IPL 2012 May 28, 2012

The team of the tournament

A shoo-in at the top, a shoo-in at the bottom and plenty of match-winners in between

Here's our dream IPL XI for 2012. We've chosen only four foreign players, and tried to pick players in the roles they performed most during the season

1. Chris Gayle
Runs 733, strike rate 161, sixes 59
A no-brainer at the top of the order. Let's move on.

2. Gautam Gambhir (capt)
Runs 590, strike rate 144, 50s 6
Edged out Virender Sehwag, Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane for the other opener's slot because of his consistency and ability to score on difficult Eden Gardens pitches. Gambhir's passion trumped MS Dhoni's cool, so he's our captain. Also because of this legendary line, "We did it for Balaji."

3. Suresh Raina
Runs 441, strike rate 136, wickets 2, economy 7.50
Had an average season before a blitz in the final, during which he pulled bouncers and successfully attacked Sunil Narine. Made the cut because he can chip in with a couple of overs of spin if one of our bowlers has an off day. Raina was expectedly exceptional at cover.

4. Jacques Kallis
Runs 409, strike rate 107, wickets 15, economy 7.46
The dearth in quality Indian allrounders meant this role had go to an overseas player - Kallis, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard and Azhar Mahmood were the contenders. Kallis won because he was in better bowling form than the rest, and that majestic extra cover drive off Bravo in the final was the highlight of an innings that captured Kallis at his reliable best (in the T20 format, of course).

5. Rohit Sharma
Runs 433, strike rate 127, best 109*
Played one of the innings of the tournament on a not-so-easy pitch at Eden Gardens. Didn't have a spectacular season but still was one of the better Indian middle-order batsmen going around. Pairs up with Raina to strengthen the off-side field.

6. MS Dhoni (wk)
Runs 357, strike rate 129
Overseas players are more useful as bowlers or allrounders - unless you're Gayle - so this spot had to go to an Indian, ruling out AB de Villiers and Kumar Sangakkara. Among the Indians, Dhoni did not have much competition. Dinesh Karthik, anyone? While his keeping was top notch right through, Dhoni's batting was ordinary until the playoffs, and then he brought out the helicopter shot and everything else.

7. Ambati Rayudu
Runs 333, strike rate 132
The finisher in our team. Rayudu often had to speed up innings after Mumbai Indians' top order took its time, and he performed the role admirably. Good to watch too, played almost no cringe-worthy shots.

8. Dale Steyn
Wickets 18, average 16, economy 6.10
Perhaps the toughest spot to fill because Morne Morkel and Lasith Malinga were worthy contenders. Both of them, however, flagged towards the end of the season but Steyn left with the spell of the tournament. His 3 for 8 that knocked out Royal Challengers was unmatched for its hostile accuracy and frightening pace. It takes someone special to rattle Gayle.

9. Parvinder Awana
Wickets 17, average 22, economy 7.91
With quality Indian fast bowlers in short supply, Awana was one of the best on show in the IPL. A vital cog in the Kings XI attack, he bowled at brisk pace and moved the ball away consistently.

10. Umesh Yadav
Wickets 19, average 24, economy 7.42
The highest Indian wicket-taker, although Umesh did play five more games than Awana did. Vinay Kumar also claimed 19 but his economy rate was poor. Umesh found the Kotla pitch to his liking - it was fast and had bounce.

11. Sunil Narine
Wickets 24, average 13.50, economy 5.47
Another no-brainer, and he has a mohawk too. No other spinner came close.

12th man Steven Smith
Because he fields like superman would have.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Gayle Sehwag Gambhir(C) Watson Rohit Dhoni(W) Pathan Steyn Dinda Yadav Narine

  • am on May 30, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    In 2007 when none of the seniors were ready to be part of playing X1 then Dhoni showed the world that a bunch of youngsters can play like tigers and win the T20 WC , and then with seniors WC 2011 and there are so many Cups in the cupboard of team india in 50 over format in last few years ever since Dhoni has been captain. This year too CSK did not play upto their potential and yet they achieved 17 points and 4th spot. Where as teams like RCB and Royal challengers had enough opportunities to kick out CSK but they couldnt . So who in the right frame of mind can say that CSK dependent on other teams? Did CSK ask RCB and Royal challengers and punjab X1 to lose all matches? Think properly. It is simply a case of other teams not able to achieve what CSK could till the end of league. Thats it. Nothing less or more. It was fair. CSK got through to play offs because they did enough. And KKR they have been consistent bcoz of Sunil Narine. Gambhir was good but not great or terrific like Dhoni.

  • Srinivas on May 30, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    @Sebastian Joseph, the competition is not between Rohit Sharma and Bisla. Dhawan and Rahane instead of Rohit and Raina. Bisla instead of Dhoni. Coming to how many matches Bisla has won as opposed to Rohit - how many chances did Bisla get to even talk about such a comparison? Rohit is a wonderful 'talent' even after nearly 5 years. Nuff said about him and Raina. Time to move on and look beyond Rohit and Raina. It took us 10 years to drop an over-hyped cocky Harbhajan Singh. Let's not repeat the same mistake with Rohit and Raina and in the process hurt other lovely young batsmen in our country.

  • Sanjeev on May 30, 2012, 9:25 GMT

    My pick will have: 1. Gayle 2. Sehwag (for his 5 consecutive fifties) 3. Gambhir 4. Kallis 5. Raina 6. Dhoni (Captain) 7. Rayudu 8. Sunil naraine 9. Umesh Yadav 10.Nadeem / Bhatia (depends on pitch for slow indian pitch spinner) 11.Morkel 12. Rahane/Dhawan & Steyn/White

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Sorry, for a change this team doesn't look good to me. You seem to have given a lot of importance to the final / playoffs only. Kallis has bowled well, but if he must play, then he should open with Gayle. There is no way Kallis can come at no.4 if the 2nd wicket goes at about 10 overs or later. One thing that KKR was lucky about was that McCullum and Kallis didn't bat together in the final. Unless there is a blazer in the other end, both are spoilers. There are other all rounders to consider. Albie Morkel, Bravo both are good. Why not Shakib-Al-Hasan? He would have been far more effective than Kallis if he batted at no.3 all the way. Kallis and McCullum have been way too much pampered this time.

    I also think Raina, Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are doubtful.

  • Sasikumar on May 30, 2012, 7:34 GMT

    Fifth bowler will be weaker, dont say kallis will always take the load no doubt he is a legend cant trust him all the time in T20 format...raina will be good but not all the time...Albie or Bravo will be perfect spice in place of Kallis will add more variety and balance in the team...

  • rahul on May 30, 2012, 4:20 GMT


  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    For every team selection, there will be a million other alternate teams picked by fans.. I think this is a good attempt by cricinfo but Suresh Raina ahead of Dhawan was a bit over the top.

  • Dummy4 on May 30, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    Dravid_Gravitas: How many matches Rohith won for Mi and how many matches Bisla won for Kolkatta, just one perfomance takes him nowhere

  • V.L on May 30, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    I would slot the middle order with Ajinkya Rahane instead of Rayudu. Rahane was more consistent. Dhoni can play the finisher role too! @Sivan180 Can you read? It says IPL 2012: Team of the tournament! Not overall!

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