The Indian Premier League began as a stage for the game’s finest international players but as the league has evolved it has become increasingly apparent that team’s Indian players are those key to determining the success or failure of a season.
It was pleasantly fitting therefore that the standout feature of the tenth season of the IPL was the dominance of Indian players - particularly those who are not regulars in India's international teams. Seven of the eight teams, with the exception of Kolkata Knight Riders, boasted at least one young Indian player who played significant role. Indeed at some teams - notably Delhi Daredevils, Gujarat Lions, Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiant, young players made defining contributions.
In many ways this IPL represented the arrival of a new era for Indian cricket. While Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina will continue to score runs for many years to come, they no longer represent India’s young guard: the baton has been passed. This season Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Basil Thampi, Ishan Kishan, the Pandya brothers, Rahul Tripathi and Washington Sundar did more than merely perform with promise and potential, they won matches for their franchises, at times single-handedly.
Rising Pune Supergiant, with seven wickets in hand after 19 overs chasing 130, lost the Final because they over-valued their wickets. The irony of their mistake was that this season teams begun to realise the inherent danger of doing this. This season saw the highest run rate - 8.03, in an IPL season and the highest wicket rate - 19.04 balls per wicket. These two statistics suggest a growing awareness of how plentiful resource wickets actually are. In the Final RPS did not attack as hard as they could have because they feared the consequences of losing wickets, not realising that it was arguably more risky for them to sleep-walk their way through most of their innings utilising only a fraction of their resources.
It was appropriate that Krunal Pandya won Man of the Match in the IPL Final. Arguably no player embodies the growth of T20 cricket better than him. Krunal is perhaps the closest fit to the archetypal T20 player. He bats—scoring runs at more than nine runs per over; he bowls—conceding runs at less than seven runs per over; and he is one of the best T20 fielders in the world. Krunal is a futuristic player starring in the league of cricket’s future.