Five IPL Stars Who Lost Their Way: Valthaty, Gony, Awana and More
The Quint takes a look at the five raw local talents that emerged through the IPL but have now lost their way.
It is common knowledge that Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja – regular performers of the current Indian cricket team – came to the fore because of the Indian Premiere League (IPL). Their exploits in the marquee tournament certainly made them famous and helped them cement their place in the national team.
While the IPL did help Ashwin and Jadeja shine, it must be noted that they weren’t entirely unknown prior to the tournament either. However, the IPL was about much more than that.
When the tournament had commenced back in 2008, the creators had confidently promised that the IPL will help unearth and nurture absolute raw and unknown local talent; that unknown faces will get to play and grow alongside the best in the world.
Over the nine seasons of the championship so far, there have been several raw local talents that have emerged through IPL. But most of them have seemed to have lost their way. The Quint takes a look at some of those players.
1. Swapnil Asnodkar
A fearless cricketer who instantly evoked memories of Sri Lanka’s aggressive wicket-keeper batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana – both because of his style of play, as well as for his short height.
Swapnil Asnodkar made his debut for the Rajasthan Royals in the very first season of the IPL. Opening the batting line-up with South African Graeme Smith, Asnodkar impressed everyone – especially his captain Shane Warne – with his spunky batting where he would take on any bowler and attack right from the word go.
In the nine matches that he played, Asnodkar scored 311 runs at an impressive strike-rate of 133.47. However, the opener from Goa lost his form drastically in the following seasons of the IPL and although he did play a few more matches for the Rajasthan Royals in the next three seasons, he could not make much of an impact (112 runs in 11 matches) and was hence dropped.
The 33-year-old was never seen in IPL again, but he continues to play for his home state Goa.
2. Paul Valthaty
This Mumbaikar, who also played for Himachal Pardesh, burst into the IPL scene like very few have ever managed to do , scoring a magnificent hundred against the Chennai Super Kings in the 2011 season of the tournament.
Valthaty, while playing for Kings XI Punjab in 2011, scored 463 runs at 35.61 with a strike rate of 136.98 – and amazed all with his aesthetically pleasing stroke play. A member of the Indian team from the 2002 U-19 World Cup, Valthaty made his IPL debut in 2009 for Rajasthan Royals, but could only shine in the 2011 edition when he was picked up by Kings XI Punjab.
However, in the following seasons, Valthaty’s form dipped rapidly. He played seven matches in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but could not manage to score more than 36 runs in any single one of them. After that, Valthaty just played a few matches for Air India and slowly faded into oblivion. His last recorded first-class match was on 18 February 2014 where he scored just 6 runs for Air India.
3. Manpreet Gony
This burly lad from Punjab had all the desirable features of a fast-bowler – tall, well-built, raw paced, with the ability to hit the deck hard. Hence, when he did extremely well for the Chennai Super Kings in 2008 – picking up 17 wickets at an economy of 7.38 – the entire country got excited.
He even went on to play for India that very year but could not make much of an impact in the two games he got. After his first season, Gony’s form became erratic. He was eventually dropped from Chennai and picked up first by Deccan Chargers (now defunct) and later Kings XI Punjab.
However, from 2009-13, Gony featured in 27 IPL games and managed to take only 20 wickets. He has not been picked by any IPL side ever since and he has only been playing for his home state of Punjab; his last competitive match having been in Ranji Trophy in March 2017 where he took two wickets and scored just four runs against Odisha.
4. Parvinder Awana
Making his debut for Kings XI Punjab in the 2012 season, Parvinder Awana became an instant hit when he went on to grab 17 wickets in 12 matches for his team. He was also performing brilliantly for his home state Delhi in the Ranji Trophy in that period and was soon picked up to play for India in the shortest format, late in 2012.
Though he didn’t perform very well in 2012, he had a decent season in IPL 2013; taking 15 wickets in 14 matches. The next season, though, saw a great dip in Awana’s form as he could only pick 7 wickets in as many matches and his domestic form wasn’t great either.
Although Awana was picked by Kings XI in 2015, he did not play a single game and was overlooked for the 2016 season. Currently, Awana continues to slog hard for his Delhi team.
The 30-year-old still has age on his side and with consistent performances, he can still stage a comeback; especially considering how badly the country needs fast bowlers.
5. Kamran Khan
His is probably the most tragic tale on the list. Kamran Khan was picked by Rajasthan Royals back in 2009 virtually out of nowhere. Being the son of a woodcutter from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Kamran had absolutely no first-class cricket experience and was spotted by Royals’ team director while playing in a T20 tournament in Mumbai.
Shane Warne, the skipper, then saw him bowl over 140 km/h in some warm-up games for the Royals and decided to brood him into the team. The left-armed seamer’s speed was impressive and lengths were decent. He had a very good yorker – even getting Chris Gayle with a searing one in 2009 – and could also bowl his in-swingers at good pace.
Kamran took 9 wickets in his first two seasons for the Royals. In 2011, Kamran was picked by Pune Warriors (now defunct) but in the only game he played, he ended up conceding a whopping 47 runs in 3 overs. The bowler was dropped after that match and no IPL team has picked him since.
The last he was heard of was when he was working on his father’s field as a farmer and not playing any active cricket. The news shocked many, including Shane Warne.
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