Has IPL overshadowed domestic cricket as the benchmark for Team India’s selection?

Players like Devdutt Padikkal and Chetan Sakariya, who had impressed in the domestic circuit, got a national selection boost due to IPL and will be off to Sri Lanka in July to represent India.

Has IPL overshadowed domestic cricket as the benchmark for Team India’s selection?
Six uncapped players have broken into India's limited overs squad and IPL seems to have proved vital to their selection. (Photo credit: AFP)

The squad for India’s tour to Sri Lanka was announced by the All-India Senior Selection Committee of the BCCI late Thursday night. 20 players alongside five net bowlers have been picked. Opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan has been named the captain while Bhuvneshwar Kumar will don the role of the vice-captain of the team during the tour. Prithvi Shaw has got a call back into the limited-overs squad. But what is remarkable is the presence of six uncapped players in the team.

Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Chakravarthy and Chetan Sakariya have broken into the Indian squad. Chakravarthy had been selected during England’s limited-overs series earlier this year but could not make the cut due to fitness issues.

What has facilitated the entry of these players into the Indian squad?

More than their performance in domestic cricket, what has pushed them into the Indian team is their stints in the Indian Premier League. All six of them garnered immense attention once their IPL franchises gave them the go-ahead and they succeeded in impressing the selectors.

Padikkal had made his Ranji Trophy debut back in 2018, but the season didn’t go as planned. He was dropped after a string of low scores. He debuted in Vijay Hazare Trophy the next year but was not consistent initially. But with a century against Saurashtra did the youngster stamp his dominance in the domestic circuit.

That same year, he scored a 60-ball 122 against Andhra in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and was the highest scorer in the tournament. Next year, he won the Emerging Player of the Year Award in IPL while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Padikkal is now the team’s first-choice opener.

Innings Runs Average
First-class 29 907 34.88
List A 20 1387 86.88
T20 (Domestic) 18 798 44.33
IPL 21 668 33.4

 

Ruturaj Gaikwad was impressive in his Vijay Hazare debut, in the 2017 season, when he scored a century against Himachal Pradesh. Next year, he was bought by Chennai Super Kings. Although he was benched for two successive seasons, he debuted in yellow in 2020 and was one of the few consistent performers towards Chennai’s fag end of the tournament.

In IPL 2021 as well, after getting off on a bad note, Gaikwad came back in form and built strong opening partnerships with Faf du Plessis.

Innings  Runs  Average 
First-class  21 1349 38.54
List A  59 2681 47.87
T20 (Domestic)  33 977 29.6
IPL  13 400 36.36

 

Nitish Rana had made his Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali debut in the 2012-13 season. He finished his debut Ranji Trophy season of 2015-16 as Delhi’s highest run-scorer at an average of 50.63 that included a century. He was bought by Mumbai Indians that year and picked up his big-hitting skills from there.

Three years later Kolkata Knight Riders purchased him. During the initial matches this season, he donned the orange cap.

Innings  Runs  Average 
First-class  38 2266 41.2
List A 58 1940 41.27
T20 (Domestic) 55 1208 21.96
IPL 67 1638 28.24

 

Krishnappa Gowtham was initially seen as a T20 specialist, but then in the 2016-17 season of Ranji Trophy, he bagged 18 wickets for Karnataka in the first six matches. Next year, he earned a place in the India A squad and in 2018, he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals.

Gowtham has also represented the Punjab Kings and was bought this year by Chennai to boost the team’s all-round capabilities. He has 186 runs in 24 matches, and a strike rate of 169.1.

Matches  Wickets  Average
First-class  42 166 23.98
List A  47 70 28.14
T20 (Domestic)  38 28 23.42
IPL 24 13 43.23

 

The best factor about Varun Chakravarthy was his ability to chip in with wickets in every match that he played in the domestic circuit. He was bought by Kolkata in the 2019 auctions. He played just one match that season, but the next year, he bowled a spell of 5/20 against the Delhi Capitals which propelled him to the good books of the selectors.

Matches  Wickets  Average 
First-class 1 1 105
List A 9 22 16.68
IPL  21 25 24.4

 

Chetan Sakariya was very impressive in his Ranji Trophy debut in the 2018-19 season. In his first match against Gujarat, he picked up five wickets. After consistent performances in the domestic circle, he was picked up by Rajasthan this year. With his consistent performance, he soon became the apple of the eye of experts who constantly revered him.

Matches  Wickets  Average 
First-class  15 41 34.07
List A  7 10 40.7
T20 (Domestic) 16 28 15.1
IPL 7 7 31.71

 

Why are IPL performances important?

As the stats say, all of these cricketers have performed better in the domestic circuit than in the IPL. But could just the domestic performances have given them a chance to don India’s jersey?

There are multiple cricketers who have produced blistering performances with the bat and the ball throughout their careers in domestic cricket but could not make it into the Indian dressing room. There are still several of them who are waiting to get one chance to prove themselves beyond their domestic teams.

IPL has thus provided these players with the platform that has raised them to a level where the selectors look at them as probable options to represent India in absence of its senior players. It now depends on them to prove their mettle as and when they get a chance in the Sri Lanka series and prove the selectors’ decisions right.

 

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