was plucked from a T20 tournament in Mumbai and handed a $24,000 contract with Rajasthan Royals when he was 18 years old. Though small and wiry, the left-arm quick possessed ample promise, exemplified by his defence of seven runs in a Super Over against Knight Riders in 2009. Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum and Sourav Ganguly are among his 12 T20 wickets in 11 matches but questions over the legality of his action stalled his career in senior cricket. He has two first-class matches to his credit, both for Colts Cricket Club in Sri Lanka.
He added a hat-trick, this past Monday, to his burgeoning reputation as one of the most memorable rookies the IPL has unearthed. At 41, the canny legspinner was splitting his time between a day job and club cricket when he was surprisingly named in Mumbai's squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy last year. He didn't get to play any matches, but he fell into the Royals' radar. A stellar Champions League followed, in which he pipped Sunil Narine among others to become the leading wicket-taker. Called up to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy side for the first time, his first two matches in long-form cricket proved a difficult initiation. He currently averages 115 in first-class cricket, but he has shown he can excel in the shortest form, conceding 6.11 per over and striking every 15.7 balls.
A Mumbai allrounder who bowled legspin, Dinesh Salunkhe had a near dream start to his cricketing journey, getting noticed in Cricket Star, a cricket talent hunt and reality show. He won a scholarship to train with Leicestershire and also played a few matches for their second XI. The biggest boost, however, was getting picked for Rajasthan Royals in 2008. That season, Salunkhe played six matches and took one wicket as Royals surged to the top as the IPL's inaugural champions. Since then, he hasn't played a first-class or List A game.
Already known as a good Under-19 cricketer, Taruwar Kohli made his T20 debut in the same match as Dinesh Salunkhe and played just four IPL matches in two seasons for Royals and Kings XI Punjab, scoring 11 runs in all. He made his first-class debut for Punjab in the following domestic season and his best performance came in the 2012-13 season when he scored a triple-century in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final against Jharkhand. He is a more constant feature in limited-overs competitions for Punjab, where he also pitches in with his right-arm medium-pace.
Impressive performances on the local circuit earned Siddharth Chitnis a call-up to the Mumbai Indians squad in 2008, when he made his debut against Deccan Chargers. That was to be his only season with Mumbai, as he moved to Rajasthan Royals in 2009 and then Kings XI Punjab in 2011 and 2012, scoring 99 IPL runs overall in 11 games. A first-class debut came his way in 2010, his only game in the format so far, but he recently made a comeback to the Mumbai one-day side, after spending the whole 2013-14 season out of the team.
Before he earned his first IPL cap - his first match in any senior cricket - Shoaib Shaikh's most memorable cricketing moment came when he scored 37 in a one-day game against a touring English side that featured James Anderson, Steve Harmison and Andrew Flintoff. When he made his IPL debut in 2009, the Kolkata Knight Riders No.11 did not get to bat nor was his medium pace needed later on. One more match and Shaikh was left on the bench at Knight Riders and at Mumbai Indians. Five years on from that IPL debut, he has only 12 List A matches (in which he averages 35.41) and 11 T20s (strike rate 107.20) under his belt. The 27-year old is yet to make his first-class debut.
Alagappan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo
Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo