players have made successful comebacks to the Indian team through strong IPL seasons under their belt.

But one’s adversity is another’s opportunity and this has been the case with quite a few players. The upcoming IPL 2021 will prove to be an acid test for many such cricketers, who are either looking to resurrect their careers with the Men In Blue or are aiming for a place in the T20 World Cup squad.

5 Players who need to have a successful IPL 2021

While an impactful IPL campaign can form the basis of a successful international career, a poor season could end someone’s chances of donning the India blue jersey again.

On that note, we take a look at a few players who might have one last chance to have a great IPL season and get their international careers back on track.


#5 Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin is arguably one of the finest spinners India has ever produced in Test cricket. However, when it comes to the white-ball game, the veteran has been overlooked by the Men In Blue for quite a while.

Ashwin last donned the India Blue back in 2017 and ever since has been a Test specialist. However, he has shown that he does have a bag of tricks suitable for the shortest format of the game. The 34-year-old has always been someone who ‘updates’ himself with the changing requirements of the game.

Having made his name at the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) over the years, Ashwin had a mixed spell with the Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) for two seasons. However, his trade to the Delhi Capitals (DC) has helped the off-spinner bring himself back into the limelight of limited-overs cricket.

Ashwin picked up 13 wickets in the IPL 2020 season and was one of the go-to bowlers for skipper Shreyas Iyer. There have been rumors about Ashwin possibly making a return to India’s T20I squad. However, Indian skipper Virat Kohli clearly stated that another off-spinner in Washington Sundar was doing really well.

While things seem bleak for Ashwin, he has always had tremendous self-belief and this season will be no different for him. Deep down, he will know that if he has a terrific IPL season, he could well break down the door of the selectors for an entry into the Indian T20I squad.

With the T20 World Cup just less than six months away, Ashwin might have one last crack at making a T20I comeback for India through a successful IPL 2021 season.


#4 Manish Pandey

Manish Pandey Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey

When a young Manish Pandey became the first Indian to score an IPL hundred way back in 2009, he was destined for greater things. Rising through the ranks for Karnataka, Pandey looked almost certain to be one of the future Indian stars.

However, it hasn’t quite turned out that well for the 31-year-old. Although he has had his share of chances in ODI as well as T20I cricket, Pandey has failed to show consistency and capitalize on his starts.

The same has been the case with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL, where Pandey promised a lot but has more often than not ended up being inconsistent. He has played some really incredible innings, like the match-winning knock in the final of the 2014 IPL season for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

However, Pandey has not been as consistent as he would have liked to be. Although he scored 425 runs in 16 games last season, there were several instances of Pandey throwing his wicket away. He also failed to make an impact in the T20I series against Australia Down Under.

Eventually being dropped from the Indian squad, the 31-year-old probably has one last chance to make a serious claim for a T20 World Cup berth. The likes of Rishabh Pant and Suryakumar Yadav seem to have solved India’s middle-order woes in T20Is, something that wouldn’t help Pandey’s cause.

Unless the Karnataka stalwart can dish out a sensational IPL season with the bat, the road back into the Indian team looks very difficult for him.


#3 Kedar Jadhav

Kedar Jadhav Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav

One of the names that has come under immense scrutiny has been that of Kedar Jadhav. He had a terrific start to his international career, but it tapered off as time progressed.

Despite being given a long rope, a lack of intent coupled with inconsistency saw Jadhav lose his place in the Indian team.

While a strong IPL 2020 season could have been a great chance for the Maharashtra batsman to announce his comeback, Jadhav had a tournament to forget. In 8 games last year, he scored just 62 runs at a strike-rate even below-a-run-a-ball.

Many are already judging the Sunrisers Hyderabad for snapping up the right-hander for his high base price of INR 2 crore. At 36, IPL 2021 could be one last chance for Jadhav to redeem himself and have a crack at an India comeback.


#2 Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan

It is astonishing to even think that the place of Shikhar Dhawan, who scored the second-highest number of runs in the IPL last year, is in doubt as far as the T20 World Cup is concerned. But this has been the harsh reality that the southpaw has had to deal with.

Dhawan scored 618 runs in 17 games and was outstanding at the top of the order for DC. He had a huge role to play in them reaching the final last year. But as far as T20Is are concerned, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Dhawan did score a half-century in the T20I series Down Under and has been in terrific form in ODI cricket. However, the modern T20 game has different demands and Dhawan at times has not quite been able to adapt to them.

With the likes of Ishan Kishan doing well at the top of the order on his India debut and Kohli expressing his desire to open alongside Rohit Sharma in T20Is, it seems that Dhawan might be pushed further down the pecking order.

Hence, it might be imperative for the 35-year-old to have a prolific IPL season if he wants to stand a chance of cementing his place in India’s T20 World Cup squad. With age not on his side, Dhawan might have to bat out of his skin this season to become India’s first-choice opener at the showpiece event.


#5 Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav

Probably no one has had a fall from grace the way Kuldeep Yadav has had over the past few years. From being almost irreplaceable across all three formats, it is evident that Kuldeep is short on confidence due to inconsistent game time.

He has not only been underutilized by the Indian team, but also by his IPL franchise (Kolkata Knight Riders). In the last 14 IPL games that Kuldeep has played in the past two seasons combined, he has picked up just five wickets.

The rise of spinners like Varun Chakravarthy and the acquisition of Shakib Al Hasan have further reduced Kuldeep’s chances of getting regular game time. Kuldeep was also highly expensive in the ODI series against England and looked out of ideas once the batsmen started to attack him.

Having been dropped from the T20I squad a while ago, Kuldeep needs to make a monumental effort to get back into the reckoning. With the Men In Blue still in need of wicket-taking options, Kuldeep probably has one last chance to prove his mettle and stake his claim for a T20 World Cup spot.


Published 09 Apr 2021, 04:38 IST

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bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed. Writer and Political Discourse Analysis.

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