IPL, since it’s inception in 2008, has given many uncapped Indian players a platform to showcase their skills and some of them like Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal made their debuts for the national side on the back of their IPL performances and became regular players for the Indian team.
Let us have look at some lesser-known Indian players who have a chance of being picked in IPL 2021 auctions:
1) Khrievitso Kense
As cricket has grown in India, we have seen small towns and villages produce cricketers who ended up playing for the national team. And now non-traditional regions like Jammu & Kashmir and Kerala have started producing quality cricketers, some of them have even managed to play for the national team. Now with BCCI adding new teams from the northeast in domestic cricket, we are glimpsing some talented players coming through from those states. One such player to make his name is Khrievitso Kense, 16-year-old leg-spinner from Nagaland.
Khrievitso Kense hogged the limelight when on his debut for Nagaland in age-group cricket, he took 5/68 against a strong Uttar Pradesh U16 team in the pre-quarterfinals of Vijay Merchant U16 trophy in 2018-19 season. Earlier this year, Kense was included in Nagaland team for Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and impressed straightaway taking 7 wickets in 4 matches with an average of 12 and at an economy rate of 5.47. Although against fellow Northeast teams, his bowling was impressive.
Kense was recently called by Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals for trials before IPL auctions where he was impressive and he also earned praise from Nagaland coach Kanwaljit Singh.
Picking Khrievitso Kense will also mean that the IPL franchise can inflate it’s supporter base as no Nagaland cricketer has ever featured in the IPL.
2) Shahrukh Khan
Not the Bollywood actor, but there is another Shahrukh Khan who has been making news in the cricket field in recent times. In Vijay Hazare Trophy 2019-20, Shahrukh Khan scored 244 runs at an impressive average of 48.8 and at a strike rate of 125.77 and impressed in the role of a finisher for Tamil Nadu. In Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy 2020-21, Shahrukh Khan was impressive as he scored 88 runs at a strike rate of 220 in 4 innings, being dismissed only once.
Shahrukh Khan has been a consistent performer in Tamil Nadu Premier League, where he has been impressive for Lyca Kovai Kings and Madurai Super Giants.
With teams lacking Indian players who can do the finishing and power-hitting role, Shahrukh Khan would be one of the players some IPL franchises would be having an eye for in the forthcoming auctions.
3) Vishnu Solanki
Thinking of a player hitting helicopter shots, last-ball six to take his team to a victory, most people would imagine former Indian captain MS Dhoni, but in the recent in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, Vishnu Solanki was doing the similar thing.
In the quarter-final, playing for Baroda against Haryana, Baroda needed 15 off 3 balls. Solanki hit 6,4 and 6 off the next 3 balls to finish with an unbeaten 71 and give Baroda a win and take them through to the semis. In the final, when Baroda was struggling at 36/6, Solanki played a well-measured knock of 49 runs to take Baroda to 120/9 to give the bowlers something to bowl at.
Vishnu Solanki scored 267 runs with an average of 53.4 and at a strike rate of 128.36 in recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Overall Vishnu Solanki has scored 807 runs in 41 T20 matches at 35.08 average and SR of 128.91.
With his finishing skills and ability to bat well under pressure, Vishnu Solanki could be eyed by some IPL franchises in the upcoming auctions.
4) Venkatesh Iyer
With India lacking batsmen who can bowl, especially lacking batsmen who can bowl medium pace, Venkatesh Iyer can be the guy franchised would want to have in their squad. The Madhya Pradesh allrounder was impressive in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.
Venkatesh Iyer scored 227 runs in 5 matches with an impressive average of 75.66 and at a strike rate of 149.34, including scores of 87* against Goa and 88* against Saurashtra besides taking 2 wickets with his part-time medium-pace bowling.
Iyet has been impressive in limited-overs cricket in domestics and scored runs at an average of 44.3 in List A and 36.2 in T20 at impressive strike rates of 90.14 and 137.64 respectively.
5) Manimaran Siddharth
Manimaran Siddharth was a part of Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020 and with him unable to get a game last year in IPL, the left-arm spinner from Tamil Nadu was released by KKR.
Even Tamil Nadu didn’t include him in their XI initially in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, but when given a chance in the final, Manimaran Siddharth took it with both hands and returned with figures of 4/20 off 4 overs in the final against Baroda to help Tamil Nadu restrict Baroda to 120/9 after having them at 36/6 at one stage with Siddharth taking 4 of those six wickets.
Manimaran Siddharth has picked 16 wickets in 6 T20 matches at a staggering average of just 6.81 with an outstanding economy of 4.95 and should be in the eyes of IPL franchises in the upcoming auction.
6) Lukman Meriwala
Lukman Meriwala, a left-arm pacer from Baroda, had a remarkable Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he took 15 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 13.26 with an economy of 6.5. His best performance came against Chattisgarh where he took 5 wickets for just 8 runs.
Overall, Meriwala has picked 72 wickets in 44 T20 matches at an average of 14.54 and an economy of 6.72. Meriwala has an impressive record in FC and List A cricket as well and could consider himself unlucky not to be a part of IPL till now despite playing for Baroda since 2013.
Meriwala bowls at a speed of around 135 kph and can also swing the ball. Being a left-arm pacer, Meriwala could be eyed by a few franchises in the upcoming IPL auctions.
7) Mujtaba Yousuf
Mujtaba Yousuf, 18-year-old left-arm pacer from Jammu & Kashmir, was recently called by Mumbai Indians for trials ahead of the IPL auctions.
Mujtaba Yousuf took 5 wickets in 4 matches in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at an average of 15.8 with an impressive economy of 5.64. His best bowling came against Uttar Pradesh where he took 3/14 off his 4 overs.
8) Chetan Sakariya
Left-arm pacer from Saurashtra took 12 wickets in 5 matches in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with an average of 8.16 and at an extraordinary economy rate of 4.90, with his best performance of 5/11 coming against Vidarbha.
Chetan Sakariya has taken 28 wickets in 16 T20 matches this at an average of 15.1 and at an economy of 7.08. He has also trained at MRF pace bowling academy which helped him add more pace to his bowling.
Along with Lukman Meriwala, Chetan Sakariya will be another left-arm pacer who will be eyed by IPL franchises in the upcoming auctions.
9) Prerak Mankad
India has usually struggled for pace bowling all-rounders but recently they seemed to have found a solution with the emergence of Hardik Pandya. Still, India has not managed to produce many quality pace-bowling all-rounders, as compared to some other countries. However, in recent editions, the franchises have been providing chances to Indian pace bowling all-rounders. One such all-rounder who would be looking for an opportunity is Prerak Mankad from Saurashtra, who shares his surname with former Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad, However, both are not related.
In the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Prerak Mankad scored 205 runs in 5 matches with an average of 51.25 and at an impressive strike rate of 181.41, besides taking 6 wickets. His best all-round performance came against Vidarbha where Mankad scored 59 runs off 26 balls and took 4 wickets with his medium-pace bowling.
Overall with an average of 30.04 in List A and 32.16 in T20 with an amazing strike rate of 98.76 and 141.91 respectively, besides having bowling average of 33.05 in List A and 27.85 in T20, Prerak Mankad has shown that he can play both the finisher and all-rounder role well in domestic cricket.
10) Karan Sharma
Not to be confused with veteran leg-spinner Karn Sharma, attacking batsman Karan Sharma from Uttar Pradesh, who made his debut in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2031 can be a player to look out for.
In Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Karan Sharma scored 168 runs in 5 matches with an average of 42 at an impressive strike rate of 163.10 and impressed with his hitting ability in the powerplays, scoring 55 off 30 balls against Railways and 68* off 36 balls against Tripura. He also bowls part-time off-spin and took 2/23 against Karnataka.
While he is less likely than others on this list to get a bid, but IPL franchises might be on the lookout for an explosive uncapped batsman, who can bat in different positions and can also bowl part-time spin, Karan Sharma might be able to attract interests in the upcoming auctions.