IPL 2018 will see many senior Indian players playing the T20 format, with an eye on the ultimate goal of winning the IPL trophy for their teams. But along with the aim of winning the trophy, these players will also see the upcoming IPL season as an opportunity to show the national selectors that they still have what it takes to play for India at international level.
Many players are currently out of the Indian team due to form and fitness issues and for such players, IPL 2018 will be a golden opportunity to showcase their experience and skills to get public support and the edge they require to stake a claim for a berth in the Indian team.
Here are 5 such India players for whom IPL 2018 can be a make or break season:
Yuvraj Singh was twice the most expensive player sold in the IPL auctions in 2014 and 2015.However, the fortunes changed in IPL 2018 and Yuvraj was bought by Kings XI Punjab for his base price of Rs 2 Cr. Yuvraj has never had much success consistently in IPL, despite the format being tailor-made for him.
He has played for KXIP from 2008-2010 and captained them in the first season, but didn’t prove to be much of success. He was lucky to have got a bid from KXIP in IPL 2018, despite playing his last T20I match for India in 2017 against England. He also had a lukewarm Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament and this IPL 2018 will be his last chance to prove that even at the age of 36, he has the fire and motivation to play for India once more.
Robin Uthappa was retained by KKR in the IPL 2018 auction and is seen as the main candidate for the captaincy role for the IPL 2018. Uthappa had a very good start to his India career, way back in 2006, when he scored 86 on ODI debut against England. Uthappa went to West Indies for 2007 World Cup and played a big role in India winning the 2007 World T20.
But after that, injuries and form took a toll on his international career and he last played for India in 2015 in an ODI against Zimbabwe and his last T20I match came against Zimbabwe in the same year. Robin Uthappa was once seen as a prodigious talent but now is remembered as one who failed to live up to expectations.
With Gambhir not retained by KKR, Uthappa, who has a stellar IPL record, will become the de-facto leader and this will provide him with a chance to rekindle the hope of an India comeback. At 32 years old, Uthappa might see this as the make or break season for himself in IPL 2018.
Many eyebrows were raised when Chennai Super Kings opted to retain Ravindra Jadeja over local boy R Ashwin, before the IPL 2018 auctions. Jadeja, along with Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni were the three players retained by CSK in their return to IPL fold in 2018 season.
This puts a huge onus of performance on shoulders of Jadeja, since he last played for India in limited overs format, back in July 2017. He will also have the chip on his shoulder because the CSK management preferred to retain him over Ashwin and if Jadeja fails to live up to the expectations of the CSK fans, it might not go well for him.
Currently out of the limited overs setup for India, thanks to presence and performance of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, Jadeja will be looking to give the performance of his life in the IPL 2018, as to make the selectors sit up and notice that he still has the ability to win matches on his own and deserves to be back in the team.
Suresh Raina will be back in the Chennai Super Kings setup as the deputy to MS Dhoni after he was retained before the IPL 2018 auction. Raina last played for India in January 2017 against England and since then who has been battling fitness issues and form in trying to get back into the Indian team.
He finally succeeded in doing so, after a brilliant performance for Uttar Pradesh in the domestic T20 tournament, where he scored a rapid-fire century and couple of the fifties. Raina made it back into the T20I team for series in South Africa, but his eyes will be on performing in the IPL 2018, to regain and cement his place as one of the best finishers in the Indian ODI and T20I teams.
Though his Test career didn’t fulfill the expectations, Raina’s limited overs career for India has made him one of the best-limited overs players, cricket has seen. The first Indian to score hundred in all the three international formats, Raina will look forward to continuing his golden IPL form, where he scored over 400 runs in almost every season of the Indian Premier League.
CSK not retaining R Ashwin and then not going hard enough for him the IPL 2018 auction came as a big shock for many CSK and IPL fans. One of the pillars of CSK’s success in IPL over the years, R Ashwin will now see himself playing for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018.
Ashwin started with CSK in 2009 and performed well enough to play for India in 2011 and even won the 2011 World Cup with the Indian team. He is currently out of the limited overs setup, along with his bowling partner Ravindra Jadeja, thanks to performances of Kuldeep and Yuzvendra Chahal, who are taking wickets by buckets in limited overs scene for the past 6-8 months.
Ashwin will see this IPL 2018 season as an opportunity to show the national selectors that he still has the guile and skills to continue his success in the limited overs formats for India and deserves a chance to play for India in ODIs and T20Is once more.