Top 5 Underrated Stars of IPL Cricket

Freddie Wilde@@fwildecricketContributor IDecember 13, 2013

Top 5 Underrated Stars of IPL Cricket

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    We all know about the superstar signings and the big names from the world's glitziest T20 league, but what about those who sneak under the radar; those who, quietly but efficiently, get the job done for their franchises?

    I have ranked the top five underrated stars of the IPL. 

    Click "Begin Slideshow" to find out who they are.

Dwayne Smith

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    The West Indian, Mumbai Indians all-rounder has long lived in the shadow of Sachin Tendulkar, but now, following the maestro's retirement, he may well receive the acclaim he deserves.

    While Tendulkar's career has tailed off in recent years, Smith has had the difficult task of opening with Tendulkar. A silent, but crucial, factor in Mumbai's victorious campaign last season was its 418 runs, including 4 fifties.

James Faulkner

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    Not so underrated following a superb season this year, but his value in the shortest format remains immense. 

    Faulkner took 26 wickets in the latest campaign for the Rajasthan Royals, including two five-wicket hauls. His canny changes of pace and intelligent use of the crease proved difficult to get away on particularly slow pitches. Expect his value to soar at the next auction.

Brad Hodge

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    Along with James Faulkner, Brad Hodge is a key Australian for the Royals. But rather than with the ball, it's with the bat that Hodge comes into his own. 

    Hodge's great international experience has proved essential in tight run chases, with the Victorian rarely buckling under pressure. A wide range of stokes, and an uncanny ability to keep his team within touching distance of the asking rate, are priceless abilities. Age, however, appears to be something that counts against IPL players, and Hodge has never received an enormous auction price. But don't be surprised to see teams fork out a bit extra for the Royals' master finisher.

Mohit Sharma

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    Chennai have long struggled in the bowling department but have got by thanks to a fantastic batting order. This season, they were given a great boost by the form of seamer Mohit Sharma, who picked up 20 wickets at an average of 16. The skiddy and accurate medium pacer took important top-order wickets before the most successful CSK spinners took over. His stellar season earned him an international berth.

Azhar Mahmood

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    Pakistani players have a propensity to be undervalued in this Indian league, and most of them are barred from the auction. However, Mahmood is one who does feature, and his superb, canny limited overs bowling, as well as being powerful lower-order hitter, make him a superb catch for any franchise. 

    He has plenty of experience in the T20 format, having played for many, many teams. A volatile Kings XI Punjab team always look more steady for his presence.