Manvinder Bisla has surely now become a household name following his innings of 89 off 48 balls that won Kolkata Knight Riders their maiden Indian Premier League title on Sunday night, beating defending champions Chennai Super Kings at the Chidambaram Stadium. The right-hander is not new to the league. He was part of the Deccan Chargers squad in 2009 before moving to Kings XI Punjab where he got a few matches but failed to charge the imagination of the fans.
He move to Kolkata last year but not much changed for him there in his first season. However, the wicketkeeper batsman has emerged from obscurity to the glittering world of fame overnight with that one innings that put the skids under MS Dhoni’s two-time champions in front of a packed house in Chennai.
The 27-year-old made his first-class debut for Haryana in 2002 but moved to Himachal Pradesh the very next season hoping to get more opportunities there. One looks at his overall record and finds nothing extraordinary about it. In 42 first-class matches, his batting average is 29. His 125 catches and three stumpings don’t recommend him much either.
Even this season he was not the first choice for Kolkata, thanks to the presence of New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum in the squad. Bisla got just seven games compared to McCullum’s 12 but certainly outperformed the Kiwi - as far as batting is concerned. He scored 213 runs at an average and a strike rate of 30.42 and 133.12 respectively, while McCullum scored 289 in 12 ties at 24.08 with the strike rate of 102.12.
In hindsight, it has to be said Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir played a masterstroke by dropping the reputed Kiwi in favour of a player yet to prove himself. Bisla repaid his captain’s faith in great proportions. After all chasing 191 to win, when they lost in-form Gambhir in the first over itself, who would have thought that it would be Kolkata’s night eventually?
Bisla is no more an anonymity. At the end of the day, every player wants to play for his country, and he will certainly have drawn attention of the Indian selectors after his heroics. Of course, one innings does not get you the India call-up but it can put you in the picture, for sure. Players like Yusuf Pathan, Ajinkya Rahane, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and many others went on to play for India after catching the eye through IPL. Bisla can do the same. All he needs now is consistent performances in domestic cricket to realize that ultimate dream.