The Indian Premier League could also be coined the “Incredible Premier League” for everything it has given to Indian Cricket. IPL has changed the face of cricket in India. It has given the nation some world-class players like Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, and many more. In that very list, the name of Harshal Patel is also added. Harshal Patel with his phenomenal performance won the Most Valuable Player of the IPL 2021 season award.
Only Third Indian to win MVP Award
Uncapped Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer Harshal Patel ended up as the leading wicket-taker in IPL 2021 with 32 wickets in hand. Harshal Patel is the “Purple Cap Holder” this season and for his consistent performance throughout the 1st and 2nd phase in IPL 2021, he has also been chosen as the MVP (Most Valuable Players) of the season. Not only this, Harshal is only the third Indian player to win the MVP award after Sachin Tendulkar (2010) and Virat Kohli (2016) in the IPL tournament.
It wasn’t an easy ride for Harshal Patel
Indeed, the Indian Premier League has been one of the biggest platforms with the motto “Where Talent meets opportunity”. But during each tournament it’s not easy for a player to perform to the best of their ability and gain that spotlight. Harshal Patel is one such cricketer, who had been unable to make a mark in the Indian Premier League, until this season.
At 30-years old Harshal is not new in the IPL. In 2010 Mumbai Indians bought him for the Vivo IPL season 3 for a mere 8 lakh. But he didn't get a chance to play in the starting 11's. Harshal made his first IPL debut with Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012. After the 2015 edition, he picked up 17 wickets for RCB, featuring in only 18 matches in the next five years – not playing more than five games in any season.
Reunion with RCB
Patel came back stronger with exceptional performances in the 2020 Ranji season, where he picked up 52 wickets in only nine games. Despite a brilliant domestic season in 2020, Patel was not given many chances in the IPL with Delhi Capitals in the presence of two premier overseas pacers in Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada. With ace Ishant Sharma in the team, the chances of him being picked up in playing 11 would be minimal and so he was traded to Royal Challengers Bangalore, a move that potentially turned around Patel’s career.
Returning to a place where it all began for him he managed to maintain the faith the team management had shown in him. With his phenomenal performances he came out with flying colors and the purple cap and MVP award as a result of his hard work.
Let’s count on some of the records broken by Harshal Patel in IPL 2021:
· He became the first bowler to register a five-wicket haul against 5-time champion Mumbai Indians in the history of IPL.
· With 32 wickets in hand, he broke Yorker King Jasprit Bumrah’s record of most wickets by an Indian bowler in a single season.
· He finished this IPL season with the best bowling average of 14.34 for any bowler in the tournament.
· He also equaled Dwayne Bravo’s record for most wickets in an IPL season by a bowler.
· He became the first-ever uncapped cricketer to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in the history of the Indian Premier League which indeed shows the incredible talent IPL has produced.
· He is also the highest wicket-taker (21) in the death overs of IPL 2021.
Harshal Patel has provided cricket fans all over the world with numerous memories to cherish, be it a fifer against the Mumbai Indians, the enthralling spell against Andre Russell in Chennai, or the astounding hat-trick in Dubai. We've rarely seen an uncapped bowler dominate the bowling charts to this extent. It is one such performance that will unquestionably go down as one of the best in the history of the IPL.