Just like past editions of the competition, IPL 2021 stayed true to its motto of ‘Where talent meets opportunity’. Many young players got a chance to showcase their skills on the big stage and emerged with flying colours.
Uncapped players have always been a big part of the competition, and IPL 2021 was no different. Many came into the season with big hopes riding on them, but only a few managed to make it count with stirring on-field performances.
With IPL 2021 now indefinitely postponed, let’s have a look at the best uncapped XI of the tournament.
IPL 2021: Openers – Ruturaj Gaikwad, Devdutt Padikkal
Both Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devdutt Padikkal were among the top 15 run-scorers by an opener in IPL 2021, so it is easy to see why the duo makes this XI.
Devdutt Padikkal didn’t let a bout of COVID-19 hamper his form in IPL 2021, becoming the second centurion of the season with a stunning 101* against Rajasthan Royals. Padikkal’s blitzkrieg blew away RR in that game, and he has often overshadowed his illustrious partner, a certain Virat Kohli while opening this season.
Partnering Padikkal in our IPL 2021 Uncapped XI would be Chennai Super Kings (CSK) ace Ruturaj Gaikwad. The diminutive opener showed great temperament to bounce back from a difficult start to the season by notching up successive fifties. His classy strokeplay left many in awe, with Ruturaj Gaikwad proving once again that brute force is not always needed to succeed in T20 cricket.
IPL 2021: Middle Order – Rahul Tripathi, Deepak Hooda, Mohammed Azhruddeen, Shahrukh Khan
KKR’s second-highest run-scorer of IPL 2021, Rahul Tripathi, takes his place at no.3 in our Uncapped XI.
The 30-year-old was one of the few shining lights in KKR’s dismal season, scoring 187 runs in seven games at an average of 26.71. His 135+ strike rate means he can adapt his game depending on the match situation.
Meanwhile, Deepak Hooda is an IPL veteran but is uncapped, so he makes our IPL 2021 XI.
After years of languishing in the lower order, Deepak Hooda made the most of his chance after being trusted to bat at no.4 for the Punjab Kings (PBKS). Hooda responded with a strike rate of 143.2. With eight maximums, he is third in the list of most sixes by an uncapped player in IPL 2021. He was solid with the ball, too, picking up two wickets with his handy off-spin at a decent economy rate of 7.07.
The wicketkeeper slot is a bit of a punt, considering none of the uncapped wicket-keepers got a chance to make their mark in IPL 2021. We go with Kerala star Mohammed Azharuddeen, purely on his domestic form this season. Capable of batting anywhere in the team, Azharuddeen would don the gloves and play the finisher’s role in our IPL 2021 Uncapped XI.
Rounding out our middle order would be Shahrukh Khan, who came into IPL 2021 with great expectations. Batting at six, though, didn’t give him many chances to shine, as he played only 84 balls in IPL 2021, but Shahrukh Khan displayed enough potential in the limited time he received in the middle.
His famed power-hitting was there for everyone to see as the youngster made some handy contributions down the order for PBKS.
IPL 2021: All-rounder – Lalit Yadav
All-rounders make or break a T20 side, and this segment was the most difficult concerning the dearth of uncapped all-rounders in IPL 2021. We have gone ahead with Lalit Yadav, with PBKS youngster Harpreet Brar narrowly missing out.
Lalit Yadav was known for his fielding prowess before IPL 2021 but got the chance to prove his credentials as an all-rounder this season.
The Delhi Capitals starlet was handy with both bat and ball, as he came up with some match-winning contributions in IPL 2021. Capable of hitting the long ball, Lalit Yadav is an ideal option at no. 6 as he can bowl a bit as well.
IPL 2021: Bowlers – Harshal Patel, Chetan Sakariya, Avesh Khan, Varun Chakravarthy
Our IPL 2021 Uncapped XI includes just one spinner, considering there are several spin-bowling options available.
This position goes to mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy, who once led KKR’s spin attack with panache. Teams looked to play him out in IPL 2021, but the 29-year-old managed to pick up seven wickets at an economy of 7.82. Capable of being effective against both right and left-handers, he trumps Ravi Bishnoi for the lone spinner’s slot in our IPL 2021 Uncapped XI.
India’s famed pace bowling assembly line churned out another set of quicks who came to the fore in IPL 2021. Avesh Khan was second in the Purple Cap standings, his 14 wickets propelling the Delhi Capitals to the top of the IPL 2021 standings. One of the most economical bowlers this season, Avesh Khan, is capable of bowling at any stage of the innings.
To add some variety, Chetan Sakariya makes our XI as a left-arm seamer. Not blessed with express pace, Chetan Sakariya used his guile to outfox batsmen with a plethora of cutters and slower balls in IPL 2021.
Rounding out our IPL 2021 Uncapped XI is RCB’s man of the moment, Harshal Patel.
Tasked with being the designated death bowler, Harshal Patel responded brilliantly, as he picked up 17 wickets to be IPL 2021’s leading wicket-taker. His presence ensures this uncapped XI has a proper death bowler capable of keeping things tight at the end. Patel’s ability to clear the fence with the bat is a bonus.
Young Ruturaj Gaikwad would be the captain of this XI, as he has experience of leading Maharashtra. This IPL 2021 Uncapped XI is a well-balanced team, comprising six bowling options and batting prowess till no.8.