Steyn, Bhajji, Jadhav: Players Unlikely to Feature in IPL Again
Age for some, lack of form for some, these star players have looked a shadow of themselves in this year’s IPL.
In cricket, like in life, nothing is constant. You might be the MVP one year and struggle to keep your place in the side the next year. Ask Andre Russell.
Likewise, several players who have bossed the IPL over the years are no longer the force they once were. They are still good, make no mistake, but their best years are almost certainly behind them.
The nature of the beast that IPL is, you have to be at the top of your game and be one of the best across the world to warrant a place in a franchise's squad. The bar is set even higher if you are an overseas player, with a cap of four international players per franchise.
International stars who might still be automatic picks in other domestic T20 leagues such as Australia's Big Bash League or the Pakistan Super League often don't make it in the IPL, which is a testament to the quality of the tournament and the players involved in it.
When you think of players who might never don an IPL jersey again, the first name that comes to mind is of legendary Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. Watson is a two-time MVP winner and teams would have given their arm to have him in the squad in his pomp.
However, with diminishing returns, the Aussie announced his IPL retirement after CSK's last group match. Perhaps, to evade the ignominy of making this very list.
Then, there are players like Imran Tahir, Robin Uthappa, Varun Aaron and Mohit Sharma who are in the last leg of their respective careers. We may not see them in the IPL again or at best, they have one more year left in the tank.
Below, we look at names, which are unlikely to feature in the IPL in the future:
It was a struggle to see Kedar Jadhav bat in IPL 2020 and be sure that it would have been an even bigger struggle being Jadhav. Contrary to the image, the right-hand batter has never really blossomed in the IPL. His best season in terms of runs scored was in 2017, when he accumulated 267 runs.
In fact, Jadhav has never touched a batting average of 30 in the IPL. What then explains him being picked by Chennai for a whopping INR 7.8 crore? Perhaps, it was the Team India credentials of the all-rounder (you can call him that though he hasn't been bowling of late), his street smart acumen and the faith of skipper MS Dhoni in his abilities which got him the gig.
While seasoned analysts never really expected him to set the IPL 2020 on fire, fans would have certainly expected better returns than 62 runs from eight matches at a strike rate of 93.93. Jadhav's career has hit rock-bottom.
Another CSK batsman who can hang his IPL jersey for good is Murali Vijay. Vijay, who had played a total of only three matches in the last two years, was given an opportunity by CSK at the top of the order due to the dearth of Indian batting talent.
In three outings, Vijay managed just 32 runs. More importantly, he never looked the part. Vijay, who has slammed two IPL tons, 127 in IPL 2010 and 113 in IPL 2012, has looked a shadow of himself after 2016 and his days in the IPL might be over.
It was a shame to see a world-class bowler with 439 Test wickets being carted around the park in this season, even by youngsters. Steyn, who is among the top 20 wicket-takers of all-time in the IPL, sent jitters in the opposition camp in his heyday.
Although he still has the ability to hit 140 kph, the zing in his bowling is missing. The injury-plagued right-arm fast bowler featured in three matches for RCB in IPL 2020 and could pick up just one wicket at an average of 133.00 and an economy of 11.40. Numbers you don't associate with arguably the best pace bowler of his generation.
It was a surprise when veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was picked by Chennai Super Kings at the first place in 2018 for the three-year IPL auction cycle. The 40-year-old exceeded expectations last year by doing commentary for most of the year and then slipping into the player's kit and doing a great job with 16 wickets in IPL 2019.
But, in the absence of match practice, it was always going to be a stretch for the veteran spinner to carry on. Bhajji's decision of opting out of IPL 2020 due to personal reasons pretty much sounded the death knell for his IPL career.
Former Kings XI Punjab captain and a proven finisher, Killer Miller could get only one game in IPL 2020. Having shifted bases to Rajasthan Royals, he got a royal raw deal, dismissed for a diamond duck in his only appearance for the franchise. The Protea batsman couldn't even face a ball and was run-out.
He wasn't able to break into the playing XI again, with the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes claiming their spots. With his form on a decline over the last couple of years, Miller's tally of 80 IPL games is unlikely to grow.
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