IPL’s lost talent! Rahul Sharma: Tall leg spinner, who had his share of lows

India’s cash-rich tournament, the Indian Premier League has reached its business end. The tournament which witnessed many high and low points this season gave us many new talents likely Mayank Markande, Rishabh Pant, Rahul Tewatia and many more. However, as we will see many more season in the upcoming years, we should not forget the talents which we saw in the last few years and are now lost in the crowd. One of them is Rahul Sharma.

A tall Punjab leg-spinner who is capable of extracting extra bounce, Rahul Sharma made headlines with his impressive performance in the Indian Premier League 2011 for Pune Warriors. The tall leg-spinner from Jalandhar was considered the next big thing of Indian cricket after a dramatic entry in IPL. Rahul started as a medium pacer but soon turned to leg spin on his coach’s advice. In 2010, he made his IPL debut for Deccan Chargers where he took 5 wickets in 6 matches. He had an economy rate of 8.08 runs per over. However, in 2011, he made headlines with amazing bowling performance for newly inducted Pune Warrior. His figures of 4-0-7-2 against Mumbai Indians created a lot of buzz and this was also the most economical spell of the IPL 11.

And this impressive performance helped him secure a place in Team India ODI squad for series against England in 2011. Though he didn’t get to play in a single game, he made an impressive debut against West Indies taking 3 wickets for 43 runs. This was his best spell in ODI career. Rahul Sharma played 4 ODIs and 2T20I for Team India.

However, all the name he earned in the IPL gets spoiled with a drug controversy. Rahul and his Pune Warriors team-mate, South African Wayne Parnell were detained by Mumbai Police at a rave party in 2012. This happened a day after Warriors’ campaign in 2012 ended. Both the players were charged in 2013. The rave controversy affected his game badly and he had a tough year but then made a remarkable comeback in 2013 for India A against West Indies A where he took his maiden five-wicket haul in T20. Having got the permission to play cricket, he was picked by Delhi Daredevils in 2014 where he went wicket-less and was hit for 32 against the Rajasthan Royals and then bought by Chennai Super Kings in 2015.

While Rahul’s determination looks good, he still has to try harder to make it to the Indian side. With players in Indian side like R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja he will find it hard to find a place, in the limited-overs due to success of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, things look further challenging for Rahul.

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