Submitted by Amith Chakrapani on Sat, 10/16/2021 - 16:53

Harshal Patel: The unearthing of an uncut diamond, who shone brightly

16 Oct, 2021
Harshal Patel: The unearthing of an uncut diamond, who shone brightly
16 Oct, 2021 By Editor

Season after season, the Indian Premier League has given a platform for all the uncut diamonds to shine bright on the biggest stage. Many people are unaware that the vibrant silverware bears a Sanskrit inscription that reads, "Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi." The tournament has, without a doubt, stayed true to its motto - “Where Talent meets opportunity”. It's supremely endearing to see an unknown commodity showcase his talent on the big stage and become a household name. The gap between international cricketers and uncapped players has been closing as a result of the opportunities provided by the IPL. Needless to say, the season belonged to the undiscovered gems who shone brightly on the bigger stage. The likes of Harshal Patel, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Avesh Khan, Venkatesh Iyer, Umran Malik and KS Bharat proved the mettle for their respective teams in this season. 

While the 14th edition of the IPL comes to a close, the list of highest wicket-takers is led by a man who received very little attention prior to the season. Not a lot was talked about Harshal Patel when he was traded to Royal Challengers Bangalore from Delhi Capitals. Returning to a place where it all began for him, he reposed the faith the team management has shown in him, scalping a whopping 32 wickets in 15 matches. He equalled Dwayne Bravo’s all-time record for most wickets in an IPL season.

He had a point to prove going into the season, having only played a handful of games in the previous three years. Following a string of setbacks and injury layoffs, the Haryana cricketer took on the challenge head-on in an attempt to overcome all obstacles. While the results are evident, what prompted the transition? Prior to the season, he was informed that he would be tasked with bowling in the death overs, a phase in which even the most reliable bowlers can falter. The management's clarity gave him the confidence to work on his skills and develop plans even before the season began. For any athlete, every day is a learning experience. Sports, after all, is about constantly learning and improving. The 30-year-old expanded his repertoire with yorkers and a slew of variations. It was admirable to see an uncapped youngster, brimming with confidence, unleashing a barrel of searing yorkers and puzzling slower ones.

Harshal Patel has provided us with numerous memories to cherish, whether it was the tormenting fifer against the Mumbai Indians, the spellbinding spell against Andre Russell in Chennai, or the mind-boggling hat-trick in Dubai. We've seldom seen an uncapped bowler dominate the charts to this extent. It is one such performance that will undoubtedly go down as one of the best in the history of the IPL.

He swept multiple individual honours following his sublime performance in IPL 2021, including Gamechanger of the Season award, Most Valuable Player of the Season award, and Purple Cap. 

Records broken by Harshal Patel in IPL 2021 

  • The first bowler to register a five-wicket haul against Mumbai Indians in the history of IPL. 
  • With 32 wickets under his belt, he broke Jasprit Bumrah’s record of most wickets by an Indian bowler in a single season. He also equalled Dwayne Bravo’s all-time record for most wickets in an IPL season by a bowler.
  • The 30-year-old fast-bowling all-rounder is the first-ever uncapped cricketer to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the history of the Indian Premier League. 
  • 14.34 - He finished the season with the best bowling average for any bowler in the tournament. 
  • He is also the highest wicket-taker (21) in the death overs of IPL 2021.