The Indian Premier League has always been about how well the foreign stars gel with the domestic talent and take their respective franchises to the summit in the competition.
Ask any young Indian player, and they will say the best part about playing in the IPL is that they have a chance to brush shoulders with players like Steve Smith, Brendon McCullum, Ben Stokes, David Warner and so on.
But the interesting thing about this season is that some of the foreign stars have mostly been seen warming the bench and egging their teammates on.
South Africa’s star batsman Faf du Plessis has played only two matches for the Rising Pune Supergiant, mostly because he doesn't fit anywhere in the team’s preferred combination, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore have had to keep the hard-hitting Chris Gayle in and out of the side due to his poor form.
Here’s a look at five overseas stars, who have mostly warmed the bench in this IPL season.
1. Shakib Al Hasan
The best all-rounder in the ICC T20 rankings, Shakib Al Hasan has played only one match in this season so far.
The Bangladeshi player has been an integral part of the Kolkata Knight Riders set up since he joined the team in 2011, but in this season, he has not been able to find a place in the side.
The 30-year-old arrived late for this year’s IPL because he was playing for Bangladesh in the two-match T20 series against Sri Lanka.
By the time Hasan joined the KKR camp, the franchise already seemed to have a settled unit.
2. Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson was one of the deadliest bowlers in his prime, but now, he is made to sit out and watch other bowlers do the job for the team.
The 35-year-old left-arm fast bowler has played only two matches in this season and has picked up just one wicket.
The Mumbai Indians have preferred to play Mitchell McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga as their overseas fast bowlers.
3. Chris Gayle
The hard-hitting Chris Gayle is not able to find form in this edition of the IPL as well. After recording scintillating averages of 67.55, 61.08, 59.00 and 40.91 in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015, the West Indian has managed just one big knock (77 runs vs Gujarat Lions) in his six innings so far.
The 37-year-old has played six matches out of RCB’s 11 matches. The team management feels that it is better to play Australia’s Travis Head.
Gayle failed to get going in the last season as well. He scored only two fifties in the 10 matches that he played for RCB.
4. Faf du Plessis
The Rising Pune Supergiant have such a big pool of overseas players that they have been able to give South Africa’s T20 captain Faf du Plessis only two matches in this season.
The 32-year-old, who recorded a decent average of 34.33 in the last season, has made way for the franchise’s captain Steve Smith, all-rounders Ben Stokes and Daniel Christian, and leg-spinner Imran Tahir.
Du Plessis is probably the unluckiest player in this season.
5. Marlon Samuels
The Delhi Daredevils are having another horrific IPL season, and this time, it’s mostly because JP Duminy and Quinton de Kock were unavailable for the tournament.
But even when De Kock ruled himself out of the IPL in March, the Delhi Daredevils found a replacement in West Indies’ Marlon Samuels only by 27 April.
And once Samuels joined the IPL franchise in 29 April, he missed the game against Kings XI Punjab the next day, because he had just joined the team.
But he was warming the bench for the match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on 2 May as well.