May 22, 2012

IPL 2012

The benchwarmer XI

Nikita Bastian
Dirk Nannes celebrates bowling Sarul Kanwar, Mumbai Indians v RCB, CLT20 final, Chennai, October 9, 2011
When the leading wicket-taker in Twenty20 cricket spent a season on the sidelines ...  © Associated Press
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Is much of the foreign talent in the IPL going to waste? That's a hot topic for debate, every time the IPL comes around. If a team has a settled XI and no availability issues, that would mean that seven of the 11 overseas signings in the squad might not do much more than give the occasional interview from the dugout through the season. Should the number of foreigners allowed in the team be increased from four, or the number in the squad reduced from 11? After all, it does seem rather wasteful allowing this list of players to go 16 matches without getting a single game:

Tamim Iqbal, batsman, Pune Warriors:After a decent start to the tournament, Warriors fell away rapidly in main due to their repeated batting failures, yet the big-hitting Tamim, who was coming off a fine Asia Cup showing (think scores of 64, 70, 59 and 60) and is someone used to the slow-low subcontinent conditions, missed out.

Eoin Morgan, batsman, Kolkata Knight Riders: Arguably England's best limited-overs player - only Kevin Pietersen has more Twenty20 International runs - Morgan has lost out in a Knight Riders side that has had their best IPL season so far.

Dirk Nannes, fast bowler, Royal Challengers Bangalore: Nannes is the leading wicket-taker overall in Twenty20 cricket. Surely Royal Challengers, who had most of their stars in the batting department, could have tried to make space for him?

Charl Langeveldt, fast bowler, Royal Challengers: Another Royal Challengers' quick who is high up on the Twenty20 wicket-takers chart, but didn't get a game in this IPL. The Chinnaswamy pitch has traditionally been batsmen-friendly, so shoring up the bowling with quicks like him could have made sense.

Dinesh Chandimal, wicketkeeper-batsman, Rajasthan Royals: Chandimal fit the preferred Royals' mould almost perfectly - not a big star, but with plenty of talent and one to look out for in the future. Yet, he could not break into the playing XI.

Scott Styris, allrounder, Chennai Super Kings: Super Kings are one of those sides with a more or less settled first team, but if they needed yet another allrounder, they always had Scott Styris. In terms of Twenty20 runs, Styris sits only behind Brendon McCullum and Ross Taylor among the New Zealand players.

Suraj Randiv, offspinner, Super Kings: Randiv has been on the fringes of the Sri Lanka team for a couple of years now. Following a strong showing on the domestic circuit, he made a comeback to the national side for the Tests against England in March-April, and then combined with Rangana Herath to destroy England in Galle.

George Bailey, batsman, Super Kings: A destructive middle-order batsman, George Bailey, is Australia's Twenty20 captain. In fact, he was named captain on international Twenty20 debut, when Australia took on India earlier this year.

Travis Birt, batsman, Delhi Daredevils: Another hard-hitter, Travis Birt topped the runs chart in the inaugural season of Australia's Big Bash League. He scored 345 at an average of 43, at a good clip too - he also finished that tournament second on the sixes table, behind only Chirs Gayle.

Gulam Bodi, batsman, Daredevils: Bodi is something of a Twenty20 specialist and is highly rated on the South African domestic circuit. He demonstrated his skills with a 52-ball 90 in March, an innings that was studded with five sixes and set up a 115-run win for Lions against Warriors (the South African franchise).

Rilee Rossouw, batsman, Royal Challengers: Another highly rated batsman from South Africa, Rossouw was among the top-ten run-makers in the domestic MiWAY T20 Challenge. There, he scored 268 runs, at a strike-rate of close to 150.

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by Harsha on (May 23, 2012, 18:20 GMT)

In addition to the foreign players,some local players who performed decently in the previous seasons have been bought by rich teams like Mumbai Indians just to deprive other teams of their services.T.Suman,who played well for Deccan a couple of seasons back in in M.I. now and I think he has played like 2or 3 games since last season...

Posted by Sourav on (May 23, 2012, 18:12 GMT)

Allow more teams...play each other once

Posted by nil on (May 23, 2012, 18:06 GMT)

I think 5th foreign player should be allowed if he is uncapped at international level, or if he plays for associate nation.

Posted by LateCut on (May 23, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

Tamim's non-selection surprised me the most. But, who knows the reason! May be he was physically unfit or not having good show at the nets. Perhaps Dada did not jeopardize his own chance of playing.

Posted by Ahnaf on (May 23, 2012, 17:28 GMT)

How Tamim,Nannes & Chandimal didn't play a game for their franchise is beyond imagination.

Posted by Ajay on (May 23, 2012, 17:08 GMT)

Well i think its fair...there is room for 4 overseas players so teams have to pik the best...but rest of the 7 overseas players are getting a good experience of indian conditions, by playing practise matches here, practisng here...so i think everything is fine

Posted by SSG on (May 23, 2012, 16:31 GMT)

Among all at least the in-form Tamim Iqbal should have been included. Pune were struggling & still they did not give him a go.

Posted by Parthasarathy on (May 23, 2012, 16:30 GMT)

Full liberalization is needed for the teams to have any number of foreign players. Let the domestic ones earn their places.

Posted by Kash on (May 23, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

4 International Players is good enough. You want to not just make money, but identify Future talent in India via IPL. This is an excellent platform for that and having 7 Indian players does give room for experimenting with Indian players. Invariably, the 2011 world cup win has some of its roots in the IPL.

Posted by Ahsan on (May 23, 2012, 14:41 GMT)

The number of foreign players per team per match should be 5 not 4

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