In his first full season for Hyderabad, Umran Malik attracted the world’s attention with his ability to clock 150kmph plus with ease, also forcing the Indian selectors to take notice while young left-arm pacer Mohsin Khan impressed with a lethal combination of pace and accuracy for the new Lucknow franchise.
The competition reinforced India’s rise as a fast-bowling powerhouse with the likes of Mukesh Choudhary, Simarjeet Singh (both Chennai Super Kings), Yash Dayal (Gujarat Titans) and Kuldeep Sen (Rajasthan Royals) also making their presence felt in the world’s biggest T20 league.
There were young batters too who instantly showed they belonged to the higher level. They included Mumbai Indians’ Tilak Varma who was praised by none other than his captain Rohit Sharma, who called the southpaw an India material.
Then there was Jitesh Sharma who drew praise from India great Virender Sehwag with his exploits as a wicketkeeper batter for Punjab Kings. His team failed to make the play-offs again but he made the most of the opportunity.
The other uncapped batters who may not be new to the IPL but had a memorable season included Hyderabad’s Rahul Tripathi, who was unfortunate to miss out on an India call-up and Abhishek Sharma, who excelled as an opener.
Hardik makes his case for future India captaincy
Before the start of the IPL, there were serious questions marks over the star all-rounder’s fitness but by the end of it, he not only ticked most of the boxes with bat and ball, but also emerged as an astute leader who could captain India in the future.
Having not played since India’s early exit at the T20 World Cup last year, Hardik silenced all his critics after facing a lot of flak for his fitness and for not being able to bowl regularly.
He relished batting at number four, and when there was need for him to roll his arm over, he came up with vital contributions, including a match winning spell in the IPL final.
The oldies still got it
It was also a season to remember for the experienced Umesh Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik, who made yet another India comeback after excelling in the finisher’s role for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
His team Kolkata Knight Riders may have made a premature exit, but Umesh made the ball talk in the early part of the tournament, providing regular breakthroughs for his team in the powerplay.
He was never rated highly for the T20 game but this season he showed he can very much thrive in the shortest format.
Playing for the victorious Gujarat team, Saha rediscovered himself with bat as he opened alongside Shubman Gill.
Left out of the Indian Test team, Saha had a point to prove and with his ability to play strokes all around the ground, he helped Gujarat get off to a flier on a number of occasions.
COVID struck IPL again but BCCI ensured smooth conduct
After the pandemic, it was the first IPL that was held in India in its entirety with the BCCI pulling off a challenging task to stage 74 games in over two months, 14 more than the last edition following the addition of two new teams.
It did face a few hiccups with Delhi Capitals reporting multiple cases in their camp, forcing the board to reschedule a few games.
However, with the COVID situation in control in the country, there was never any threat to the tournament even after an outbreak in the Delhi franchise.