Former India Test opener Aakash Chopra heaped praise on left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya and named him as one of the most impressive uncapped players of IPL 2021. Sakariya, playing in his first IPL season bagged 7 wickets in as many matches for the Royals in the tournament which included some big wickets from the opposition.
Sakariya took the IPL by storm and returned with 3-31 in his 4 overs on IPL debut which included the wickets of KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. He was picked for INR 1.2 crore by the Royals in the mini-auction in February after going for trials with them and the Mumbai Indians.
Chopra was very impressed with Sakariya and described the talented left-armer as the ‘real deal’ for his ability to make the ball swing in both directions.
“Sakariya took all of us by surprise. He is the real deal. How impressive he has been, he can make the ball go out and come in. He has both the back of the hand and a normal slower one. Even if he gets hit, he has the talent of quickly bouncing back and with the same level of confidence. If you talk about temperament and technique, there is a lot to like about him. I think Indian cricket can see a rising star in Chetan Sakariya,” said Aakash Chopra.
Sakariya had a tough childhood and has been the lone bread earner for his family fir the last few years. He first rose to prominence when he picked 18 wickets for Saurashtra in the Cooch Behar Trophy in 2015 which gave him an opportunity to train under Glenn McGrath under the MRF Pace Foundation. Recently, he stood out in the 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament picking 12 wickets in 5 matches at a stunning economy rate of 4.9 - this was his entry ticket to the IPL.
The other five uncapped Indian cricketers who made Chopra’s list included the likes of Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Devdutt Padikkal, Harpreet Brar, and Ravi Bishnoi.
Avesh Khan was the joint second-highest wicket-taker of IPL 2021 and took over the role of main fast bowler for the Capitals from an out of sorts Kagiso Rabada. His quality of wickets and restrictive abilities also stood out in the tournament.
“The first name I have written is Avesh Khan. He has impressed a lot this year because Nortje was not there and even Rabada was not there in the beginning. He bowled consistently well right from the first match where he struck Faf on the pads and MS Dhoni’s stumps,” added Chopra.
Chopra also showered accolades on RCB’s left-handed opener - Devdutt Padikkal who showed a new avatar in his batting this season - of Padikkal the aggressor.
“He played just the one destructive huge knock but it was fantastic. You can see a different quality in this player. How many uncapped Indian players can say that they have scored a century? It is very very difficult but he has done that.”