After a four-month hiatus, the cricketing action is slowly, but surely, getting into its groove. In particular, the audience is excited for the much-awaited IPL 2020 which is going to roll in the coming weeks. Interestingly for the first time, the tournament will be a closed-door affairs and will be hosted by UAE.
All the teams have reached the host country, and have also started training after their quarantine period. As far as the players are concerned, they will be eager to step out on the field.
Among them, certain players will also be keen to prove a point after their dreadful performances in the past year. Although they did exceedingly well in the 2019 IPL, they couldn’t sustain their form for the rest of the year. Some of them are the key players of their respective franchises.
Here is the list of 5 stars of IPL 2019 who have been out of form lately :
1) Yuzvendra Chahal
In the history of the game, no craft has been as enchanting as spin-bowling. That’s why the spinners are often called the wizards of the game. And the country which has given many of them is none other than India. From Bishan Singh Bedi to Ravichandran Ashwin, the list is a long one. Luckily the legacy is still maintained by the current crop of Indian tweakers including Yuzvendra Chahal who has been a premier spinner of the team in the limited-overs formats.
It all started for him with his standout performances for Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL. He consistently outfoxed some of the best strikers of modern-day cricket at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, the valley of death for bowlers. His guile and wit made him the trump card for Virat Kohli’s men. Even in the worst of seasons, he delivered for his team.
It can be seen from his 2019 IPL stats where he took 18 wickets in the season and that too with a mean economy rate of 7.8. However, since then his fortunes have taken a dip. The leggie hasn’t been at his best and it has become a concern for the Indian team. It also reached a point where he was dropped from the playing XI in the midst of the 2019 World Cup.
What’s more disturbing is his inconsistency as he has been unable to provide any control in the middle-overs. His figures in the last 10 T20Is is an indication of his poor form. Chahal has only taken 9 wickets and has remained wicketless in 4 of those innings. So, RCB will be worried as he is a key member of the squad.
2) Rishabh Pant
With the retirement of MS Dhoni now all the keeper-batsmen of the country can breathe a sigh of relief. Though it will be difficult to fill in his boots, there are some good options that can do the job for the Blue team. A couple of them are KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant. For the time being, the former looks the first choice as he has done well in the few games as the regular keeper-batsman of the side.
With that being said, India should look for a long-term option, and that’s where Pant comes in. Termed as the successor of MSD, the Delhi lad has shown his capabilities in IPL. In the last two seasons, Pant was in red-hot form. He scored close to 1,200 runs and has been the centerpiece of Delhi’s batting unit.
Add to that his strike rate of 162 which makes him the only Indian batsmen to have a place in the top five list of batsmen with highest strike-rate in the tournament history. In other words, he has been busy destroying quality bowling-attacks. His match-winning performances didn’t go in vain as the franchise made it to the 2019 playoffs after 6 years.
Unfortunately, his stocks have fallen sharply in recent times. The southpaw has looked out of his depth. Runs have also dried up as he has stroked a total of two half-centuries in the last one year. Particularly his white-ball form has been in question as he has not produced the desired results.
Then coming to his T20I record, Pant fans should look away. He has gathered a total of 200 runs in the 13 T20Is played after the 2019 IPL. Delhi cannot afford an out-of-form Pant if they want to take a step further in the right direction.
3) Chris Gayle
Talking about cricket without mentioning West Indies is a sin as their contributions to the game are eternal. Especially in T20 cricket, where they have been one of the pillars of the format. They have been home to some of the prestigious T20 talents, and the biggest of them all has to be Chris Gayle. Since its inception, the Universe Boss has been weaving his magic in all the T20 leagues happening around the world.
Even in the IPL, Gayle has been a marquee player for the last decade or so. Currently a part of the Kings XI Punjab squad, the southpaw has always lit up the league with his batting prowess. His records speak for himself as has been a two-time Orange Cap holder. Besides, he has smashed 6 centuries that further proves his legacy in IPL. Last year also, Gayle headed the batting department of Punjab alongside KL Rahul.
He accumulated 500 runs at a stunning strike rate of 153. More importantly, he answered his critiques in the best possible way. Having said that, he couldn’t continue with the same vigor for the rest of the year. His poor form was one of the reasons for the Caribbean team’s early exit in the 2019 World Cup. He could only manage 240 runs in 9 outings.
He carried his terrible form to the following white-ball series against India and eventually confirmed his unavailability until further notice. Thereafter, when he played in the 2019-20 MSL, Gayle again failed miserably. His stats read 100 runs in 6 innings. Finally, it seems age has caught up with him, and that’s why Punjab will be keeping their fingers crossed.
4) Kagiso Rabada
It is disheartening to see the recent developments in South African cricket. The turmoil in the country’s cricketing structure looks more chaotic than ever. It is also affecting the on-field performances of the team. In these trying times, they need some of their star players to stand up for the team. The speedster, Kagiso Rabada can be one of them as he has already shown his mental toughness in some of his bowling spells.
Very quickly, he has become the crisis man of many teams including Delhi Capitals in the IPL. Even though Rabada has only played a couple of seasons, he looks the best bet for Delhi to claim their maiden IPL title. He has given their bowling unit the edge which has been missing for a long time. It was also evident from the 2019 IPL where his game-changing performances led them to the playoffs.
He accounted for 25 wickets in just 12 games. Moreover, his economy rate of 7.8 while bowling the most difficult overs (powerplay and death overs) was another extraordinary feat in the T20s. After all that highs Rabada successful run came to a screeching halt at the most inopportune time. The speedster completely missed his mark in the 2019 World Cup.
Although he did take 11 wickets in the tournament, it wasn’t good enough by his standards. Then his form nosedived in the MSL 2019-20 as he picked 8 wickets in as many games. The worse was yet to come as earlier in the year, Rabada had a forgetful T20 series against Australia. He bagged 2 wickets in 3 games and conceded runs at a rate of 8.6. In all Rabada, hasn’t enjoyed much success in the last 12 months.
5) Khaleel Ahmed
Nowadays, the Indian fast-bowling unit is getting praises from around the world. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have fulfilled the wishes of millions of fans who have been dreaming of a fearsome Indian fast-bowling attack. However, there is still some work to be done as it looks a one-dimensional attack with the absence of genuine left-arm quicks. But it can all change if Khaleel Ahmed starts to deliver on his promise.
In his few games in the Indian colors, the speedster has shown glimpses of his talent. Then in the 2019 IPL, he took his game to the next level. After missing the first few games owing to injury, Khaleel returned like a man on a mission. He picked up 19 wickets in 9 games and ended up as the team’s leading wicket-taker. Notably, his strike rate of 11 turned out to be the best of the season.
In all, he outshined some of the experienced stars of the Sunrisers Hyderabad camp. Apart from that, he changed the dynamics of the SRH bowling unit which has been dominated by right-arm quicks. Sadly, Khaleel didn’t hold onto his hot run of form for too long. When India visited the Caribbean shores for a T20I series, he was the bowling unit’s weakest link. In his 3 outings, he took only 2 wickets and leaked runs at a rate of 9.
Then in the following series against Bangladesh, he again looked clueless in pressure situations. Since then, the speedster has played the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and a couple of India A games but hasn’t done something special. Though Hyderabad has quality replacements, they will want Ahmed to get back to his wicket-taking ways.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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