IPL 2019: 3 surprise selections by teams in the first week
Here’s a look at three such selection calls made by the teams in the first week that surprised one and all.
Updated - Apr 2, 2019 1:24 pm
The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is here and the first week is done and dusted. We are just nine games into the tournament and it’s been an action-packed season so far. There were some fantastic performances with both bat and ball, there were a couple of controversies that have hogged quite a bit of limelight and there were a few surprises as well in the first week.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings played with just three foreigners in both their games and still emerged victorious. Delhi Capitals followed suit in their second game. But there were a few other selection decisions that surprised everyone. Hence, here’s a look at three such selection calls made by the teams in the first week that surprised one and all.
3. Sarfaraz Khan
Sarfaraz Khan shot to the spotlight at a very young age. At 16, he was already a part of the India Under-19 World Cup team back in 2014. He was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) ahead of the 2015 season and he was a revelation. The then teenage sensation caught everyone’s attention with his funky batting and inventive shots.
He had a good start to his IPL career before fitness and injury concerns meant that he was ousted from the RCB side. However, he was one of the three players retained ahead of the big auctions in 2018. He had a poor season in 2018 as he scored just 51 runs in six innings.
The 21-year-old Mumbai-born batsman was let released by RCB and he was picked up by Kings XI Punjab in the auction. However, it didn’t look like he would make it to the XI. But with David Miller not available for the first game, he pipped Karun Nair for a spot in the side. Sarfaraz did really well in the first game as he scored a 29-ball 46 helping KXIP finish with a flourish in the first innings. However, he failed in the second innings when KXIP were chasing a huge total.
2. Hardus Viljoen
Hardus Viljoen is a relatively unknown commodity. The South African-born pacer has picked up the wicket of Alastair Cook off his first ball in international cricket. That came back in January 2016. However, at the end of the same year, he decided to take the Kolpak route, ending his career with South Africa.
Viljoen did really well in the T10 league in Sharjah which led Kings XI Punjab to pick him up in the auction. However, nobody would’ve thought that 30-year-old pacer will make his IPL debut as soon as KXIP’s second game.
He played in the place of Sam Curran who had a pretty expensive debut. Viljoen took 1/36 in his four overs on debut against KKR. He picked up the wicket of Sunil Narine who was going berserk as he had already scored 24 off 8.
1. Rasikh Salam
The biggest surprise of the week was presented by Mumbai Indians. The team is known to have excellent scouts who hunt for some quality uncapped players across the Indian domestic circuit. But playing Rasikh Salam in their first game of the tournament was a brave and surprising call.
He’s a 17-year-old pacer from Jammu & Kashmir and became only the second player who is born in the 21st century to play in the IPL. Salam didn’t have the best of debuts as he went for 42 runs in his four overs and failed to pick up a wicket. Mumbai opted to choose him over the likes of leggie Mayank Markande who did really well last season, as well as Barinder Sran and Rahul Chahar.
Hence, Rasikh Salam’s IPL debut was the most unexpected and surprising selection call of the first week of this IPL.