Gujarat Lions’ West Indian all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, who was an important asset to the team last season, has been ruled out of the 2017 Indian Premier League after failing to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained during the Big Bash League earlier this year.
The young owner of Gujarat Lions Keshav Bansal took to Twitter to confirm the development just before his team’s match against Kings XI Punjab at the SCA stadium in Rajkot. At the toss, captain Raina revealed that the West Indian’s rehab is going on well but the Indian summer climate is not suiting him. He also confirmed that Bravo will need at least four weeks to come back to the field and the team management will decide a replacement for Bravo.
With that in mind, here are the five players who can do justice to the all-rounders’ role
#1 Irfan Pathan
One of the most surprising elements from this year’s IPL auction was that former India all-rounder, Irfan Pathan went unsold, despite his good performance in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Tournament which was played only days before the auctions.
Irfan, emotional after going unsold, took to Twitter to thank his fans for their support, and give a brief about how he overcame several threatening injuries in his cricket career to come back stronger every time.
Pathan had missed the majority of last season due to injuries but had a good run in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he picked up five wickets in four games with an economy rate of 6.28. The southpaw could have been picked at his base price of Rs. 50 lakh. But for now, he can be the man for the crisis for the Gujarat Lions. (And Irfan belongs to Gujarat too!)
#2 Andile Phehlukwayo
In the 2015-16 domestic season, South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo was the Hollywoodbets Dolphins' (South Africa’s domestic team) leading wicket-taker in the 20-over competition. He took 12 wickets at an average of 21.75, which earned him a place in the South African XI that played against the touring England.
Phehlukwayo’s career-best 5 for 62 took South Africa A to victory over Zimbabwe A in an unofficial Test. He was also the highest wicker-taker in a quadrangular 50-over competition in Australia.
In September 2016, the youngster was named in South Africa's ODI squad for home series against Ireland and Australia.
His record with the bat too has been good; scoring 125 runs from six innings in international ODIS, and 535 runs from 24 domestic ODIS. Although his T20 record is not too great, IPL can be a great platform for the 21-year old who has not featured in any other T20 domestic leagues in the world.
#3 Grant Elliot
Grant Elliott, who hit a six off South African quick Dale Steyn to take New Zealand into their first ever World Cup cricket final in 2015, retired from international cricket earlier this year to play in England’s Twenty20 competition.
Elliott, who featured in 83 one-day internationals and five Test matches for the national team over is a destructive batsman when in form and a handy swing bowler. The Kiwi has on many occasions been the match-winner for New Zealand and will add a lot of experience to the Gujarat line-up.
Elliott, who has played in the Bangladesh Premier League and Pakistan Super League, can be a befitting replacement for the West Indian all-rounder.
#4 James Neesham
The 26-year-old James Neesham scored a composed innings in New Zealand's six-run victory over South Africa in February to level the series. He hit 71 not out from 57 balls, an innings that featured six fours as he, along with Ross Taylor, stitched a 123-run fifth wicket partnership to win the game for the Blackcaps.
Over the past five months, James has started to realise his ODI batting potential and is averaging 41 in his last 10 innings. He has knocks of 74 and 48 against Australia and another unbeaten 71 at England. With the ball, he has taken 11 wickets from 13 T20i, and in ODIs, 32 wickets from 33 innings.
Neesham was picked by Delhi Daredevils in IPL 7, and by KKR in IPL 8, but unfortunately could not even play a single match due to injury.
#4 Sean Abbott
Sean Abbott had a great BBL season in 2016-17. His bowling was a box of tricks, with a variety of slow balls, bouncers and Yorkers. He took 5 for 16 against the Strikers and also held his nerve in the super over of the semi-final.
The Australian took at least one wicket in eight consecutive matches and also hit the winning runs in a down-to-the-wire game against the Heats. The 25-year-old then went on to score 33 off 17 to defeat the Stars and make it to the semi-finals.
Abbott was bought by RCB in the 2015 auctions for INR 1 crore but was released before the 2016 auctions due to an already balanced team.