IPL 2021—ladies & gentlemen, the festival is back in town!
IPL 2020 provided us several moments to cherish amidst the global pandemic—Rahul Tewatia’s bizarre heist, Nicholas Pooran’s superman fielding effort, double Super Overs, and the Mumbai Indians stamping their authority once again.
Who will be the surprise package this year? The emerging player? Here are 5 things I am looking forward to the most in IPL 2021.
1. Shine Like a Diamond
From the young Ravindra Jadeja in 2008 & Manish Pandey in 2009 to the inspirational stories of Natarajan & Chakravarthy last year, the IPL has a habit of thrusting new faces into limelight. In 2020, uncapped players like Ravi Bishnoi, Abdul Samad, and Devdutt Padikkal had breakout seasons. Here are some of exciting candidates for 2021:
- Finn Allen signed as a replacement for Josh Philippe and announced himself to the international stage with a whirlwind 71(29) against Bangladesh. Will he get a match though in the star-studded RCB line-up?
- Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy graduates Mohammad Azharuddeen (WK/batsman), Shahrukh Khan (finisher), and R Sai Kishore (spinner) would be quite handy if they carried their devastating forms earlier this year.
- Surprise Packages Paul Valthaty & Rahul Tewatia became household names after bizarre IPL seasons. Would love to watch a Chetan Sakariya, Lukman Meriwala, or someone we have not heard much about (yet) rising to the occasion.
2. Can the Discards Find Their Way Back to the Pack?
Due to COVID-19, ICC events have allowed up to 23-player squads. For India, this has provided the window for discarded players like Prithvi Shaw, Dinesh Karthik, & Sanju Samson to squeeze into the T20 World Cup squad in October later this year.
Since the World Cup is scheduled to be held in India, it is also a golden opportunity for players from other countries like Liam Livingstone, the Currans, & Dawid Malan (England), Allen & Kyle Jamieson (New Zealand), & Riley Meredith & Jhye Richardson (Australia) to impress their selectors.
Eoin Morgan has made it clear he wants England to hold both the World Cup trophies. He has even gone as far as suggesting that rivals Rajasthan Royals will open with Buttler-Stokes combination (to help England prepare for the World Cup).
3. This is it, isn’t it?
Christopher Henry Gayle is 41 and has recently stated his desire to win a third T20I World Cup and even play for 5 more years. Imran Tahir at 42 and Harbhajan Singh at 40 are still spinning oppositions.
It is unlikely any of them will play all the 14 games, but their experience will be crucial in pressure situations.
We should just sit back and enjoy because this might be the final chance we get to watch players like MS Dhoni on the field. With IPL 2022 having a large auction, this year is definitely the end of an era.
4. Can Cricket Get Any Longer? Rule Changes For IPL 2021
The limited overs series between India and England have caused direct rule changes to this IPL. Some of those T20I games took up 5 hours and Suryakumar Yadav’s soft-signal caused uproar. Last year, the double super overs went well into the next day. For IPL 2021,
- Teams have been accommodated 90 minutes per innings including the Strategic Time Outs. Penalties have been raised for violation.
- No soft-signal for catches and obstruction of field appeals.
- Time capped for multiple Super Overs. If time elapses, the game will be declared a tie (one point each).
5. The World Must Come Together as One
Before we can enjoy the spectacle, the real question is will we even have a complete IPL due to the pandemic?
The PSL showcased brilliant display of cricket…for two weeks before the insecurity of the bio-bubble packed up the tournament.
Mitchell Marsh, Josh Hazlewood & Philippe have already withdrawn days from the IPL, and the likes of Axar Patel & Padikkal have tested positive for coronavirus. Cases are rising in India, and several travel concerns still remain.
With mental health, bio-bubble fatigue, and financial security all at stake, only time will decide the fate of this tournament. Let’s just hope that this virus is defeated, the spirit of the IPL remains alive, and the surprises keep on coming.
If you have not yet read our IPL Previews, here is a list of all of them! Check them out and share ahead:
- Chennai Super Kings – CSK Preview
- Delhi Capitals – DC Preview
- Kolkata Knight Riders – KKR Preview
- Mumbai Indians – MI Preview
- Punjab Kings – PBKS Preview
- Rajasthan Royals – RR Preview
- Royal Challengers Bangalore – RCB Preview
- Sunrisers Hyderabad – SRH Preview