The extravaganza of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Auction is done and dusted and the clamour and joy has died down. Heated discussions on Jaydev Unadkat, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul becoming millionaires are still doing rounds on social media as are debates on who will skipper the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team and if Chennai Super Kings (CSK) missed a trick by letting Ravichandran Ashwin go.
Amidst all the noise, there are the uncapped Indian stars, who wait with bated breaths to see if any franchises would bid for them. While the capped players are more than likely to get a bid, uncapped, fringe players sometimes get a raw deal.
IPL is all about these youngsters who become overnight heroes, and their careers could take a massive twist once they enter this glam league. We often talk about the Indians so much that sometimes we forget how big an IPL deal is for little known foreign players. The likes of D’Arcy Short and Jofra Archer hit headlines way before the auctions got underway but there are a few others who haven't quite managed to make people sit up and take notice, but did well enough for the IPL scouts to send back a positive report. Here are five little known foreign players who bagged a good deal this IPL.
A swashbuckling opening batsman from South Africa, Cameron Delport loves to tonk the ball around, and can also bowl military medium pace. He is quite a good hitter and has made his name in T20 leagues in England, Australia, West Indies and Pakistan.
His ability to go bonkers in the powerplay overs is a much sought after trait and this has helped him fetch deals from across the globe. The left-hander is tailor-made for T20s and it wasn't quite a surprise when Kolkata Knight Riders looked to beef up their top order with Delport. The Rs 30 lakh spent on him is quite worth it.
The KKR line-up is short on foreign personnel with the bat and this further improves chances for Delport to get a few games this season. His T20 record is formidable, with 3,206 runs in 137 matches at a strike rate of 138.48. This includes 17 half-centuries and three hundreds. If he can get going for KKR, their shortcomings in other departments could well be masked.
A Big Bash League (BBL) product, Ben Dwarshius is a handy lower order batsman and a left-arm seamer capable of breaking partnerships. He represents the Sydney Sixers franchise and has put in some impressive performances over the past three seasons to make a name for himself.
January has been a big month for Dwarshius as he earned a call-up to the Australian team for the T20Is against England and New Zealand while also getting a Rs 1.4 crore IPL deal from Preity Zinta's Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
For a line-up a touch short on quick bowlers, Dwarshius is a good addition. He brings all qualities expected of a T20 bowler and can even smack a few sixes late in the innings. Dwarshius may not play a lot unless he really impresses when given a go although it favours him that a franchise short on fast bowlers picked him.
A 16-year-old off-break bowler from Afghanistan, Zadran was picked up by the Kings XI Punjab, who seemed to be quite eager to bring the youngster to their squad. He is the youngest player in the tournament’s history and could well rewrite a few records when he gets to play.
He made his Afghanistan ODI debut last year against Ireland after a slew of impressive performances at Under-19 level. The off-spinner lived up to his hype when he helped his side to a 138-run win with a match haul of 4/24 that fetched him a 'Man of the Match' award on debut.
At the Punjab franchise, Zadran will get an opportunity to work alongside Ashwin and could learn quite a few things from the premier Indian spinner. The Rs 4 crore deal is yet to sink in but with a composure that belies his age, Zadran could well be concentrating on making his IPL debut memorable.
An Australian capped player, Billy Stanlake is known for his searing pace and ability to ruffle up the best in the business. With IPL franchises preferring extreme pace, Stanlake getting a deal wasn't quite surprising.
His stint with the Adelaide Strikers in the BBL, a tenure which saw him grab eyeballs with his economical, yet effective opening spells, helped him get into the scout’s radar. At 204 cm, he is the tallest player in Australia's international cricket history.
His call-up to the ODI side based on sheer talent last year was a tad surprising but over the course of the year he is proving to be a handy player, especially in T20 cricket. With 21 wickets in 20 matches at an economy of 7.27 and an average of 25.76, Stanlake can now lay seige in the Indian Premier League for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). Incidentally, this isn't his first IPL as he was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) last year but did not get a game.
The story of the IPL auction, Sandeep Lamichhane, a 17-year-old Nepalese leg-spinner was picked up by Delhi Daredevils for the base price of Rs 20 lakh, making him the first cricketer from the Himalayan country. That he plays for a team that does not have an international status makes his deal even more significant.
Associate players are gaining more recognition in the IPL and Lamichhane’s success story will inspire a few more kids from lesser nations to take up this sport. Despite his age, Lamichhane has a wealth of experience that stems from interactions with Shahid Afridi and Michael Clarke. The bond with Clarke might well have paved for his IPL deal.
In 2016, his bowling in the Hong Kong T20 blitz caught Clarke's attention. He was invited to train under the former Australia captain with Western Suburbs in the Sydney grade competition, and Clarke might have put in a word or two to Ricky Ponting at Delhi Daredevils. This IPL could be a memorable one for Lamichhane if he can showcase his varied skill-sets.