With The Indian Premier League (IPL) planned to begin on April 9, All teams set up to bring their squads up to gear with aim of winning the competition. With new established named and unknown players, everyone is presented with the opportunity to step up and make it count in the grandest stage of them all. Today we look at the top 5 uncapped players we need to keep an eye on.
Shahrukh Khan (Punjab Kings)
Named after the Bollywood superstar, Tamil Nadu all-rounder with a base price of 20 Lakhs went to the Punjab Kings for 5.25 crores after an intense battle between the franchises. Interest in the 25-year-old rose after his strong showing in the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where Tamil Nadu went on to win the whole tournament under the leadership of captain Dinesh Karthik. The Tamil Nadu batsman hit his career-best score with an unbeaten knock of 40 runs from 19 balls as his team progressed to the semi-finals beating Himachal Pradesh by 5 wickets.
Known for his natural ability to hit the big shots, the batsmen truly proved his credentials in every opportunity that came by. He was immediately noticed when he won the best all-rounder award at Chennai Super King junior award when he was 14. Being a multi-dimensional player, He can bowl off-spin and is a fast and agile fielder. Punjab Kings has surely beefed up their middle order with his addition to their ranks.
Mohammed Azharudden (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Growing up with a bunch of cricket crazy brothers in a small town of Kerala called Thalangara, The name Ajmal was changed to Mohammed Azharuddeen by the influence of his brother Kamrudeen, a lifelong fan of the Indian legend. Carrying the hopes of his family, The Keralite batsmen stepped into the spotlight with his destructive knock against a quality Mumbai attack in the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy scoring 137 of just 54 balls. His hundred came off 37 balls which were one of the fastest behind only Rishabh Pant off 32 balls and Rohit Sharma off 35 balls.
The role played by his seven brothers cannot be undermined as all have played at the district level. Known for his natural strokeplay, The Malayalee batsman took time to come to his own, breaking into the Kerala squad six seasons ago and having underwhelming performances ever since.
But all that changed as the batsmen were promoted up the order to open the batting and playing the innings of a lifetime. Getting picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore, it's yet to be seen if he will make an able partner for fellow opener Devdutt Paddikal.
Lukman Meriwala (Delhi Capitals)
After T Natrajan great found success in cricket scripting his way through the Indian Premier League, Lukman Meriwaka from a poor rural family seems to be writing his own script as he earns his invitation to the games richest league. It was a few years ago after repeated failures to break into the club sides of Baroda, the 29-year-old dreams of making it into a cricketer was fading his way as he found his means of living as a welder. But all that changed when the gavel went down on the name of Lukman Meriwala, and the pacer was picked for his base price of 20 lakhs by Delhi Capitals
Lukman Meriwala is a left-arm fast bowler who struggled for accuracy in the early days. But with the help of his mentors, he polished up his bowling and became the leading wicket-taker in the 2013/14 T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy leading to his team Baroda lifting the trophy. Since then the pacer has shown consistent performances across the domestic cricket leagues of India. Now given the chance to take the wickets of more established names of the International game, Meriwala looks to embrace the situation and grab the opportunity with both hands.
Marco Jansen (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians have established a good scouting network that have always found raw unpolished gemstones that have turned into big match winners. Mumbai Indians were the only franchise that bid and bought South African bowler Marco Jansen for his base price of 20 lakhs. Making his domestic debut as of October 2018, The Proteas bowler has played about 10 domestic T20’s picking up 6 wickets at an economy rate of 7.80. He is also a handy batsman capable of hitting few quick runs with a high score of 47.
The Proteas pacer recently traveled with the South African Test squad for the Pakistan tour, though not receiving his test cap, he gained some valuable experience. His name was suggested to the Mumbai camp by South African skipper Quinton de Kock who vouched for his talents and Indian left-arm pacer Zaheer Khan, Head of cricket operations of Mumbai Indians surprised to see not much of a fight for the player during the auctions. With the season beginning soon, he will be another player to keep an eye on to see if the gamble pays off.
Jalaj Saxena (Punjab Kings)
Bought for his base price of 30 lakhs, Punjab kings look to have bagged an absolute steal in the buying of Jalaj Saxena. The Indore-born player is one of the most happening all-rounders playing for Kerala in the domestic leagues of India. The Kerala all-rounder had an excellent showing in the recently commenced T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with the right arm off-spinner picking up 10 wickets in 5 games at an average of 11.90.
The 33-year-old is an experienced veteran in the domestic circuits of India, having played 123 First-class matches, 99 List A matches, and 59 T20 matches. Jalaj Saxena was also part of the Delhi Capitals set up before being released this year. Known for his ability to choke the batsmen and stem the flow of runs, Saxena’s domestic record in T20 stands out as he has claimed 59 wickets at an average of just 18.20. He also adds good value with the bat being a handy lower-order batsman with a high score of 55. It is yet to be seen how Saxena’s performances fare in the hardest T20 league of all.
With only few weeks left for the competition to begin, the excitement begins to rise as new stories begin to unfold in the grandest T20 league of the World. Let us know which team you rooting for and which uncapped player you're looking forward to the most.