Caribbean(s) – The Tadka Masala of IPL
Written by: Bhawana Jarwal
The impact of West Indies’ players has been none less than the impact of fizz in a soft drink. The metaphor might seem a bit unreal or uncanny but the Caribbean players have always been an integral part of the Indian Premier League. The firepower, the versatility, the emotion, the enthusiasm they bring to the table have changed the dynamics of the game let aside IPL. The journey, growth of these players and their contribution in making the mega league super successful is as evident as the Super-moon.
The likes of Dwayne Smith, Marlon Samuels, Daren Sammy were part of the early and mid-seasons of the league where they represented multiple franchises and Dwayne even lifted the trophy as well in 2009 during his stay in Deccan Chargers. On the other hand players like Lendl Simmons, Carlos Brathwaite, Jason Holder played in the later half of the cash rich tournament’s life cycle, wherein Lendl Simmons helped Mumbai Indians clinching the title on two occasions in the year 2015 and 2017 as he made the most destructive opening pair with Parthiv Patel in the season 2015 whilst the pair maintained an average of 50 plus during the season. Lendl and Carlos went unsold in the Mega Auction, 2022 and Jason Holder has joined the new franchise Lucknow Super Giants.
Chris Gayle – The Universe Boss
The man to score the most number of centuries (6) in IPL, the man to hit 36 runs in an over, the man to score fastest century (30 balls) in IPL and Cricket history, the man to score the highest individual score of 175* in a T20/cricket match, the man to hit the most number of sixes (357) in IPL and in an innings (17), Chris Gayle has rightly proclaimed himself as the Universe Boss. Who could forget the Gayle Storm that came on 23rd April, 2013, when Christopher Henry Gayle brought mayhem over Pune Warriors India by scoring 175* in 66 balls while hitting 13 fours and 17 sky kissing sixes. The person next to Chris on the list of scoring most sixes in IPL is Mr. 360 – AB de Villiers with 239 sixes; the gap here shows the pivotal role that the Jamaican cricketer has played in building Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings’ fandom over the years. Gayle opted out of IPL 2022 for reasons unknown.
Dwayne Bravo – The all-round deceiver
The Trinidadian Cricketer played his first three seasons of IPL for Mumbai Indians but the former West Indies’ National Captain made his mark under the leadership of MS Dhoni in season 2012 where he came into limelight for scoring 461 runs with a strike rate of 178 at an average of 57. The very next season, the October born stamped his authority in death bowling by taking 32 wickets and earning the purple cap. After recovering from an injury in 2014, Dwayne John Bravo made a dream comeback in 2015 season by claiming the purple cap again as he scalped 26 wickets and became the first player in the history of IPL to win 2 purple caps. The death over specialist is popularly known for deceiving the batter with his slower balls and other variations. The singer of song ‘Champion’ is a real life all-rounder and holds true to heart fan following in India. The franchise Chennai Super Kings continues its association with him.
Kieron Pollard – The sensible
Kieron Adrian Pollard, the former West Indian ODI and T20 captain has recently announced his retirement from international cricket but continues to flourish in franchise cricket. The Trinidadian has represented only Mumbai Indians since his IPL debut in 2010 when he was the joint highest paid player. Kieron has a specific IPL final match rivalry against Chennai Super Kings as he took revenge of losing 2010 IPL final to Chennai, by beating the arch rivals in IPL final in 2013, 2015 and 2019. In the 3 finals Pollard scored 60* (32 balls), 36 (18 balls) and 41* (25 balls) respectively and helped Mumbai Indians lift the trophy. The bowling all-rounder has lifted the spirit of Mumbai Indians team at several occasions and played critical roles in clinching the title on 5 occasions. Kieron is the only cricketer after Yuvraj Singh to hit 6 sixes in an over in T20 cricket.
Sunil Narine – The mystery player
Sunil Philip Narine primarily an off spin cum off break bowler is popularly known as a ‘mystery bowler’ in view of his versatility to trick and deceive the batter through the air, with the record to bowl most dot balls (1324) (second to Bhuveneshwar Kumar only) in IPL, at an economy of 6.65 with 149 scalps . The off spinner has represented Kolkata Knight Riders throughout his IPL career that recognised another mysterious talent of his during the season 2017 and 2018, where he opened the innings to wreak havoc on the bowlers. He holds the joint record to score second fastest fifty (15 balls) in IPL and also has the all-time IPL highest strike of 162.13, just next to Andre Russell.
Andre Russell – The powerhouse
Andre Dwayne Russell plays the game of cricket as an all-rounder. The Jamaican made his IPL debut with Delhi Daredevils in 2012 and since 2014 has been associated with Kolkata Knight Riders. His most successful season was 2019 when he was the highest run scorer (510) and highest wicket taker (11) for his team. He also hit the most number of sixes (52) in that season with the season’s highest strike rate of 204.81 (minimum 10 innings). Andre is known as a game changer for his ruthless hitting and all-round performance.
The new lads
Players like Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooraan, Odean Smith, Fabian Allen, Oshane Thomas, Sheldon Cottrell, Rovman Powell, Obed McCoy have begun their IPL journey and are trying to settle their feet with the determination to make their mark in the world of cricket.
The True Champions
During the yester night match against Rajasthan Royals, Rovman Powell showcased that he is a worthy contender of doing an Andre Russell or a Carlos Brathwaite or even a Yuvraj Singh in the future. On the other hand Obed McCoy on his IPL debut against Kolkata Knight Riders, the other night and yester night against Delhi Capitals displayed the way to handle pressure and control the nerves. With breath taking performances the Caribbean(s) continue to increase the blood pressure of the fans and such is the way they bring excitement and elation to the league.