If Test cricket is Clark Kent, IPL is the sport's Superman. For a decade now, the Indian Premier League has produced a succession of stupendously talented cricketers—from swashbuckling batsmen whose flashing willows dazzle the crowds, to devastating bowlers who derail opponents with express pace, and fielders who rewrite physics textbooks with gravity-defying catches. For most of us captivated by T-20 cricket, these players are no less than superheroes. So let's look at the some of the most exciting players in the IPL, and the 'super powers' that put each of them at the top of the game.
Rohit Sharma, aka Hitman
One of the most talented batsmen India has ever produced, Rohit Sharma is known for his batting elegance, super-fast reflexes, and for making huge shots look ridiculously easy, with his perfect sense of timing. Die-hard fans of the 'Hitman' will never forget his 264 runs, the highest-ever ODI score for a batsman, against Sri Lanka in late 2014. But for all his hardcore abilities, Rohit still has the soft-spoken demeanour that we all love in our heroes. Currently leading Mumbai Indians in the IPL's tenth season, the Hitman will play a major role in helping his team battle for its third IPL title.
KL Rahul, aka The Batting Machine
In a format where batsmen come and go in the space of a few strokes, the tall wicketkeeper-batsman from Bangalore Royal Challengers knows how to stand his ground. One of the most consistent batsmen in recent years, KL Rahul hit tons on his ODI debut, and in his second Test match. He also holds the record for the highest T20 score by an Indian batsman (110*). And to top it off, Rahul has a knack for innovative shots, pulling deceptively easy-looking sixes out of his hat with amazing regularity. With his love for the new ball and penchant for keeping scorers busy, KL Rahul is clearly a Batting Machine in human form!
Rishabh Pant, aka Mr. Explosive
Twenty-year old Rishabh Pant is a young sensation who's being called 'Mr. Explosive', for his batting style. The left-handed batsman, who plays for the Delhi Daredevils, raised eyebrows when he smashed an 18-ball 50 at the 2016 Under-19 World Cup. That same year, Rishabh scored the fastest ton in Ranji Trophy history. Known as a fiery batsman who instantly punishes loose deliveries, Mr. Explosive's dominating style and safe hands will make him a huge asset for the Daredevils this year.
Tim Southee, aka Speed Demon
The Kiwi pace spearhead uses outswingers like a weapon, and with deadly effect. In 2012, he ripped through India's batting line-up during a test match in Bangalore, claiming 7 for 64 runs. His wicked line and accuracy make him a key player, both for New Zealand, and the IPL's Mumbai Indians side. Southee is also an aggressive tail-end batsman, whose power-hitting is well suited for the T20 format.
Kagiso Rabada, aka Quick Fire
The young fast bowler from South Africa might be playing his first IPL this year, but he already has the responsibility of leading the Delhi Daredevils's bowling attack. A couple of years ago, Rabada's hat-trick (he claimed 6 wickets in all) in his debut ODI game against Bangladesh wowed the cricketing fraternity. He is also the youngest South African to take a 10-wicket haul in a Test match. No wonder that the right-arm quickie is being called the next big thing in world cricket!
Kieron Pollard, aka The Beast
Since 2010, Kieron Pollard has all but cemented his place in the Mumbai Indians side. The well-built Trinidadian is feared for his aggressive batting and effective medium-pace bowling in the 20-20 format of the game. His 60 not-out played a critical role in helping MI lift the 2013 IPL trophy. The big-hitting all-rounder is also a capable fielder, who puts his height to good use on the field.
Kuldeep Yadav, aka The Fox
Kuldeep Yadav, India's first 'Chinaman' (left-arm unorthodox spinner), recently impressed critics with his 4-wicket haul on Test debut against Australia. His feat also gave him a reputation for being a bowler with a few tricks up his sleeve. But that's not all Yadav, aka The Fox, is known for. In the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season, Yadav was the highest wicket-taker and highest run-scorer for his side, Uttar Pradesh. The Kolkata Knight Riders will surely be banking on this 22-year-old's magical fingers, as well as his ability with the bat, in IPL 10.
Adidas Cricket is celebrating the Superheroes of IPL 2017 with its new digital campaign, titled #III, which showcases the brand's love and commitment to the game and cricket fans across the country. The new campaign also seeks to showcase the superb talent of players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant, among others. Learn more about the campaign here.