Every year in the Indian Premier League, with the cap on the number of foreign players available and the embarrassment of riches that most franchises have, certain players continue to remain mismanaged. Here is a look at 5 such players from the last 3 editions of the tournament.
1. Albie Morkel – Chennai Super Kings
When you have a batting line up as strong as the Chennai Super Kings, one or two players are bound to be under used, but Albie Morkel got the rough end of the stick more often than not. It is renowned that Morkel can hit the ball a mile, but like any batsman, he also needs some time to get his eye in. All too often, Morkel has had to come in and go slam-bang from ball one, something that the best of players would struggle to do.
Even in terms of his bowling, Morkel was not used effectively by MS Dhoni. With his smart variations, Morkel is more a run saving option in the middle overs rather than a strike bowler. But, given CSK’s lack of fast bowling quality, Morkel has had to bowl with the new ball and bear the brunt of the attack. Even when used in such a manner, Morkel managed to win a few games on his own. The assault on Virat Kohli in a steep chase stands out and will probably remain Morkel’s best moment in the yellow of the Super Kings.
2. Johan Botha – Delhi Daredevils
Although Delhi Daredevils had to play their big trio of David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene and Morne Morkel in every game, Johan Botha should have been a certainty for the fourth overseas player’s slot. Especially given that the Daredevils did not have a front-line Indian spinner in their line up, Botha should have played more matches than he ended up playing for the Daredevils.
More reasons for Botha to have played for the Daredevils is his impressive record in limited overs cricket. In T20 internationals, Botha has an excellent T20 economy rate of 6.37 and an ODI economy rate of 4.50. The biggest plus with Botha is his ability to contribute with the bat. He can be an explosive batsman lower down the order, and the Daredevils might have had a better 2013 season had they placed more trust in Botha.
3. Glenn Maxwell – Mumbai Indians
Sometimes in franchise-based sport, price dictates how people look at certain things. That is exactly the case with Glenn Maxwell and the Mumbai Indians. After having bought him for $1 million, Mumbai Indians played Maxwell in only one game throughout the last IPL. They preferred West Indian Dwayne Smith to partner Sachin Tendulkar, ahead of Maxwell. While Smith did perform very well for Mumbai, Maxwell brings an X-factor to the team in all three facets of the game. Maxwell is an immense hitter of the ball, bowls useful off spin, and is electric on the field. Quite the perfect T20 package, ain’t he?
4. Steve Smith – Pune Warriors India
Someone who was probably the one shining light for the Pune Warriors through their time in IPL. Smith’s ability to innovate both with bat in hand and on the field is what makes him an absolute certainty in any T20 side. It was, therefore, a surprise that the Warriors were reluctant to play Smith. For the Warriors, Smith was the one who provided the spark to an otherwise ailing outfit. When the Warriors were struggling on the field, he pulled off a stunning catch or an outstanding stop. When the Warriors were in need of runs, he made runs at a brisk rate. Therefore, it was immensely surprising to see him miss out on a few games in the 2013 season.
5. Ambati Rayudu – Mumbai Indians
Although Rayudu was a certainty in the starting lineup for the Mumbai Indians, the way he was used was not ideal. All too often, Rayudu came in with very little time remaining, and he could not get going. With big hitters like Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard around him in the middle order, Rayudu could be used as someone who could play the role of sheet anchor, around whom the others can explode. But his importance to the Mumbai Indians has been illustrated by the fact that he has been retained. Maybe, with Sachin Tendulkar retired now, there is a bigger role in store for Rayudu.