Dhawan one of the most consistent performers
As the dust settles down on the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League, Bikash Mohapatra finds out that just a few Indians left a mark on the cash-rich tournament.
The fifth edition of the Indian Premier League witnessed a disturbing trend.
The franchises were mostly dependent on their foreign recruits to deliver. The fact that two foreign players yet again won the Orange Cap (Chris Gayle) and the Purple Cap (Morne Morkel) and a plethora of them dominated the batting and bowling charts reiterated the tournament's over-dependence on internationals.
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Considering the IPL is a domestic tournament, aimed at unearthing and encouraging home grown talent, this isn't a very good sign.
However, while there were just a few youngsters who impressed, thereby defeating the purpose of the tournament, there were top class Indian performances. Most of them came from seasoned campaigners like Gautam Gambhir (590 runs), Virender Sehwag (495 runs), Rahul Dravid (462 runs) and Zaheer Khan (17 wickets).
Rediff.com takes a look at the select few promising Indians in the tournament.
Shikhar Dhawan (Deccan Chargers)
To be fair to him, Shikhar Dhawan is one of the most consistent performers in the IPL.
Playing in Mumbai Indians' colours in the first three seasons, the Delhi batsman totalled 762 runs in 39 matches.
After joining Deccan Chargers ahead of Season IV, he further impressed. In his first season with the Hyderabad-based franchise, Dhawan scored 400 runs in 15 matches to finish 11th in the list of top run scorers.
However, it was his contribution in the just-concluded edition that deserves special mention, more so because his team struggled throughout the tournament.
Dhawan aggregated 569 runs in 15 matches (@ 40.64) to finish as third highest scorer in the competition, behind Chris Gayle (733 runs) and Gambhir.
Despite excelling at the domestic level Dhawan has struggled when it comes to his place in the national squad. However, if his performance in IPL V is anything to go by, he definitely has more to contribute for Team India.
At 26, age is still in his side.
Rahane proved a point
Having amassed runs galore in various domestic tournaments over the years, Ajinkya Rahane has time and again proved that he is a batsman in the classical mould, a perfect player for the Indian Test team.
However, his prowess in the game's shortest version was hitherto unproven.
He did not get ample opportunities with Mumbai Indians, managing to play just 10 games in the first two seasons. A move to Rajasthan Royals provided him the requisite platform. And under the able leadership of Rahul Dravid, the young opener blossomed.
An aggregate of 560 runs in 16 matches enabled him finish fourth in the list of top scorers. More importantly, it sent out a message, loud and clear, that Rahane is an equally good player in the shorter versions.
An unbeaten 103 against Royal Challengers Bangalore was the highlight of what was a hugely successful tournament for him.
At 23, a regular place in the national set up seems imminent.
Mandeep Singh was the tournament's rising star
The most consistent player in a hugely inconsistent team, IPL V was a breakthrough for Mandeep Singh in more ways than one.
Among the individual contributions that ensured Kings XI Punjab a respectable mid-table finish, Mandeep's was the stand-out.
The 20-year-old aggregated 432 runs from 16 matches -- more than he had played in his first three seasons (12) -- to finish tenth in the list of top scorers.
His efforts ensured he was named the rising star of the tournament.
The young opener may have been overlooked for India A's upcoming tour of the West Indies. However, going by his performance, it won't take him long to make the cut in the national team.
Yadav, Awana were fast and consistent
Morne Morkel may have walked away with the Purple Cap, but if there was someone who benefited immensely from bowling in tandem with the tall South African it was Umesh Yadav.
It was a breakthrough effort from the 24-year-old who plays for Vidarbha.
Having impressed in patches during the West Indies' tour of India late last year and the national team's following tour Down Under, Yadav seized the opportunity in this edition.
In the 17 matches he played, the bowler helped himself to 19 wickets, maintaining a good economy rate throughout (7.42). He ended the tournament as the fourth highest wicket-taker.
It was known that Yadav could generate considerable pace. However, it was his consistency, even when Delhi Daredevils floundered as a team that grabbed the eyeballs.
He's in for a long haul with the national team.
Parvinder Awana (Kings XI Punjab)
One of the most consistent bowlers in domestic cricket in the last season, Parvinder Awana happens to be the winner of the Scorpio Speedster contest in 2004 -- launched to unearth India's fastest bowler.
The Delhi player, who took to cricket only after he turned 18, thereafter went to Australia to hone his skills. He has since been impressive for the Delhi Ranji team.
A place in the IPL was hard to come, though. Having taken part in the trials for Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of season four, Awana failed to make the cut. However, his impressive domestic record ensured Kings XI snapped him ahead of season V.
The 25-year-old responded in style, picking 17 wickets in just 12 matches to finish has the seventh highest wicket-taker in the tournament.
His ability to generate pace and maintain good control makes him a future prospect.