The law of diminishing returns is of great help to economists, but critics of New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor may use it as an apt description of his Indian Premier League career.
Since taking the first season by storm in just four matches for the Royal Challengers Bangalore with his lusty hitting over mid- wicket, Taylor has failed to make the most of his chances on the flat Indian pitches, and his figures have deteriorated every year.
And now, in the aftermath of the sixth IPL auction in Chennai on Sunday, speculation is mounting that the former BlackCaps skipper could be on his way out of the Delhi Daredevils, his third team in five years.
Taylor was woeful last season, turning up with an injured wrist and hardly being able to get the ball off the square after it had healed. He was given a long rope — 12 matches for just 197 runs with a strike rate of 115.20, 55 of which came in one innings — but failed to set the world alight. I N 2011, playing for Rajasthan Royals, Taylor had scored 181 runs in 12 matches, while his three seasons for Bangalore, he had compiled 149 runs in four games, 280 runs in 11 games and 88 runs in seven games respectively in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
This time around, Taylor is only expected to be available for the first half of the season, since New Zealand travel to England in May, and while Delhi will also miss the services of the flamboyant Kevin Pietersen, they have bought Jesse Ryder as cover for the South African- born Englishman.
The burly left- handed batsman has been placed in international exile by New Zealand Cricket for his repeated misdemeanours and alcohol problem, but when he gets going, he can bludgeon the opposition bowlers at will.
With other key international players David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene, Morne Morkel and Johan Botha available for the full season, and Pietersen being an automatic choice when he is around, that leaves no room for Taylor in the XI. Taylor came to Delhi after being traded by Rajasthan Royals for an undisclosed amount, having been purchased by the Jaipur franchise for $ 1 million in the 2010 auction.
A similar trade, for cash or other players, could make sound business sense for the Daredevils, owned by the GMR group.
There are a number of teams who could utilise Taylor’s skills, provided he can actually match his talent with performance. Kings XI Punjab, though perennially cash- strapped, need some star power as well as someone to bolster the middle- order, while a team like SunRisers Hyderabad could also use him well. A leftfield pick would be Bangalore, where Taylor was very popular among the fans, and the bounce on the wicket suited him more than the slower wickets in Jaipur or Delhi.
Coming close on the heels of the controversy surrounding his removal as New Zealand captain and his subsequent break from cricket, Taylor could feel a little hard done- by.
But it could just work in his favour, stoking up a desire to find a permanent IPL home, as a talent like him deserves.
NZ travel to England during the latter half of IPL- VI, and the purchase of exiled Jesse Ryder is adequate cover for Kevin Pietersen