10 unheralded Indians who impressed in their IPL debut season
10 unheralded Indians who impressed in their IPL debut season (from clockwise, top left): Shadab Jakati, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Mohit Sharma, Sanju Samson, Sandeep Sharma, Karn Sharma, Akshar Patel, Deepak Hooda and Shreyas Iyer

Deepak Hooda and Shreyas Iyer have undoubtedly been the standout performers for their sides, Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) respectively, so far in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015. Shiamak Unwalla lists out 10 unheralded Indian players who shone in their debut IPL season.

NOTE: While considering the players, only their debut season was taken into consideration. Players have not been considered if they played even a single game in one season before doing very well in the next. The criteria eliminated the likes of Pravin Tambe and Manish Pandey, who did well in their second season despite not playing much in their debut season.

1. Shadab Jakati, IPL 2009:

Playing for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Jakati played nine matches in IPL 2009. Usually preferred as the second-choice spinner after Muttiah Muralitharan, he managed to bowl well in the middle overs. His 13 wickets came at a respectable average of 16.69 with a decent economy rate of 7.48.

2. Kedar Jadhav, IPL 2010:

One of the most under-rated batsmen in the format, Kedar Jadhav made played for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2010, and struck a thunderous 50 not out on debut. Surprisingly, he was not given an extended run at the top, and ended up scoring just 76 runs in the five games he played, though he did not get to face too many deliveries. His runs came at an average of 25.33 and an excellent strike-rate of 135.71. Jadhav has played an One-Day International (ODI) for India.

3. Ambati Rayudu, IPL 2010:

One of the breakout stars of IPL 2010, Rayudu was far from inexperienced, having previously played for the Indian Cricket League (ICL). However, he was still largely unknown quantity. He scored 356 valuable runs for Mumbai Indians in 14 matches, at a fair average of 27.38 and a ferocious strike- rate of 144.71.Rayudu went on to make his India One-Day International debut in July 2013 against Zimbabe at Harare.

4. Mohit Sharma, IPL 2013:

From being an obscure medium-pacer before IPL 2013 to being the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2014 and a World Cup semi-finalist in 2015, Mohit Sharma has come a long way. Back in 2013, hardly anyone had heard of him till he ended up taking 20 wickets in 15 games at 16.3 per wicket and a run- rate of only 6.43 for CSK.

5. Sanju Samson, IPL 2013:

Perhaps one of the brightest talents in India at the moment, Sanju Samson announced himself with a Man of the Match-winning 63 off 41 balls for Rajasthan Royals (RR) against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the age of 18. He played 11 games in IPL 2013, scoring 206 runs at 25.75.

6. Sandeep Sharma, IPL 2013:

Though Sandeep’s breakout performance came in IPL 2014, he had made his debut for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in IPL 2013. He only played four games, but took eight wickets at 14.87 and a run rate of 7.43.

7. Karn Sharma, IPL 2013:

Karn was one of the most appealing talents to come through in IPL 2013. Playing for the newly-formed Sunrisers Hyderabad, he did well with both bat and ball. In 13 games he scored 85 runs coming in lower down the order, with a top score of 39 not out. He also took 11 wickets at an appreciable run-rate of only 6.60. He represented India across all format last year.

8. Akshar Patel, IPL 2014:

Akshar was the find of IPL 2014, winning the emerging player award and also making his debut for India immediately after the IPL. He took 17 wickets in as many games for KXIP, and was the most economical bowler of the tournament, going at just 6.13 runs per over. He made his ODI debut last year and has played 13 matches so far for India in the 50-over format. He also made it to India’s squad for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, though he did not get a game.

9. Deepak Hooda, IPL 2015:

Hooda made a name for himself in ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014, taking a five-wicket haul and scoring a few valuable half-centuries for India in the tournament. But so far he has taken IPL 2015 by storm. The recently-turned 20-year-old has scored 116 runs in six matches so far at a frenetic strike rate of 218.86. He scored a match-winning 54 off 25 balls against Delhi Daredevils (DD) to help RR win from the brink of defeat. His part-time off-breaks have been useful without being outstanding, but Hooda has undoubtedly looked like a batsman for the future.

10. Shreyas Iyer, IPL 2015:

Another graduate of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2014 for India, Shreyas Iyer has been making waves for some time. An outstanding debut First-Class and List A season for Mumbai has earmarked Shreyas as a young Indian player to watch out for. So far for DD he has done well as an opener, scoring 144 runs in five matches at 28.80 and a strike-rate of 135.84. Between Shreyas and Hooda, India has two potential batting stars.

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Andre Russell’s 10 innings that turned games on its head

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(Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)