Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) pacer Harshal Patel has been one of the best and surprise performers in the Indian Premier League (IPL) so far. A part of a team comprising of pacers like Daniel Sams, Daniel Christian, Scott Kuggeleijn and Navdeep Saini, Harshal would not have fancied his chances of making it to the playing XI at the start of the season. But the RCB think tank showed faith in him and the fast-bowler has delivered and with some aplomb.
He finished as the highest wicket-taker in the now-suspended tournament with a total of 17 wickets in 7 matches. Unlike the previous seasons, Avesh has been extremely economical and has executed the plans at the death with some perfection. He even bagged a five-wicket haul against the Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the season.
Harshal Patel emerged as a much-improved version of himself this season. He added a great wicket-taking option for RCB in the middle overs and in the death. The 30-year old impressed one and all with his performance but faltered in the final two games of the first half of the IPL 2021 where he went for runs in the death.
With a mega auction scheduled next season, it is unlikely that the Royal Challengers will retain Harshal. But then again there is a negligible chance that RCB will let go of the prolific wicket-taker without using the Right to Match card given his performance this season. If they do let the young quick go next season by any chance, these are the 3 teams who would want to sign him.
Mumbai Indians (MI) is one of the most balanced side in the history of the league. While they feature some big names in their squad, the defending champions have been struggling to lock in a third pacer. They have tried the likes of Nathan Coulter Nile, James Pattinson, Jimmy Neesham and Dhawal Kulkarni for the role but none of them have been able to deliver to the the expectations.
Harshal Patel could just be the perfect player for the role. His knack for taking wickets in the middle overs along with his ability to bat makes him just the right player to go along with Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. His inclusion will also ease the load on the already underperforming spin department.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) is hailed as one of the most balanced sides in the history of the league. But IPL 2021 saw the Sunrisers fail miserably and one big reason for it, second to their nonexistent middle order, is an ineffective pace battery. With both Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar failing to make an impact this season, they are in desperate need of an Indian pacer.
Harshal Patel will not only be a like for like replacement for either of the senior pros of the side, he gives the side a bowler who is fairly good with the bat. His knack for wickets could prove to the x-factor SRH quicks have missing this season. Harshal’s inclusion will also ease the burden on Rashid Khan in the middle overs.
Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were mighty impressive in the IPL 2021. They bounced back gracefully from a horrid season in 2020. While their batting unit was on song, it was their pace battery which lacked teeth. The absence of an impactful Indian pacer seemed to be hurting them in the middle overs.
As Shardul Thakur struggled to replicate his international heroics for the Yellow Army, CSK were left without an choice with KM Asif left as their only option. The inclusion of Harshal Patel will fill the void, giving them an inform wicket taker in the middle overs. An extra Indian quick is the only missing clog in what now seems to be a well oiled CSK side. With his abilities with the bat, Patel will be a like for like replacement for Shardul.