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Indian Premier League 2021

IPL 2021: Wisden’s uncapped team of the tournament

IPL 2021 uncapped
by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

With Chennai Super Kings pipping Kolkata Knight Riders in the final to clinch their fourth IPL title, we look at the best uncapped players of IPL 2021, clubbed into an XI.

Before we begin, a note to clarify that some of the players picked in here have made their international debuts but were uncapped when the season began, and hence were bracketed along with the rest of the uncapped players.

All stats in bold are from IPL 2021.

Ruturaj Gaikwad – Chennai Super Kings

16 matches, 635 runs @ 45.35, SR: 136.26, 1 hundred, 4 fifties, HS: 101*

The find of the tournament for many, Gaikwad turned around a poor start to his IPL career with a watershed 2021 season, ending as the top run-getter of this tournament. Midway through, he got an India cap too, but didn’t slow down, ending with a 60-ball century under his belt, and continued until CSK were crowned champions.

Devdutt Padikkal – Royal Challengers Bangalore

14 matches, 411 runs @ 31.61, SR: 125.30, 1 hundred, 1 fifty, HS: 101*

Padikkal didn’t have a great time in the UAE, but was in supreme touch in the first half of the competition, carrying on his form from the last edition to light up RCB’s powerplay overs. He stuck around for a bit more too, becoming the third-youngest IPL centurion ever, even though his strike rate dipped a bit from thereon in.

Venkatesh Iyer – Kolkata Knight Riders

10 matches, 370 runs @ 41.11, SR: 128.47, 4 fifties, HS: 67

Brendon McCullum called him ‘the big catalyst’ for KKR’s turnaround and quite a comeback that was. At the centre of it was Venkatesh Iyer’s ebullience – playing in his first season, the opener helped them get going in the powerplay, ending with the highest average and most fifties in the team. He also chipped in with some useful medium-pace – useful enough to have him touted as a potential back-up for Hardik Pandya at the T20 World Cup.

Srikar Bharat (wk) – Royal Challengers Bangalore

8 matches, 191 runs @ 38.20, SR: 122.43, 1 fifty, HS: 78*

In an RCB team that’s been desperately searching for a domestic middle-order batter over the years, Srikar Bharat emerged with a few crucial knocks, including a fifty in their final league game that was capped off with a last-ball, match-winning six. Behind the stumps, too, the wicketkeeper made his presence felt.

Rahul Tripathi – Kolkata Knight Riders

17 matches, 397 runs @ 28.35, SR: 140.28, 2 fifties, HS: 74*

Tripathi was the unheralded hero of KKR’s late climb, floating around the batting order to boost their run-rates and support some of the bigger names in the line-up. It included innings like the 74-run blitz against MI early in the UAE leg, as well as the brief cameo against Delhi that sealed their place in the final.

Nitish Rana – Kolkata Knight Riders

17 matches, 383 runs @ 29.46, SR: 121.92, two fifties, HS: 80

After starting off the year with a couple of fifties, Rana’s form fell flat, before being revived again in the UAE leg. And while he did not hit big fifties, he gave the side valuable 20s and 30s, which often was the difference between a good score and a match-winning one. He also hit the most sixes for KKR (17).

Shahbaz Ahmed – Royal Challengers Bangalore

11 matches, 7 wickets @ 13.14, ER: 6.57, BBI: 3-7;

Shahbaz’s potential was noticed by RCB enough for him to be used as a floater at No.3, and while he did not do much on the batting front, the left-arm spinner bowled neat, economical spells in the middle overs, supporting Yuzvendra Chahal, and the rest of the seamers, well.

Harshal Patel – Royal Challengers Banglaore

15 matches, 32 wickets @ 14.34, ER: 8.14, BBI: 5-27

The standout bowling star of the tournament, Harshal’s years of toil bore fruit with a revitalised bowling style, more variations, while still maintaining the same, aggressive mindset. His cutters were successful both in India and UAE, and he came close to breaking the all-time record for most wickets in a season.

Varun Chakravarthy – Kolkata Knight Riders

14 matches, 18 wickets @ 24.88, ER: 6.58, BBI: 3-13

His success in the 2020 season continued this year, even taking him to the T20 World Cup squad. Carrying a bagful of variations, he kept mixing up things while maintaining tight channels – this year, no one picked up more wickets at a lesser economy rate than him, making him the most successful spinner in IPL 2021.

Avesh Khan – Delhi Capitals

16 matches, 24 wickets @ 18.75, ER: 7.37, BBI: 3-13

Avesh has evolved significantly from his U19 days – when he was all about pace – bringing accuracy, variations and a whole lot of consistency to his bowling, incorporating a new set of tricks, including a vicious yorker. He was only behind Harshal in the wickets tally while having a better economy rate.

Arshdeep Singh – Punjab Kings

12 matches, 18 wickets @ 19.00, ER: 8.27, BBI: 5-32

The 22-year-old was KL Rahul’s trusted bowler at the death, cleverly restricting batters with his nagging lines while picking up wickets in clusters. Unafraid to keep deliveries in hitting range, he ensured PBKS had something bright to look back at after a disappointing season overall.

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