IPL (Indian Premier League) is considered as one of the best T20 tournaments, only marginally ahead or behind the T20 World Cup. Therefore, it is usually expected that players play some T20 cricket in other avenues like Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, T20 Blast, etc., before coming into the sights of IPL scouts who gauge their T20 skills from there. Therefore, it is a rare event for players to make their T20 debut directly in IPL. However, there are such players, who haven’t played any T20 cricket before playing in the IPL. We will have a look at 10 Indian players who have done so.
1. Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra is a veteran, and it did look like he was going to be too old a player to play T20s by the time the format started gaining relevance, but his stint at CSK in the 2014-15 period thrust him back to the Indian team. He found himself playing for India in 2016 T20 World Cup.
BCCI conducted a domestic T20 tournament in 2007, which later got converted into the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. However, neither did Nehra play for India in T20 internationals nor did he feature in the competition and made his T20 debut in the first edition of IPL in 2008 when he played for Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Wankhede.
2. Washington Sundar
Washington Sundar shot to fame during his very first IPL season in 2017. He came in as a replacement for Ravi Ashwin. Washington Sundar’s father himself used to be an active cricketer in Tamilnadu cricketing circles. He had named his son after his mentor PD Washington as a mark of thanks for mentoring him during his cricketing days.
Washington Sundar is an economical spinner. He made his debut for the Rising Pune Supergiant during the 2017 IPL against Sunrisers Hyderabad
3. Pravin Tambe
Pravin Tambe’s journey towards IPL debut is a story so inspirational that it has been made into a web series. He was 41 by the time he made his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals against Delhi Daredevils in 2013. An even crazier fact is that the exact match was his first-ever professional match across any format. He had a decent IPL career across four seasons and has an IPL hat-trick to his name.
4. Rahul Tewatia
Rahul Tewatia became an instant sensation when he smacked Sheldon Cottrell for five sixes in an over in IPL 2020. However, he had already made his IPL debut for the same team, Rajasthan Royals, six years before. Rahul Tewatia made his IPL debut in IPL 2014, which was the same match in which Pravin Tambe secured his IPL hat trick. Tewatia had a medoicre performance, though: Didn’t get to bat and bowled two expensive overs.
5. Shivil Kaushik
Shivil Kaushik is a spinner who played for the now-defunct Gujarat Lions franchise. His main feature that stood out was his bowling action. He is considered to be a mystery spinner, and his bowling action was so unconventional that it was comparable to that of Paul Adams.
Shivil Kaushik made his IPL debut for Gujarat Lions against Rising Pune Supergiants in IPL 2016
6. Varun Chakravarthy
Despite Varun Chakravarthy not playing a single T20 match before his IPL debut, he did have an experience of 1 FC match, and 9 List A matches for Tamil Nadu. He also played in TNPL from the 2017 edition. He made his T20 debut in the 2019 IPL for Kings XI Punjab against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Varun had become a key player for KKR by 2021 IPL in which he was instrumental in them getting into finals out of nowhere. He also got into the 2021 T20 World Cup Indian squad and also managed to become one of the four retentions of KKR ahead of the 2022 IPL mega auctions.
7. Arshdeep Singh
Arshdeep Singh made his IPL debut for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2019 against Rajasthan Royals. Since then, he has become such an essential part of their plans that he was one of the only two players retained by the franchise ahead of IPL 2022.
Arshdeep Singh had presented India U-19 in the 2018 U-19 World Cup and also played in the Vijay Hazare Trophy before his T20 debut in the IPL.
8. Hrithik Shokeen
Hrithik Shokeen made his career debut in the T20s for IPL powerhouse Mumbai Indians in IPL 2022 against their arch-nemesis CSK. His 2022 season bowling has been average but has exuded potential. His professional cricket experience before this was a few List A matches for India U-23.
9. Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw was earmarked as a powerhouse of talent since his very young days, right when, in November 2013, he set the highest score by any batsman in any organized form of cricket since 1901, when he hit 546 runs in a Harris Shield elite division match. He went on to play multiple FC games and List A matches when representing Mumbai in Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy. However, when it came to T20s, he didn’t play one for a long time until he made his IPL debut for Delhi Daredevils against Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018.
However, it is to be noted that he had already captained the India U-19 team to victory in the 2018 U-19 World Cup by then.
10. Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant had not played a single T20 game by the time of the 2016 IPL auctions. But his talent was so evident that it was a question of when not if. In fact, on the very day of auctions, he was scoring a century in the U-19 World Cup semi-finals and was guiding his team to the finals. Moreover, he had started amassing unreal numbers in Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy and also in U-19 cricket.
Rishabh Pant made his T20 debut for Delhi Daredevils against Gujarat Lions in IPL 2016.