The 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is almost upon us and the focus is once again set to fall on the wrist-spinners.
Wrist-spinners have been dominating limited-overs cricket over the past few seasons with their roles becoming essential for every top team.
As many as five of the top-eight ranked T20I bowling ranking slots are currently occupied by wrist spinners which tells you all you need to know about their significance.
Here, we take a look at the top five wrist-spinners in the upcoming IPL.
ISH SODHI – RAJASTHAN ROYALS
Ranked No8 in the T20 rankings, Ish Sodhi has been around the circuit for many years now. The New Zealand leg-spinner is a proven performer and has picked up a total of 123 wickets across all three formats in international cricket.
Sodhi had a terrific impact at Rajasthan Royals last season where his six wickets played a key role in the side’s late surge to the play-offs. The leggie’s economy-rate in his six appearances was just 5.86 and he will once again be key for the side in the upcoming edition.
YUZVENDRA CHAHAL – ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
The No5 ranked ODI bowler came into prominence through his performances for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL before being called up India’s limited-overs squad.
Over the last two years, Chahal has established himself as a crucial cog of India’s limited-overs setup with his partnership with Kuldeep Yadav going strong in both formats.
The wrist-spinner did not have the best of IPL’s last year where he picked up just 12 wickets. He will be looking to hit the heights he hit in 2015 and 2016 where he picked up 23 and 21 wickets respectively.
KULDEEP YADAV – KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Chahal’s India partner-in-crime Kuldeep has been tearing it up at the international level of late and jumped to No4 in the ODI and T20 formats.
With his ability to bag wickets in a heap, the left-arm wrist-spinner has proven to be a match-winner for both India and Kolkata Knight Riders on several occasions.
Only 24, Kuldeep has been improving with each passing season in the IPL and will look to better his 2018 display where he picked up 17 wickets.
RASHID KHAN – SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
At the top of the T20 standings and in second place in ODIs, Rashid Khan has established himself as the best in the business in a very short span of time.
The Afghanistan leg-spinner is a performer of the highest order who has been successful in every major T20 franchise league in the world, be it the IPL, Big Bash league or the Caribbean Premier League.
The Afghan star has been nothing short of sensational in his two years so far in the IPL where he has picked up a total of 38 wickets while bowling at an economy of less than seven runs an over.
SANDEEP LAMICHHANE – DELHI CAPITALS
The only Nepalese player to play in the IPL, Sandeep Lamichhane has gone on to do some big things since his debut campaign for Delhi last year.
Lamichhane was given just three games by the Delhi management towards the end of the competition but still managed to impress with five wickets. Since then, the teenager has had stints in the BBL, CPL, Global T20 Canada, Bangladesh Premier League and most recently the Pakistan Premier League.
The leg-spinner put in his best ever T20 display of 4-10 during his recent Lahore Qalandars’ stint and looks set to create a much bigger impact in the upcoming IPL with Delhi.
Sunrisers Hyderabad received some bad news close to the start of the 12th edition of the IPL with Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson a fitness concern.
Williamson might end up missing the third Test against Bangladesh – which begins in Christchurch on Saturday – and may even have to delay his departure for the IPL after suffering a shoulder injury while fielding in Bangladesh’s first innings of the second Test in Wellington.
Kiwi coach Gary Stead said scans found a tear in Williamson’s left pectoral minor muscle of his shoulder.
“There’s obviously irritation and a wee bit of bleeding, it’s not a major injury,” Stead was quoted as saying by AFP. “We’re hopeful that he will recover quickly, and the thing for us is to make sure he doesn’t aggravate it any more. He will come to Christchurch and we will make an assessment there on whether he plays.”
Stead said New Zealand will take a “safety first” approach with the World Cup in mind.
“No player wants to give up their spot in the Test team. But I think it’s safe to say that we will probably err on the conservative side, and if there’s any chance of risk then we’re likely to pull him from that game.”
Williamson will undergo a fitness test over the next two days to assess his match fitness. But if things don’t turn out well, the Kiwi management will hold him back until he recovers completely.
“If things progress as we hope, then still going to the IPL shouldn’t be a problem to him,” Stead said. “But he’s also aware that if he’s not quite 100 per cent, then we will potentially hold him back as well and make sure that he is right before he goes on that plane.”
Sunrisers have let go of opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan and still don’t know how fit David Warner will be on his comeback from elbow surgery.
The Indian Premier League is a great platform for young Indian players to make an instant impression and maybe even jump the queue for national selection.
While there are many examples of unknown names becoming overnight millionaires, there are some – like Jasprit Bumrah – who have used the IPL spotlight to rise to the highest level.
This season as well, there will be some youngsters who will be keen to make an impression and remain in the minds of decision makers for after the World Cup. Here are five such players.
The Mumbai all-rounder is said to be the real deal – a hard hitting lower order batsman and a capable fast medium bowler. On the eve of the IPL auction in December, Dube hit five sixes in one over for his team Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy clash against Baroda. He had done so in a Mumbai T20 League match as well.
Dube, 25, was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for 50 million rupees (Dh2.6m). If he manages to impress for RCB, it can quickly open the doors to national selection as he will be led by Virat Kohli in IPL, who is desperate to find a long term back-up for all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the senior Indian team.
The uncapped 27-year-old Tamil Nadu spinner was snapped up by Kings XI Punjab for a record 84m rupees (Dh4.4m). And his story is remarkable. He played until the age of 17 as a keeper. Then he became disenchanted, took up architecture and worked as a freelance architect. He then returned to the game after more than five years, became a seam-bowling all-rounder, got injured and finally settled on mystery spin.
According to the man himself, in order to survive as a spinner in T20 cricket, Chakravarthy has developed seven types of deliveries. Plus he can hit a few in the stands as well.
Highest ratio of sold price to base price in #IPL2019Auction— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) December 18, 2018
42.00 - Varun Chakaravarthy (20 lacs to 8.4 cr)
25.00 - Shivam Dube (20 lacs to 5 crores)
24.00 - Prabhsimran Singh (20 lacs to 4.8 cr)
18.00 - Akshdeep Nath (20 lacs to 3.6 cr)
10.00 - Mohit Sharma (50 lacs to 5 cr)
The wicketkeeper batsman has played 10 competitive games in all. One of them was the U19 Asia Cup final against Sri Lanka in which he cracked 65 off 37 balls.
The 19-year-old from Punjab hit 298 off 301 balls in an U23 tournament last year. His cousin Anmolpreet Singh is a regular in first-class cricket. Prabhsimran idolises Adam Gilchrist and told the Times of India that he took up wicketkeping after watching Gilchrist keep and then open the innings for Australia. Picked up by Kings XI Punjab for 48m rupees (Dh2.5m).
PRAYAS RAY BURMAN
The leg-spinner is just 16. He was the top wicket taker for Bengal in the 2018/19 Vijay Hazare one-day tournament. However in T20 games, his record is limited with four wickets from as many games.
Royal Challengers Bangalore paid 15 million rupees (Dh800,000) for his services. He will partner senior leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and should get to learn a lot about the art of bowling leg-spin in the smaller Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The 21-year-old Andhra Pradesh left-arm quick was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders for two million rupees. The tall left armer can generate decent pace and can hurry batsmen with extra bounce. Has mainly played first-class cricket and joins a Knight Riders squad that already has a good bunch of young Indian quicks in Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Prasidh Krishna.
Nagarkoti hasn’t played competitive cricket for a year now and his place in the team can go to Prithviraj, whose left arm angle sets him apart.