Shivam Dube is having a great IPL season this year
Action in this year’s IPL is now heating up – as many as five teams are on five points. If the early signs are anything to go by, the teams that make it to the top 4 could well be decided right at the end of the league stage.
Gujarat Titans (GT) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) have made impressive starts to the season. The most heartening fact is that a number of Indian players have made a statement in the early stage of the tournament.
There were concerns around the quality of the league when the teams were increased to 10. But so far, the Indian talent has shone brightly.
Another interesting feature of the 2022 IPL season, so far, has been the improvement shown by certain players from the previous editions of the league. These players are worthy of great admiration for their persistence and hard work.
Here, we take a look at 5 such players who have taken their game to another level in the 15th season of the IPL.
#5 Umesh Yadav
Umesh Yadav has been sharp with the new ball
Umesh Yadav had gone through some difficult IPL seasons in the past few years. He was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the second round of this year’s mega auction.
This time around, the pacer has been superb in the first two weeks of action and is one of the main reasons why KKR are placed second on the points table.
The pitches in this year’s IPL have assisted seamers and Umesh, with his ability to seam and swing the ball, has been causing a lot of problems in the powerplay overs. In five matches so far, he has picked up 10 wickets with an economy rate of 6.60.
#4 Shubman Gill
Shubman Gill has been sensational for Gujarat this season
A number of eyebrows were raised when KKR released Shubman Gill ahead of the mega auction. However, the right-hander could never quite be the dashing opener the franchise wanted.
Gujarat Titans lapped him up and his performances, so far, have been a revelation. The batsman from Punjab has looked to take the attack to the opposition and has already played a couple of match-winning knocks.
So far, he has scored 187 runs in four innings with a strike rate of 159 and with an average of 46.75. This could be the season in which Gill – the T20 batter – could emerge as a superstar.
#3 Shivam Dube
Shivam Dube has been one of the bright sparks for CSK
Shivam Dube has been one of the bright sparks for Chennai Super Kings this season. He was not always effective when he played for either Rajasthan Royals or Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). But this season, with clarity in his role, he has been a match-winner.
With two fifties in five matches, Dube has added a lot of zing to the CSK batting. His unbeaten 94 in the match against RCB was the main reason for CSK clinching their first win of the season.
#2 Deepak Hooda
Deepak Hooda has rediscovered his batting form
For all his talent and skill, Deepak Hooda could never quite live up to expectations in the IPL, before this season. He was given an extended run by the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) but, barring a few bright sparks, he could not leave an impact.
However, his form changed over the last 12 months. Now, having got the India cap in white-ball cricket, Hooda has been one of the leading performers for LSG in the middle order.
With 155 runs in five matches, Hooda has been consistent with the bat. He has also chipped in with the ball for KL Rahul’s team and is, without doubt, one of the most improved players in this IPL.
#1 Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav is back to his best
Kuldeep Yadav made his IPL debut, for KKR, in 2016 and was among his team’s leading wicket-taker in the next two seasons. He picked up 29 wickets in 27 matches in those two seasons.
In 2020 season though, KKR preferred to use the combination of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy. In 2021, he did not get a single game and had to fly back owing to a knee injury.
This season, Kuldeep has made a roaring comeback – with a 4-wicket haul against his old side KKR. He is now one of the leading wicket-takers in the tournament. The left-arm unorthodox spinner has made a concerted effort to increase his pace and this has yielded dividends for him.