The Indian Premier League may have given birth to some Indian heroes such as Yusuf Pathan, Pravin Tambe, Sanju Samson but the competition also provides a huge platform for senior players to create an impression and knock on the selector's door once again.
Hence, IPL 2015 could prove to be huge for some senior Indian cricketers, who have been forgotten souls of Indian cricket due to their continued absence from the international arena.
Some of these players are Virender Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir. These Indian players were once stars of the Indian cricket team, but have been left out of the team for their below par performances.
Virender Sehwag - Kings XI Punjab
Last Played for India: India v Australia at Hyderabad, March 2013 (Test match)
IPL Career: 2629 runs (96 matches)
IPL 2014: 455 runs
The swashbuckling Indian was once regarded as one of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket. Sehwag instilled fear amongst bowlers, as he had the knack of scoring quick runs at the top of the order and in the process, demoralising bowlers.
The cricketer has been out of the Indian team for a long time and he needs to be on top of his game, if he is to be considered for selection. Sehwag needs to be consistent in the upcoming IPL, game after game to turn the selectors head around and look at the former Indian opener.
But, it is not going to be an easy task to get into the Indian side with Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma putting up some decent performances as openers. Not only does the player need to score heavily, he also needs to reduce some weight and maintain good fitness.
With the IPL being a format which seems to be tailor-made for Sehwag, if he cannot perform in this tournament, he might well have played his last match in Indian colours.
Irfan Pathan – Chennai Super Kings
Last Played for India: India v South Africa at Colombo, October 2012 (T20)
IPL Career: 1126 runs and 80 wickets (98 matches)
IPL 2014: 55 runs and 4 wickets
The Indian broke into the international cricket scene with his ominous swing bowling, where he began to take wickets at will. Gradually the left arm swing bowler also started to use his willow to good effect and started to be looked upon as an all-rounder.
But, the Indian bowler gradually lost his pace and to make things worse lost his main weapon –swing, which had helped him take a number of wickets. Pathan, as a result, also lost his place in the Indian team.
Pathan can only make a comeback to the Indian team if he shows his class with both the bat and ball and take up the key all rounder's role in the Indian team, which is presently occupied by Ravindra Jadeja.
Even if the swing bowler fails to grab a place in the Indian team, a competitive IPL 2015 could make selectors think when India travel abroad and feel the need for a fast bowling all-rounder.
Gautam Gambhir – Kolkata Knight Riders
Last Played for India: England v India at The Oval, August 2014 (Test Match)
IPL Career: 2806 runs(104 matches)
IPL 2014: 335 runs
The Delhi batsman was one of the key players for India during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, where he played a great knock in the final to help India lift the trophy. But, that seems to be a thing of the past as the player could not score runs consistently enough after the World Cup.
Like Sehwag, Gambhir also might find it tough wih Dhawan and Rohit Sharma going strong as India's openers.
Having said that Rohit Sharma is not a natural opener and a huge IPL for the left-hander could pave the way for Gambhir, provided the selectors decide to push Rohit down the order.
Gautam Gambhir has been one of the consistent players when it comes to the IPL as he has amassed 2806 runs so far. If the player can be consistent this season, it could turn the left-hander's fortunes around .
Yuvraj Singh – Delhi Daredevils
Last Played for India: India v Sri Lanka at Dhaka, April 2014 (T20)
IPL Career: 1851 runs (84 matches)
IPL 2014: 376 runs (14 matches)
Amongst all the players mentioned above, it is the dashing left hander who stands a good chance of making it back to the Indian team. Yuvraj Singh was very close to being selected for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. If the player can fight cancer and make it to the Indian team, he has it in him to make another comeback.
Though, the Indian team may have a very settled middle order with Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina, if Yuvraj performs in the upcoming IPL, he can be accommodated at the cost of one of these players.
When on song, he is one batsman who can clear the fence with ease. Along with it he is a good fielder as well.
But, it is his inconsistency, which is his weak point. If he can overcome this and perform in this IPL, the Indian slectors might be forced to open the team's door for the left hander.