From Finch to Faulkner: Wisden’s all-time XI of T20 stars who failed to crack the IPL

Presenting an XI of T20 superstars who struggled to fire in the IPL.

The Indian Premier League is arguably one of the toughest leagues in the world, with players from across nations assembling to take part in the competition. The harsh weather conditions, geographical challenges and tough travel schedule present their own challenges, which many have failed to master.

A few have and have gone on to become IPL greats, but there are also stars of the global game who were unable to leave a lasting impression for various reasons, despite conquering the international format.

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Aaron Finch

92 matches, 2.091 runs @ 17.20, SR: 140.98

The fact that Finch played for nine IPL teams in 11 seasons indicates his inability to cement his place for any particular team in the league. Picked for his mighty reputation of being a shorter format beast – he is the sixth-highest T20 run-scorer of all time – the former Australia captain struggled for momentum and rhythm year after year. Even when he was in the runs, his knocks lacked the fluency one came to associate with him.

Rohit Sharma (captain)

234 matches, 6,060 runs @ 30.15, SR: 130.04

Hear me out. Rohit has superior T20I international numbers, with a better strike rate and consistency than he has in the IPL. The opener has made four hundreds for India and 29 fifties but, most importantly, has struck at nearly 140, with India fans seeing an aggressive and free-flowing batter whenever he takes the field.

Rohit has excelled as a skipper in the IPL – winning five titles is no mean feat – but as a batter, his records are drastically sub-par. Except for 2008 and 2015, Rohit has never had a strike rate of more than 135 in any season. Since 2017, Rohit has neither averaged more than 30 nor has had a strike rate of more than 135 even once. Though he has over 6,000 IPL runs, his impactful knocks have been sporadic.

Brendon McCullum (wk)

109 matches, 2,880 runs @ 27.69, SR: 131.75

The New Zealand keeper started off his Indian Premier League career in fine fashion. He scored an unbeaten 158 in the very first match, but was unable to score at a strike rate of more than 130 in his next six seasons. From 2009 till 2014, McCullum averaged 26.5 with a strike rate of 116.8, as he failed to replicate his heroics from the first game.

The current England Test coach amassed close to 10,000 T20 runs, striking at nearing 137 with seven hundreds, but was not able to become an IPL legend. He shuffled between five teams before playing his last game in 2018.

Colin Munro

13 matches, 177 runs @ 14.75, SR: 125.53

Munro had already started making waves in international cricket in 2012 but had to wait till 2016 for an IPL debut for Kolkata Knight Riders. The big-hitter, with a T20I strike rate of 156.44, got limited chances that year, making 30 runs in four games. He struck at a rate of 100 and did not hit a single six before being released by the franchise. He was bought by Delhi Capitals in 2018 and played nine games over the next two seasons but without much success.

Overall, Munro has played 376 T20 games, scoring 9,493 runs at a strike rate of 141.62 with five hundreds and 55 fifties. However, limited and delayed chances in the IPL, could not help him find his footing in the league.

Eoin Morgan

83 matches, 1,405 runs @ 22.66, SR: 122.60

The former England skipper, credited for bringing an aggressive batting approach to the national team after he took over in 2015, was ironically well below par with the bat in the IPL. He struck at just under 123 after 83 games. The left-hander played in eight seasons but struck below 130 seven times, including below 120 thrice. His worst season was undoubtedly in 2021, when he guided his team Kolkata Knight Riders to the final, but hardly managed to get bat to ball, averaging 11.08 in 17 matches.

Yuvraj Singh

132 matches, 2,750 runs @ 24.77, SR: 129.72
36 wickets @ 29.92, ER: 7.44

Yuvraj Singh is one of the greatest all-rounders India has ever produced. He played a huge role in the side’s twin wins in the T20 World Cup (2007) and the 2011 World Cup. The left-hander, who struck six sixes in an over off Stuart Broad in a T20I and was one of the most aggressive hitters in the India team of the 2000s, was expected to create a similar impact in the IPL. He was exceptional in the first season, making 299 runs at a strike rate of 162.5. But, he failed to strike at more than 136 in the next ten seasons barring 2017. Unlike other superstars of Indian cricket, he failed to cement his place in one team, switching between six sides in his IPL career.

A handy spin bowler for India, Yuvraj’s bowling in the IPL also lacked zing.

Daniel Christian

49 matches, 460 runs @ 115.58
38 wickets @ 31.37, ER: 8.10

Christian is a T20 veteran having played 409 T20 games all over the world including in the Big Bash League, Caribbean Premier League and the Pakistan Super League. A clean-hitter, he is also a reliable bowler, picking up 280 scalps with nine four-plus wicket hauls. Christian, however, did not get many opportunities in the IPL, with a high score of 39.

James Faulkner

59 matches, 527 runs @ 21.08, SR: 135.48
59 wickets @ 30.14, ER: 8.69

Faulkner had an economy rate of under seven in 223 T20 games and picked up 262 wickets. He was an established finisher with the bat for Australia and bagged the Player of the Match award during Australia’s triumph over New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup final. He went on to become a reliable all-rounder for T20 leagues around the world but was unable to break into the IPL, where he played for four different sides.

James Neesham

12 matches, 61 runs @ 8.71, SR: 92.42
8 wickets @ 38.13, ER: 9.24

Neesham has hardly been given chances in the IPL, often coming in for injured or unavailable players and then making way when they return. Teams have not been able to exploit his big-hitting skills, which saw him strike at 161.41 in T20Is. He has also picked up 203 T20 wickets in 248 games and is often a useful player to have in the XI. IPL teams, however, seem to think otherwise.

Samuel Badree

12 matches, 11 wickets @ 29, ER: 7.42

Badree played his first T20 match in 2006 and made his IPL debut seven years later. Despite being a terrific bowler in all phases of the innings – West Indies often used the leg-spinner to open the bowling – IPL teams shied away from selecting him. It was hardly his fault, though, as franchises often prefer to have an Indian spinner in their ranks while filling the gaps elsewhere. Just ask Adil Rashid.

Chris Jordan

28 matches, 27 wickets @ 30.85, ER: 9.32

Jordan emerged as a death specialist for England in T20Is and conceded only eight runs in the penultimate over against West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup final before Carlos Brathwaite’s heroics took away the limelight. He continues to be a spearhead for T20 teams around the world, but has never quite found a way to succeed in the IPL.

The post From Finch to Faulkner: Wisden’s all-time XI of T20 stars who failed to crack the IPL appeared first on Wisden.

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