Written by: Bhawana Jarwal
IPL 2022 has been a season of revival so far for many players who went through some wearying stages of their cricket career in the last few seasons or months. They showed that class will always be permanent and made an eye-opening impact on many who have been critical of them. Here are the few players who stamped their authority once again and made a fightback in the season.
1. Kuldeep Yadav:
Kuldeep went through tough times and was on a roller coaster ride in the last 2 to 3 years after being labeled as a novel player and a lethal weapon in his initial years. He was dropped from the Indian team, lost his place in the KKR XI, was affected by injuries, and eventually ruled out of IPL 2021 before turning up for the mega auctions. The tides turned for him this season, as Delhi Capitals bought him into their side, where the franchise missed the services of Ashwin and Mishra. It was Kuldeep’s job to take wickets in the middle phase for the captain, and he has been outstanding, attacking the opposing batters and putting the opposition under pressure. He has taken 13 wickets from 6 games and won three Player of the Match awards so far, proving why he is considered to be among the best. He has been a game-changer for Pant and DC in the middle phase.
2. Dinesh Karthik:
Dinesh Karthik is among the unluckiest players in history whose career was cut short by the abundance of talents in our country. Being a WK-Batter did not help his career as he lost his spot to the stalwart MSD on the Indian national team. Being dropped from the Indian T20 squad due to the failures in ODI, he struggled in the last two seasons of IPL but came back strongly through the RCB colors as a finisher in this edition. The Royal Challengers Bangalore, playing without ABD, found a new ray of hope as DK took the onus upon him to finish matches and give that extra push to the scorecard. He had the role clarity from Day 1, coming to bat around and after the 15th over and going berserk from the word go. He exploits the pace against the pacers, utilizing his strength to the maximum extent, scoring as many runs in the backend of the innings. He has been the best finisher, along with Hetmyer in this IPL, scoring 200+ runs at a strike rate above 200. Dinesh Karthik is eyeing the slot in ICT for WC, and he is raising questions to selectors with his display on the field.
3. Umesh Yadav:
Umesh Yadav & his white-ball dreams might be a tough climb for him now, yet he showed the whole world his value with the new ball in hand in IPL2022. He was unsold in the first round of the auction, and then Kolkata picked him in the last round of auctions. He played an integral part for KKR to kick start the season on a high, picking wickets with the new ball in the powerplay and putting lots of pressure on the opposition. It has been a tough few years for Umesh in all formats, who has battled lows in his life very early on. With young fresh legs coming up the ranks, he was sidelined from the national side in blues to whites and was getting labeled as a red ball bowler. But the hunger to achieve more makes Umesh Yadav so fierce and fight so hard at this stage of his career. The zest and passion are evident in the way, he is breathing fire in this edition.
4. Shivam Dube:
Dube made his arrival through Mumbai cricket. The southpaw batter who bowls right-hand medium pace was very promising in his first-class career. This consistency got him bids, and he played in a few IPL franchises but, was unable to cement his place in a side. One of the game-changing knocks in his life came when he smashed an unbeaten 64 runs from 42 balls while chasing 190 runs for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2021 against CSK. He showed his potential to smash the spin in middle overs and ability to hit mighty huge sixes irrespective of the ground size. There was not much thinking for CSK to bid him in the mega auction this time, and it has paid them so far. He has been their highest run-getter in IPL 2022, consistently scoring runs in the middle phase and getting the team out of trouble.
The ride has not been easy for him, but he is tasting some success in the yellow jersey lately.
5. T Natarajan:
Thangarasu Natarajan, the southpaw from Tamilnadu, coming from a humble beginning has been an example of hard work making it big. Natarajan made a massive impression through IPL 2020, which led to his India call-up very soon. He had a dream debut in his career for Men in blue and was going smoothly, but injuries made his life difficult. The left-arm quick lost his spot and was tough one year, could not perform well for SRH in IPL 2021, missed out on the world cup ticket followed by a significant part of the domestic season as well, but with his attitude, trained so hard at NCA and regained fitness before the IPL 2022 and yielded fruitful results. He has been the go-to man in SRH camp this season. He has picked 15 wickets in 7 games, bowling in different phases, getting crucial wickets, and keeping the SRH bowling unit one of the best in the season. The quadruplet of Bhuvneshwar, Natarajan, Jansen & Umran Malik is turning out to be a nightmare for other franchises.
6. Hardik Pandya:
The return of Hardik is the biggest story of IPL 2022. The pinch hitter, groomed, raised, and was an integral core of MI, was not retained by the franchise due to his fitness issues and a drop in form. Hardik was rested from the Indian setup due to fitness post the back surgery. He was unable to deliver with his bat and ball skills and failed in justifying his finisher role. After months of rehab, severe training sessions, and even bulking up, he has turned up in a new avatar. He is at the helm of the new franchise Gujarat Titans, and the skipper Pandya has turned up with a Midas touch. In IPL 2022, he is steering Gujarat with the bat and ball, taking the new ball and batting at 4. Kungfu Pandya has amassed almost 300 runs in 6 games so far. He is also clocking 140 kmph consistently with the ball and is a big positive & a piece of huge news for Indian cricket moving into the T20 World Cup 2022 and ODI World Cup 2023. He is giving lots of flexibility to the unit, and it is a massive boost for India in the long run.
IPL 2022 has been exciting and thrilling as we are accustomed to, barring a few odd matches. At the halfway stage of group matches, it has been a predominance of youngsters, alongside these veterans, who made strong statements this time, justifying the tagline of IPL-Where Talent Meets Opportunity. The resurgence of the battle-scarred and the escalation of new talents make the flair and exuberance of IPL a notch higher than the rest. Many players are yet to make a big impact, and in the coming weeks, we may see new superstars and the return of legends to shut down their naysayers.