IPL 2012 May 27, 2012

Big investments, low returns

Five players who failed to live up to their billing in IPL 2012

Robin Uthappa
Runs: 405 at a strike-rate of 118.07

Pune Warriors paid a whopping $2.1 million for Robin Uthappa in 2011 as they aimed to build a team around him and Yuvraj Singh. This year, in Yuvraj's absence, Uthappa was expected to infuse explosiveness into the batting order. Uthappa ended up as the leading run-scorer for his team, but failed to give any impetus at the top, in a line-up which begged for some urgency.

Harbhajan Singh
Wickets: Six at 64.00
Economy: 7.11

After losing out his India team spot, Harbhajan Singh needed a strong showing in domestic cricket which, unfortunately for him, didn't happen. But when he took the reins of a strong Mumbai Indians team, it was expected that the bright lights of the IPL would inspire Harbhajan to raise his game, like in the Champions League Twenty20 in 2011 where he led them to the title. But while the team qualified for the playoffs, Harbhajan's bowling form took a massive dip as he went 11 matches without a wicket. His return to international cricket remains in serious doubt after he missed a golden opportunity.

Ross Taylor
Runs: 197 at a strike rate of 115.20

Ross Taylor was traded in from Rajasthan Royals as part of Delhi Daredevils' strategic acquisitions at the start of the season to beef up their batting. His failures went unnoticed initially when Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen were bullying other teams. But when finally the calling came, Taylor looked miserably out of touch. For a player of his class, he had only one big-scoring shot - the hoick towards the leg side and bowlers were smart enough to shut it out.

Irfan Pathan
Wickets: Eight at 58.12
Economy: 7.75
Runs: 176 at a strike-rate of 139.68

Another season, where Irfan Pathan's team and his fans would have hoped to see some swing from the allrounder, ended in disappointment. Sehwag threw the new ball repeatedly to Irfan, who did bowl some good overs at the top but his lack of pace and swing meant that he became cannon fodder for the batsmen. He scored some useful runs, but for his huge fan base that wants him to reprise his form from his early career, he continues to be an enigma. It was a poor season for the Pathan family, with even Yusuf doing little of note besides a game-changing cameo in the playoff against Delhi Daredevils.

Saurabh Tiwary
Runs: 191 at a strike rate of 112.35
Saurabh Tiwary's excellent IPL season two years ago with Mumbai Indians, his physical presence and the fact that he is from Jharkhand (the same state as MS Dhoni) were promising enough signs for Royal Challengers Bangalore to invest $1.6 million. However, that investment is yet to pay any returns as Tiwary wasted a number of opportunities and apart from the last-ball six in the win against Pune Warriors, he struggled to force the pace.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo