The Indian Premier League is not just a cricket league, but it is beyond that. It is an emotion which runs through the month of April and May every year. The tagline of IPL in the initial days was “Manoranjan Ka Baap,” which loosely translated to “Father of all kinds of entertainment.” Few years down the line, the tagline changed, and it became “ye hai India ka tyohar,” which positioned IPL as a festival in India. Undoubtedly, it is a festival. It brings a set of joy and happiness to us. Every cricket fan, not just in India but around the world, waits for IPL every year.
IPL has provided us so many stories to read, watch and listen to in the last 12 years. We have seen some of the best players of our era playing for the same team. We have seen players who got no coverage while playing domestic cricket, and IPL made them a household name. It has provided us some of the best rags to riches stories every year constantly.
We are again approaching the same story. Exactly ten days from today, there would be an auction for this year’s IPL. Though this would be a mini-auction, over 1097 players have registered for the auction (Read more about recent updates in IPL).
Most of the franchises will be targeting Indian players. Due to the lack of cricket in the past few months, franchises will be looking at the performance of players in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy(SMAT). We have made a list of the top five bowlers from the SMAT 2021, who will surely go for big numbers in the auction.
1. Lukman Meriwala
He is a left-arm medium-fast bowler from Baroda. The 29-year-old paceman has been playing for Baroda since 2013. He was also the highest wicket-taker in the 2013-14 season of SMAT.
This year, his tally of 15 wickets were the second-highest in the season. His 5 for 8 against Chhattisgarh was one of the best bowling performances in the tournament.
He removed both the openers of Punjab in the semi-final game of the tournament. Punjab never recovered from this early setback and lost the match by 25 runs.
A good left-arm Indian fast bowler is a rare commodity. It is the reason why Meriwala can go for big numbers in the auction.
2. Ashutosh Aman
The 34-year-old left-arm spinner made his debut for Bihar in the Ranji Trophy in the 2018-19 season. He ended the tournament with the most number of wickets under his name. He surpassed Bishan Singh Bedi’s record of 65 wickets by taking 68 wickets that season.
In the same season, he made his T20 debut for Bihar in the SMAT. Later, he was also named in the 2019-20 season of the Duleep Trophy.
This year, he was the highest wicket-taker in SMAT. He took 16 wickets in 6 matches with an average of 7.62.
In a span of two years, he has achieved a lot in domestic cricket. Will he be getting a contract in IPL this year?
3. Arzan Nagwaswalla
Another left-arm fast bowler from Gujarat. Nagwaswalla is a 23-year-old bowler who took 6 for 19 in the very first game for Gujarat against Maharashtra this season.
It was the best bowling performance this season. He has been the best performer for Gujarat in every domestic competition. He also had a good Ranji season last year. He picked up 41 wickets for his team.
He can be a good addition to a team like RCB which will be looking for few young Indian talents.
4. Chetan Sakariya
He has been trained at the MRF pace academy. The 22-year left-arm pace bowler from Saurashtra had a good season this year.
He took 12 wickets in 5 matches with a strike rate of 10. He took a five-wicket haul in his debut in the Ranji Trophy.
Sakariya is born and brought up in Vartej, a village in the Bhavnagar district of the Saurashtra region in Gujarat. His father used to drive tempo ferrying goods a few years back. Chetan has two younger siblings. His goal at the moment is to get a big house for his family and support his sister’s education.
If he gets a decent amount in the auction this year, he will surely get a vast amount of limelight.
5. Atit Sheth
He is another player from Baroda who was one of the reasons behind Baroda’s qualification to the finals of SMAT.
He took 11 wickets in 8 matches this season with an average of 18.64. His best performance came against Maharashtra when he took 4 for 17.
Atit made his first-class debut for Baroda in the year 2015. He along with Meriwala rattled the star-studded side of Mumbai in a Ranji match in 2017. Both of them took a fifer each, and Mumbai’s batsmen were dismissed for under 200 runs in their 500th Ranji game.