Ever since its inception in the year 2008, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has served as the launchpad for many successful international careers for both domestic Indian and international players. With an unparalleled quality of cricket on show in the tournament, many stars have gone on to represent their respective countries on the international stage with distinction after emerging out of the shadows in the IPL. Here, we take a look at five such players who can make a comeback in India ODI team based on their performance in IPL 2018.
IPL an excellent platform for struggling players to make a comeback in Team India
It can be rightly said that India were lucky to stumble upon the talents of players like Jasprit Bumrah, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Kedar Jadhav due to their exploits in the IPL.
Other than providing a platform to the unknown domestic players, the IPL also serves as an ideal stage for the ‘have-beens’ – players who are out of the reckoning for their national sides and are looking to strengthen their case for an international comeback.
The story is no different for veteran Indian players who have enjoyed considerable success on the big stage in the past but find themselves at a crossroad at present. With the 2019 World Cup in England fast approaching, these players will be looking to use the upcoming edition of the IPL as the ideal launching pad to restart their foray into the Indian ODI setup.
5 players who could make a comeback in India ODI team in 2018:
1. Suresh Raina
Suresh Raina is one man who has the best chance of staking a claim for the supposedly vacant middle-order berth in the Indian ODI setup right now. Having recently passed the Yo-Yo Test, the veteran batsman is already back playing T20 cricket for his country in South Africa and has looked like a livewire in the field. Coming in to bat at the Number 3 slot, Raina has also shown glimpses of his destructive best with the bat in the Rainbow nation.
It is worth noting that in the recent past, captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have experimented with several players like KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Dinesh Karthik and Manish Pandey to bat in the middle-order but no player has been able to cement a place in the side. It is here that Suresh Raina can come in and plug the gap for India. The Uttar Pradesh-captain was a part of the World Cup winning side in 2011 and also played a key role in India’s march to the semi-final in 2015. Raina can be the destructive finisher that India need going in to the World Cup next year.
Raina will resume his long-standing association with the Chennai Super Kings this year and can certainly make a comeback into the Indian ODI team if he can repeat his past heroics for MS Dhoni’s team in upcoming edition of the IPL.
2. Ravindra Jadeja
Losing the Champions Trophy final against arch-rivals Pakistan last year certainly ruffled a few feathers in Indian cricketing circles, with India’s inability to pick up wickets in the middle-overs being identified as a key factor in their failure to defend the trophy in England. As a result, ace Test spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin were both shown the door from the ODI setup and in came the wrist spin of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.
Originally termed as a limited-overs specialist, Jadeja has been on the sidelines in white-ball cricket for the past several months now with both Chahal and Kuldeep performing admirably and delivering the results for Virat Kohli’s team. The Saurashtra all-rounder certainly hasn’t given up the hope of playing the next World Cup for India and can use the IPL as an ideal platform to force the selectors’ hand and make a comeback into India ODI and T20 setup.
Like Raina, Jadeja will also be seen donning the yellow of Chennai Super Kings in the IPL this season and has been promised a higher batting slot for the franchise by captain MS Dhoni.
3. Robin Uthappa
An ever-so-consistent performer in the IPL and in the domestic circuit, Robin Uthappa has never really made his chances in the Indian team count so far. On the flip side, it can also be argued that the former Karnataka-batsman has never really been given a consistent run in the India ODI team. Having made his India debut way back in the year 2006, Uthappa has only featured in 46 ODIs matches for his country – a rather fleeting record for a precarious talent like Uthappa.
With Gambhir moving back to the Delhi Daredevils, Uthappa is likely to be entrusted with a leadership role for the Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 11 and will be itching to make the opportunity count. There has never really been any argument about the 32-year-old’s ability but is has been his temperament which has often led him down.
With India looking to zero in on their squad for the next World Cup in England and a clear slot available in the middle-order, Uthappa can emerge as a contender for the place is he can perform on a consistent basis in the upcoming IPL. His ability to keep wickets might also come in handy and aid his chances of making a comeback in the India ODI team.
4. KL Rahul
Another player who has endured an up and down start to his international career is Karnataka’s blue-eyed-boy KL Rahul. While it can be said that Rahul has cemented his place in the Indian Test side and is the preferred opener ahead of Shikhar Dhawan in the red-ball format, the 25-year-old has been in and out of the limited-overs sides and last played an ODI against Sri Lanka in August 2017.
Nevertheless, Rahul is still young in his international career and enjoys immense faith of captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri. Having been signed on by the Kings XI Punjab at the recent mega IPL auction, Rahul will get a chance to showcase his white-ball skills against the world’s premier bowlers and stake a claim to make his way back into the Indian ODI side ahead of the World Cup next year.
Another fact that goes in Rahul’s favour is that he will be mentored by the great Virender Sehwag at Kings XI Punjab this year and can hone his one-day skills under his guidance. Rahul possesses a solid technique and has the ability to smack the ball a long way. A good IPL this year and he might be back in the India ODI setup sooner rather than later.
5. Ravichandran Ashwin
Another Test stalwart who suffered a fate similar to Ravindra Jadeja after the Champions Trophy final loss in June last year was Ravichandran Ashwin. With India running a pet ‘wrist spin project’ heading into the 2019 ODI World Cup in England, Ashwin has found himself out of the national reckoning when it comes to limited-overs cricket and is nowhere close to wearing the famous blue jersey again.
Talking about IPL, Ashwin was roped in by the Preity Zinta-owned Kings XI Punjab at the auction in January and is even being viewed as a strong captaincy candidate for franchise. Having missed the IPL due to an injury last year, the premier off-spinner has already stated that he is looking forward to upcoming season and prove his white-ball credentials all over again. Ashwin is also said to be working on mastering the art of bowling leg-spin and bring in more variety into his armoury.
A proven IPL performer for the Chennai Super Kings in the past, Ashwin can well and truly make a strong case for his comeback into the ODI reckoning for India if he can lead the Kings XI Punjab to IPL glory this year.