Indian Premier League (IPL) is just a day away and the 11th edition of this tournament promises to be a glitzy affair. One of the main objectives of the IPL is to promote young talent and it is widely known as a tournament where ‘talent meets opportunities’. One such player who made his mark during the inaugural season i.e. 2008 was Goa’s Swapnil Asnodkar.
When Rajasthan Royals led by Aussie great Shane Warne took the field, it was believed that the team would finish last and would be a template on how not to play and select a T20 squad. But, on the contrary, Royals won the title and one player who stood out was Swapnil Asnodkar. Warne’s team didn’t have big names and Warne pushed Asnodkar into the firing line and the Goa player took this opportunity with both hands.
One of the iconic images of 2008 IPL was Asnodkar opening alongside South Africa’s big and burly Graeme Smith and their partnership was a sight to watch. The opener from Goa scored 311 runs in the 9 innings at an impressive average of 34.55 and strike-rate of 133.47. He shared 418 runs with Smith at an average of 59.18 for the opening wicket and the partnership rather uniquely created quite a buzz during the tournament.
Swapnil Asnodkar played with absolute freedom and didn’t care for bowler’s reputation and his job was to give his team a fast start. Asnodkar before the IPL was just a domestic player but IPL changed his life completely and now people were expecting big things from this Goa’s tiny yet impactful cricketer. Asnodkar lit up the IPL and was being considered as an India prospect.
Cricket is a great leveler and Asnodkar found this the hard way. After mind boggling first season, Asnodkar failed in hostile and alien conditions in South Africa during second season of IPL and teams were starting to find flaws in this Goa player. Royals also had a disappointing IPL 2009 and slowly but steadily Asnodkar was becoming irrelevant. In 2011, during Ranji season Asnodkar was accused of bringing game into disrepute as his Ranji team (Goa) didn’t go for the target against Maharashtra, where Asnodkar was captain and was later suspended for two matches. It was a big blow to Asnodkar’s career and he could never really recover from that.
IPL from outside might look like an event, which is easy going and fun but in reality, it’s quite a ruthless and cut throat competition. Asnodkar last played in IPL during 2011 season and once a pocket size dynamo is now struggling to stay relevant.