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IPL 2014: Truly an “Indian” Premier League

Mohit Sharma (left) won the Purple Cap in IPL 7 while Robin Uthapa won the Orange Cap © IANS
Mohit Sharma (left) won the Purple Cap in IPL 7 while Robin Uthapa won the Orange Cap © IANS

For the second time since the inception of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008, the Orange Cap holder, the Purple Cap holder and the IPL-winning captain were Indians. Shiamak Unwalla observes that this was truly an “Indian” Premier League.

 

A common feature of the Indian Premier League (IPL) since its conception has been watching players like Chris Gayle, Dale Steyn, Shaun Marsh, Jacques Kallis and Kevin Pietersen come in and either score a truckload of runs or terrorise batsmen. As a result, the IPL has been criticised for being too reliant on its foreign players to bring the star quality to it.

Therefore, it is encouraging that barring one, all the major awards — Orange Cap, Purple Cap, IPL Winning captain, Man of the Final and Man of the Series — were won by Indian players this year. Below is a table of the winners of each award from 2008 till date:

Year  Orange Cap Purple Cap IPL winner Man of the Final Man of the series
2008 Shaun Marsh Sohail Tanvir Shane Warne (RR) Yusuf Pathan Shane Watson
2009 Matthew Hayden RP Singh Adam Gilchrist (DC) Anil Kumble Adam Gilchrist
2010 Sachin Tendulkar Pragyan Ojha MS Dhoni (CSK) Suresh Raina Sachin Tendulkar
2011 Chris Gayle Lasith Malinga MS Dhoni (CSK) Murali Vijay Chris Gayle
2012 Chris Gayle Morne Morkel Gautam Gambhir (KKR) Manvinder Bisla Sunil Narine
2013 Michael Hussey Dwayne Bravo Rohit Sharma (MI) Kieron Pollard Shane Watson
2014 Robin Uthappa Mohit Sharma Gautam Gambhir (KKR) Manish Pandey Glenn Maxwell

Now, the year 2010 was even better since absolutely every winner was an Indian. However, when one considers the Qualifiers and Eliminator as well, a different story emerges. Below is a table comparing the Playoffs of IPL 2010 and 2014:

2010 Man of the Match 2014 Man of the Match
Semi Final 1 Kieron Pollard (33* & 3/17) Qualifier 1 Umesh Yadav (3/13)
Semi Final 2 Doug Bollinger (4/13) Eliminator Suresh Raina (54*)
3rd Place Anil Kumble (4/16) Qualifier 2 Virender Sehwag (122)
Final Suresh Raina (57* & 1/21) Final Manish Pandey (94)

The Man of the Match award in each of the last four playoff matches was won by an Indian in 2014, while just two of the four awards were won by Indians in 2010. More importantly, perhaps, is who the players are in each scenario. In 2010, the winners were current international cricketers who were at the peak of their form — with the exception of Anil Kumble, who had retired a couple of years ago, but was still arguably one of the best spinners on display in 2010. However, in 2014, the Man of the Match in each playoff was won by Umesh Yadav, a pace bowler who hasn’t quite established himself in the side yet; Suresh Raina, a very highly rated limited overs specialist who was dropped from the limited overs side till very recently; Virender Sehwag, an aging legend who was written off by fans and detractors alike; and Manish Pandey, a young batsman with a lot of promise who had failed to deliver throughout the tournament.

Likewise, the winners of all the major awards this year, are virtual outsiders. Orange Cap winner Robin Uthappa has been selected for India’s tour to Bangladesh on the basis of an outstanding domestic season. Mohit Sharma, who won the Purple Cap, has been in the Indian limited overs squad for a while without comprehensively breaking through to the playing XI. As for IPL-winning skipper Gautam Gambhir, a Test recall after over two years out of the side could prove a second coming.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of IPL 7 was that the Indian players did well, and a number of unheralded youngsters proved their salt. Names like Manan Vohra, Karun Nair, Sandeep Sharma, Akshar Patel, Wriddhiman Saha, Karanveer Singh, Suryakumar Yadav, Sanju Samson, KL Rahul and Kedar Jadhav will be very recognisable come IPL 2015, and that bodes very well for Team India.

 

Click here for IPL 2014 complete coverage

(Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

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