Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh's exploits in the game against KKR once more underlined the value of spinners in IPL and, in general, T20 cricket. This is completely contrary to the concerns many experts expressed when this format was taking roots around the world. The likes of Ravichandran Ashwin and Sunil Narine became major stars after success in this format. But these are not the only ones. Many other spinners have become household names through IPL. Let's look at five such examples.
In T20 spin bowling, the value of variations and mystery cannot be overstated. And Kuldeep has that in abundance. Chinaman style of bowling has never been very popular in India. The lad from Uttar Pradesh changed that by bowling accurately and using variations astutely to fox the batsmen. The success in IPL led Kuldeep to becoming a regular member of Indian team and among the best bowlers in world cricket.
One of the many spinners who prospered under MS Dhoni's tutelage in IPL, the high point in his career came during Chennai Super Kings' 2010 triumph where he played a key part. After enjoying a good run with this team, he fell away when the franchises decided to pose their faith in other tweakers.
41 years old and never having played first-class cricket, Pravin Tambe, a club-cricketer in Mumbai, suddenly found himself catapulted to star status when Rajasthan Royals picked him in their 2013 IPL squad. The leg-spinner responded by making a mark in the 2013 IPL and even more so, in Champions League T20 a few months later. Tambe relied more on accuracy than turn or flight for success – a common theme with wrist bowlers in this format. He faded away after having a good 2014 season.
How different T20 cricket is from other formats can be gauged by the story of Ajit Chandila. This off-spinner from Haryana couldn't even get into his state's domestic team. Then came IPL and everything changed. He rose to fame by picking up a hat-trick in the 2012 edition of the league and seemed likely to get more success. But the spot-fixing scandal brought him disgrace and curtailment of career.
This left-arm spinner from Mumbai enjoyed a great time in the 2010-11 season – across formats. First, he emerged as one of the leading wicket-takers in Ranji Trophy, then adapting his skills to T20 format, he bagged a rich haul of wickets in the 2011 edition for Kolkata Knight Riders. Abdulla was declared as the rising star of IPL for his work but when it came to picking the Indian side – selectors preferred Rahul Sharma. Subsequently, this left-armer too went out of the spotlight.