IPL 2021: Over the years, demands of frontline bowlers, especially spinners, have gone down in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with all-round abilities fetching more money and recognition in the league. While players like Jofra Archer and Kagiso Rabada are considered specialist bowlers, for spinners, the path hasn’t been easy. They have had to reinvent their batting skills to be in the competition. The likes of Sunil Narine, Moeen Ali, Rashid Khan, Harbhajan Singh, and Ravichandran Ashwin have become all-rounders to secure their places and also earn big bucks at their respective franchises.
With IPL 2021 set to begin on April 9, Insidesport takes a look at those five bowlers who have turned into destructive batsmen over the last few years.
IPL 2021: 5 bowlers who have transformed into all-rounders in Indian Premier League
1. Sunil Narine (West Indies, KKR): Sunil Narine made his IPL debut as a mystery spinner for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in 2012. It was his bowling skills that earned KKR the first IPL title in 2012. However, the West Indies player slowly developed his batting skills and became one of the destroyers in chiefs at the top order for KKR, scoring 892 runs in 66 innings in the IPL so far.
2. Moeen Ali (England, CSK): England’s frontline spinner in Test cricket, Moeen Ali began his IPL career in 2018 as a bowler. But in the Indian Premier League 2019, he was transformed into an RCB makeshift opener. With 220 runs in that season, he had a decent record with the bat. Overall, in 17 innings, he has scored 309 runs at an average of 30.80, a great stat to have for a bowler.
3. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan, SRH): Another spinner on the list, Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan arrived in the IPL as a sensational teenage bowler in 2017. Since then, he is slowly transforming himself as an all-rounder that is providing Sunrisers Hyderabad with the batting depth. So far, he has scored 139 runs in 25 innings.
4. Harbhajan Singh (India, KKR): India’s ace spinner for over a decade, Harbhajan Singh’s IPL journey has also bee of a transformation. One of the highest wicket-takers in the T20 league, the off-spinner has transitioned into an all-rounder, who can smash bowlers all over the park to win his team the matches or add vital runs to their totals. In active bowlers’ list, he is only behind Sunil Narine with 829 runs in 88 innings with the highest score of 64.
5. Ravichandran Ashwin (India, PBKS): India’s current frontline spinner in Test cricket, his career in limited-overs looks bleak. But with his five Test centuries and 11 half-centuries beside a half-century in ODI cricket, he has proved his mettle as a dependable batsman. In the IPL, he has brought his batting skills to secure a place in Playing XI. So far, he has scored 412 runs in 58 innings in the IPL and with IPL 2021, he could be a valuable batter for Punjab Kings.
IPL 2021: 5 From Sunil Narine to Rashid Khan, 5 bowlers who have transformed into all-rounders in IPL