5 veterans who have taken IPL by storm

Imran Tahir's sprints and celebrations have become a known commodity at Chepauk now, as the 40-year-old has spun webs around many batsmen this season. PTI file photo

Through the motto - 'Yatra Pratibha Avsara Prapnotihi', which simply means, 'Where talent meets opportunity', the IPL's primary objective has been to foster talent by granting them the biggest of stages. 

Over the course of 12 seasons of this cash-rich league, many youngsters have entered the stage and made it their own. If the Indian cricket team that is traveling to England later in June is taken into perspective, we can assert that a handful of players have donned the blue colours through their promising IPL performances. 

Ravindra Jadeja's emergence as a genuine all-rounder in the inaugural season of the league opened many doors for the left-armer, who has been a servant to Indian cricket for many years now. The 'Rockstar', as nicknamed by former Rajasthan Royals skipper Shane Warne, was the leading wicket-taker in the Champions Trophy 2013. 

The deadly spin duo of Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal, along with Jasprit Bumrah, were all discovered and scouted by IPL coaches. They grabbed their opportunities with both hands and took little time to find their feet. 

However, it's quintessential to note that behind each other players' success recipes, there's been an involvement of an old ingredient. Jasprit Bumrah has developed his petrifying yorkers from none other than the irreplaceable Lasith Malinga, while without the counsel gifted by Shane Warne, Jadeja wouldn't have been a household name today. 

Thus, the IPL is not just about the youngsters bustling with energy, but about those who hold a firm grip on their side's balance with their rough, experienced hands. The presence of senior men, be it in the dressing room or around the 22 yards, has always proven to be a boon to the other members of the squad. 
Age is no bar for excellence, and some of the 'old boys' have already justified the same by taking the responsibility and showing the world why they are on numerous pages in the record books. 

On that note, let's take a look at five players who at or above the age of 35, have taken the league by storm:

#5 Harbhajan Singh 

CSK have been widely labelled as 'Daddy's XI', but time and time again, they continue to defy the odds, upstage their oppositions and find ways to claw their way back into matches. One of their better players this season has been Harbhajan Singh, who also happens to be the most economical operator with the ball this term. 

With an unreal economy of 5.12 and a frightening strike rate of just above 13, Harbhajan has claimed seven scalps in just four outings. He set the field ablaze with his opening spell in the first fixture of the season, when he sent the top order of RCB, including Virat Kohli, Moeen Ali and Ab de Villiers packing. 

The offie ended up with spectacular figures of 3/20 from his four overs and also took home the man of the match. 
 
#4 Ab de Villiers

And despite age not on his side, Ab de Villiers often makes us ponder, "Why is he not playing the World Cup?" 
 
The 35-year-old is an absolute gun in the field and between the wickets. But that, is just secondary to his batting prowess, as the South African remains one of the most feared willow-wielders in world cricket. 
 
The man who repeatedly leaves our jaws on the floor is striking at 154 this season. He has amassed 307 runs in eight matches, and is just starting to find his range in recent fixtures. 
 
In the previous match, de Villiers took charge from one end and regardless of the support he received from the batsman on the other end, he creamed almost every ball. Not to mention, his unbeaten 59 against KXIP masterminded RCB's only victory this season. 
 
Once again, Mr. 360 is appearing like a lone warrior for his franchise. 
 
#3 MS Dhoni

CSK lost just their second game of the season against the Sunrisers a couple of days ago, when while batting first, they endured a stop-start innings and failed to defend a substandard total of 132. 
 
It was always going to be difficult on a slower, spin-friendly Hyderabad wicket, but the presence of MS Dhoni was dearly felt among the players in the middle order, who just didn't manage to hit second gear in the hard-hitting overs. 
 
They missed the former India skipper's shrewd captaincy and brilliance, which goes without mention. But what was quite significant was how the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Ambati Rayudu failed to provide a late flourish. 
 
Dhoni, despite the growing back concerns and slow starts, has stuck by at the crease and finished matches for his side. He proved his priceless nature with an unbeaten 75(46) against RR, after CSK were reduced to 27/3. Of course, the defending champions went on to win the match. 
 
Dhoni who averages 76.6 this season, also registered his 100th win in the IPL as captain on 11 April, courtesy of the victory against RR. The man behind him is Gautam Gambhir, who is on 71 wins. 
 
#2 Chris Gayle 

Eight matches. 352 runs. 26 maximums. 
 
Yet again, Chris Gayle is just standing, and delivering for Kings XI. The destructive opener, despite being on the wrong side of his 30s, has soaked in all the pressure and put forth consistent performances for his side. 
 
He, alongside KL Rahul, is arguably the most formidable opening pair this season. Together, they have mustered 739 runs and done the bulk of their team's scoring. 
 
Gayle's approach of starting slowly and then taking off has still not been knocked off its perch. KXIP hold the record for the best run rate in overs 7-15, and a lot of credit goes to Gayle, who usually bides his time in the middle in order to explode in the middle and death overs. 
 
#1 Imran Tahir 

Imran Tahir's sprints and celebrations have become a known commodity at Chepauk now, as the 40-year-old has spun webs around many batsmen this season. It seems as though every time he picks up the ball, a wicket is around the corner. 
 
He has 15 wickets to his credit in just nine matches. More so, the veteran has restricted the flow of runs, built constant pressure on his oppositions and outfoxed them more often than not.
 
His performance against KKR on April 14 underlines the guile, valiance and skill he possesses. On an Eden Gardens pitch that is proving to be a nightmare to its own spinners in Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla, Tahir came up and recorded his best-ever figures in IPL cricket. (4-27)
 
He picked up two wickets in an over twice, dismissing the well-set Chris Lynn and the most valuable player of the season thus far - Andre Russell. Tahir executed the floaters and the straighter ones to perfection, as he completely trapped Russell, by enticing him to smash the ball out of the park time and time again. 
 
The West Indian smashed a couple over the ropes, but as it has happened all season, Imran Tahir had the last laugh. 
 

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