Kerala Lads at IPL 2017: Hits and Misses

Thiruvananthapuram: IPL 2017 will be remembered for the nail-biting final match and some spectacular performances by players. Unlike the previous editions, the recently-concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) saw cricketers from Kerala take the centre stage with their remarkable performances. While Basil Thampi, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer and Robin Uthappa proved their mettle in the T20 format, players like Vishnu Vinod and Sachin Baby had a forgettable outing in the IPL 2017.

Basil Thampi

Basil Thampi

The Emerging Player Award to pacer Basil Thampi is a well deserved one and it underscores his potential as a cricketer. The honour is also a testimony to his growth as a medium pacer in the Kerala Ranji team.

The right-arm seamer was picked by the Gujarat Lions for 85 lakh rupees in the IPL auction. When Australian fast bowler Andrew Tye was ruled out of the IPL due to a shoulder injury, Basil shouldered the responsibility of leading the bowling unit of the team. Basil’s strength has been his ability to bowl 145-plus. His accuracy in length, especially while bowling Yorkers, has been lauded by former players and experts.

From 12 matches (44.4 overs) in the IPL 2017, this Ernakulam-born lad took 11 wickets for 424 runs. His best bowling performance is 3/29 against Mumbai Indians. He has an economy rate of 9.49 and strike rate of 24.3.

Sanju Samson

Sanju Samson

One of the promising wicketkeeper-batsmen in the country, Sanju scored 386 runs, including a swashbuckling century and two 50s, on an average of 27.57 from 14 matches. He has a staggering strike rate of 141.39. His fielding and batting were exceptional in the tournament. But in a few decisive matches, Sanju’s inability to be consistent badly affected the prospects of Delhi Daredevils (DD) in this edition of the IPL.

DD’s fortunes in the tournament hinged on the performances of Sanju, Karun Nair and Rishabh Pant. Foreign players like Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson and Marlon Samuels were unable to find their rhythm in any department of the game. So the team’s expectations on Sanju skyrocketed after he scored his first T20 century in the IPL. Meanwhile, the Thiruvananthapuram-lad could manage his transformation as the cornerstone of the batting to an extent.

 Karun Nair

Karun Nair

The Karnataka Ranji player has his roots in Kerala. Born in Jodhpur to parents Kaladharan Nair and Prema Nair – hailing from Chengannur in Alappuzha district – Karun scored 281 runs in IPL 2017 from 14 matches on an average of 21.61. His highest score was 64 and has a strike rate of 124.33. He led the bowling department of DD in the absence of Zaheer Khan, but apart from his personal performance, he couldn’t lift the game of his teammates.

Shreyas Santosh Iyer

Shreyas Iyer

Playing for Mumbai in Ranji Trophy, 22-year-old Shreyas Iyer’s parents were born and brought up in Mumbai, though his ancestors were from Thrissur. In 12 matches, he scored 338 runs; 96 being the highest score. He has a healthy batting average (33.80) and a strike rate of 139.09. Shreyas hit two 50s in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils.

 Robin Uthappa

Robin uthappa

Another cricketer with a Kerala connection, Robin Uthappa plays for Karnataka. He plays for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the IPL. From 13 matches, Uthappa scored 387 runs for KKR and his highest being 87. He has an average of 32.25 and strike rate of 166.81.  The wicketkeeper-batsman was reliable for the team throughout the tournament.

Players Who Fizzled Out

Vishnu Vinod

Wicketkeeper-batsman Vishnu Vinod got a call from Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the 11th hour of the tournament. But unfortunately, he could not capitalize on the very few opportunities given to him. From three matches, he could score only 19 runs with a poor average of 6.33 and strike rate of 73.07. He opened the batting for the RCB, and as a wicketkeeper, he got two victims behind the stumps. However, his IPL future seems to be uncertain because of the flurry of new talents, who emerge every season.

Sachin Baby (1)

Left-hander Sachin Baby had a poor IPL compared to his previous outings for RCB. From three matches, he could amass just 15 runs with the highest score being 12. As the RCB finished at the lowest rung of the point table, it’s needless to comb for the reasons behind Baby’s disappointing performance. Perhaps, this could be the swan song of the Kerala player in the IPL.