With just nine days to go, the countdown for the grandest T20 league in the world has begun. The Indian Premier League caravan is set to take off from 23rd March when Chennai Super Kings will host the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chepauk Stadium. Since its inception in 2008, IPL has set the highest standards for the domestic T20 leagues all over the world. After more than a decade of engrossing and intriguing cricket, IPL has been the torchbearer in the era of T20 cricket. BCCI started the Indian Premier League back in 2008 since then many players have proved themselves on the biggest stage and went onto represent their countries in the international arena. Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Shreyas Iyer, and Mohit Sharma are one of those Indian emerging talents who played for India after coming into the limelight on the back of some sensational performances in the IPL.
Most Valuable Player is the decoration given by the IPL committee to the player of the tournament at the end of every season. The honour is bestowed to a potential match winner from his performance throughout the tournament. Various impactful players made their presence felt in the best T20 league and often led their team to the IPL glory. From world-class bowlers to explosive batsmen to enigmatic all-rounders, each season has seen a hero rising to the occasion and making his presence felt in the IPL. Hence, we will be looking at the Most Valuable Players in IPL from all the seasons.
Now let’s take insight to the Most Valuable Players in the history of the IPL:
Shane Watson- 2008
One of the most underrated cricketers of his generation, Shane Watson made his IPL debut for Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural season. The Rajasthan franchise bought him for his all-round abilities, and he certainly did not disappoint his team as Royals lifted the IPL trophy in the very first season. The Aussie also made an international comeback post his successful season in the IPL. Shane Watson is an impactful player who can win matches singlehandedly for his team both with the bat and ball. He scored a century in last year’s finals to help Chennai Super Kings lift their third IPL trophy.
In the inaugural edition of the IPL, Shane Watson was declared the player of the tournament on the back of some consistent performances. He scored 472 runs in 15 matches during that season at an average of 47.20. His season strike rate of 151.76 shows his tremendous hitting power. Watson also had 17 dismissals to his name in that season at an astonishing average of 19.11.
Adam Gilchrist- 2009
An explosive opening batsman and a skillful wicket-keeper, Adam Gilchrist was probably one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen of all time. Deccan Chargers signed him in the inaugural edition of the IPL and declared him as their captain. After a horrible season in 2008, Gilchrist led his team to IPL glory in the following year. Amidst all the speculations, Deccan Chargers defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in the finals to lift the IPL trophy for the first time.
In 16 IPL matches, Gilly scored 495 runs in that season with the strike-rate of 152.30. Moreover, he was the leader of the young pack who always led by example in the times of adversity.
Sachin Tendulkar- 2010
The God of Cricket, Sachin Tendulkar mesmerized cricket fans from all over the world for over two decades. Sachin Tendulkar played for his home team, Mumbai Indians, since the first edition of the IPL. He was honoured the Most Valuable Player in the third IPL edition after scoring most number of runs in that season. Though, Mumbai Indians faltered in the end as they failed to clinch the title despite finishing top of the table. The ‘Little Master’ played some sublime innings in that season at the top of the order.
Tendulkar scored 618 runs in 15 innings at an incredible average of 47.53. He scored five half-centuries in that campaign and was also won the Orange Cap in the process.
Chris Gayle- 2011
After a couple of unsuccessful season at Kolkata Knight Riders, Chris Gayle was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011. He made an instant impact to the side and led them to the playoffs. The Universe Boss is often regarded as the best batsmen in the history of T20 cricket. He has many records to his name in this format of the game. The big Jamaican uses his brute strength to hit the bowlers out of the park. He is one of the few batsmen who can hit colossal sixes against any bowler (spinners or seamers) with utmost ease.
Christopher Henry Gayle was awarded the Orange Cap at the end of that season. Overall in the 12 games, Gayle scored 608 runs in that season along with two centuries and three half-centuries. He scored those runs at an outstanding average of 67.55 with a strike rate of 183.13.
Sunil Narine- 2012
Sunil Narine is an extremely talented cricketer who can win matches singlehandedly for his team. A potential match winner, the Trinidadian has tremendous all-round skills which makes him a valuable asset for any T-20 franchise. Kolkata Knight Riders bought Sunil Narine in 2012 as an excellent off spinning bowling option. Under the leadership of Gautam Gambhir, he led his team to IPL glory in the very first season followed by another successful season in 2014. The 30-year-old was also declared the ‘Most Valuable Player’ in the last IPL on the back of some consistent all-round performances.
Sunil Narine announced his arrival in the Indian Premier League with a championship win in his debut season. His match-winning attributes make him a unique asset for any T20 side. In the very first season, Narine picked 24 wickets in 15 matches at an economy rate of 5.47.
Shane Watson- 2013
Shane Watson is an exceptional talent and a potential match-winner who can take his team over the line all by himself. His all-round capabilities have been well known for many years but it the match-winning ability that makes him stand out from the crowd. His presence in the team gives much flexibility to the team management as he can open the innings as well as the bat in the middle order to provide more stability in the batting lineup. The Aussie can also bowl with the new and old ball under any circumstances of the match. Watson is a rare talent, who can deliver under pressure with the bat to take his team home under tough situations. That’s what makes him a real match-winner, a perfect all-rounder.
In 2013, Shane Watson managed to score 543 runs for the Rajasthan Royals along with a century and a couple of half-centuries. He also took 13 wickets during that promising season. His all-round heroics made him the Most Valuable Players of that season.
Glenn Maxwell- 2014
Glenn Maxwell is an impact player, a potential match winner and a batting powerhouse. Maxwell began his IPL career in 2012 with Delhi Daredevils before joining Mumbai Indians in the following season. However, it was his 2014 season with Kings XI Punjab which made him the ‘Big-Show.’ Maxwell led his Punjab franchise to the finals on the back of some consistent performances throughout that season. The Aussie failed to take his team over the line, and Kings XI finished as the runner-ups after losing the title to Kolkata Knight Riders.
In 16 innings, Maxwell scored 552 runs in that season with an incredible strike rate of 187.75. He won many matches for his side in that breakthrough season and was deservingly declared the Player of the tournament.
Andre Russell- 2015
Andre Russell is probably the best all rounder in the World Cricket right now with his fantastic work rate and real brute force. He has proved himself enough times for various franchises in the T20 Leagues all over the world. Andre Russell is an all-round powerhouse who can win matches either with the bat or ball in his hand. He is also a livewire on the field, who can change the course of any game with his match-winning performances. Kolkata Knight Riders signed him up in 2014, and the rest, as they say, is history. The big Jamaican led KKR to another IPL glory in his first season and has been pivotal to his team’s success in the recent past.
Andre Russell was the player of the tournament in 2015, which shows his tremendous all-round abilities. In 13 games, he scored 326 runs with an unbelievable strike rate of 192.89. He also managed to pick 14 wickets in that successful season for the Knight Riders.
Virat Kohli- 2016
Unarguably the best batsman in the world across all the three formats, Virat Kohli, has been a star since his U-19 days when he led the Indian team to World Cup glory. He is such a technically gifted batsman, who makes batting look ridiculously easy. Kohli has been an integral part of the Royal Challengers squad since the inaugural season in 2008. He has an incredible record with the bat since he was given the charge to lead the side. 2016 was a phenomenal year for the Indian skipper as he was scoring runs for fun in all the competitions, including the IPL.
Kohli scored 973 runs in just 16 innings with the help of 4 centuries and seven half-centuries. He finished that perfect season at an average of 81.08 and a strike rate of 152.03. Virat Kohli still holds the record for the maximum number of runs scored in a single IPL season.
Ben Stokes- 2017
Ben Stokes came into the limelight after an instinct of successful performances for the English team. He has the potential to change the course game of the game by himself, either with the bat or ball. A quality all-rounder, Ben Stokes made his IPL debut in 2017 for the Rising Pune SuperGiant. He made a strong stamen in his debut season as was awarded the Most Valuable Player at the end of the season. Ben Stokes is the perfect asset for any T20 franchise as he possesses tremendous skills both with bat or ball in hand. After a successful season in 2017, Rajasthan Royals roped him in the next edition of IPL where he had a decent outing.
In just 13 innings, Ben Stokes scored 316 runs along with a century and a fifty. He scored those runs at an average of 31.60 and a strike rate of 142.98. Along with his batting prowess, he also managed to pick 12 wickets in that campaign.
Sunil Narine- 2018
With his efficacious bowling and destructive batting, Sunil Narine is arguably one of the best all-rounders of this generation. He is a street-smart cricketer who outsmarts his opponents on the cricket field more often than not. The Trinidadian is an excellent off-spinner with an uncanny knack of picking crucial wickets. Since joining the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2012, he has been pivotal to his team’s success. Sunil Narine is one of the few bowlers who not only pick wickets in regular intervals but also restrict the scoring rate in the middle overs. His batting skills have suddenly reignited his cricket career as he is often seen open the batting for his team.
In the previous edition of the IPL, Sunil Narine scored 357 runs with the staggering strike rate of 189.89. With the ball in hand, he managed 17 scalps at an economy rate of 7.65.