Indian Premier League has always produced opportunities for the youngsters to make it to their national teams, not only for Indians but cricketers across different countries. It has also provided a platform for the veterans to gain their form and make a comeback after getting dropped from their national teams.
This season of the T20 extravaganza will be a bit different from the past years as the T20 World Cup is approaching which is scheduled to take place in Australia a few months after the IPL. The selectors of various cricket boards will keep an eagle's eye on the performance of the players they would like in their set up.
Also see – World Test Championship Schedule
Here is a list 5 cricketers that can use IPL 2020 to become a part of the mega event.
#5 Shubman Gill
The Punjab cricketer is a part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) set-up for the past two years in the IPL, signed by them at INR 1.8 crores in the IPL 2018 auction. Since then, Shubman Gill has been a routine inclusion in their starting XI, though he spent limited time in the middle as he mostly came in at No. 6 or No. 7. Ahead of the IPL 2020 auction, KKR discarded two of their regular top-order batsmen in Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa and left an opener's spot up for grabs to partner the swashbuckling Sunil Narine.
The 20-year-old has played all his professional cricket as a specialist opener and is currently the most preferred batsman to take up that role for the Kolkata-based franchise as well. This will hand him an opportunity to convert the 20s and 30s into big scores, thereby utilising his fortune to the fullest.
In the Indian road to the T20 World Cup, Shikhar Dhawan has been unfortunate to suffer a series of injuries and the spot for a back-up opener is still wide open. With Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul as the sure starters, Gill has a chance to get in as their substitute.
Note: All statistics in the article are as of January 26, 2020
#4 Chris Green
Chris Green is an off-spinner who is also a useful batsman, mostly batting in the lower order for his domestic teams. He has been an experienced campaigner in T20s, who is used to playing franchise cricket all around the globe. In the Big Bash League in Australia, Green represents Sydney Thunder.
The 26-year-old is an accurate spinner with his strength being to slow down the scoring rate as he mostly targets the stumps. The slightly off-the-ball bowling action and subtle variations in pace adds to his advantage, thereby make it tougher for the opposition batters to smack him. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bagged him for INR 20 lakhs ahead of the IPL 2020. Though he is undergoing a 3-month ban for an illegal bowling action at present, Chris Green will still be a handy addition to the KKR set-up.
The Australian World Cup squad has only Adam Zampa as an assured spin bowling option and there is a need for one to partner him or act as a back-up, thereby creating an opportunity for the youngster.
#3 Tom Banton
Tom Banton is a new-age wicket-keeper batsman who got the attention in the last season of the English T20 tournament, where he ended up as the second-highest run-getter, piling up 549 runs from 13 matches at a staggering strike-rate of over 160. In the tournament, he also scored a 51-ball century against Kent and 4 fifties for Somerset.
After his heroics in the T20 Blast, the 21-year-old cricketer started getting call-ups from other T20 league franchises with one of the major signings being Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League. Roped-in by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for INR 1 crore, Banton is set to join the T20 extravaganza to showcase his talent.
Banton represented England in the T20I series against New Zealand last year but failed to impress the selectors with only 54 runs from 3 matches and lost his place from the side. Coming to their World Cup squad, England has settled wicket-keeping options in Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow but going by the capabilities of the youngster, he might book his spot as a pure batsman.
#2 Shreyas Gopal
Shreyas Gopal has been around for a while in the IPL having a total of 31 matches under his belt. The 26-year-old leggie has scalped 38 wickets at an economy rate of 7.50 and has been a go-to bowler for Rajasthan Royals (RR) for the past two years. Last year, Gopal stole the show for RR as he scalped 20 wickets and ended up as their most successful bowler.
The Karnataka cricketer has been going through a purple patch, which he displayed in the last season of Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he ended up as the second-highest wicket-getter, thereby helping Karnataka win the title.
The Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been in search of a specialist bowler who can bowl 4 overs and bat in the lower-order. The players tried out have been Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, and Krunal Pandya, who are all finger spinners and none of them have sealed their place yet.
This has often made it tough for India to play both Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav together as they affect the batting depth of the team. Being a leg-spinner who can bat, Shreyas Gopal's World Cup selection might be on the cards, provided he continues his top form in the upcoming edition of IPL.
#1 Chris Lynn
Having gone unsold in the initial phase of the IPL 2020 auctions, Mumbai Indians finally cashed in on the opportunity and bagged him at his base price of INR 2 crores. Chris Lynn turned out to be the biggest bargain buy of the season as he joins the 4-time champions.
In an IPL career of 41 matches so far, the Australian batsman has scored 1280 runs at a strike rate of 140.65 and was shockingly released by his previous franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders. The 29-year-old now finds himself in batting-friendly home conditions of Wankhede, which are tailor-made for his batting style.
Though the Australian World Cup team has a settled opening pair in David Warner and skipper Aaron Finch, the spot for a back-up option is still open. The reputation that Chris Lynn possesses, if he performs well in the forthcoming edition of IPL, he might even find a spot at number 3 for the Kangaroos with an all-important T20 world cup approaching, leaving alone the substitute option.