It is an untold fact that the Indian Premier League (IPL) has various overseas stars from various countries. In fact, overseas players often form a critical part of an IPL side as the core and the balance of the XI revolves around them. The selection of the Indian players is also on the availability and inclusion of foreign players.
Some of the biggest stars from each country participate in the Indian T20 league and there are some who don’t even get a chance owing to multiple factors. There are a few players who are playing the IPL right from its inception in 2008. They may have represented more than one team but they have consistently performed over the years.
Thus, in this article, we see one player from each country who has been the best performer in the history of the IPL:
1. West Indies – Chris Gayle
Year after there, there are multiple players from the Caribbean who take part in the IPL. They are known for their T20 game and the likes of Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and a few others are critical members of their respective teams. Moreover, these players have been match-winners. But none bigger than the Universe Boss.
The kind of impact Gayle has had in the IPL has been remarkable. He is sixth on the all-time IPL run-getters list. The Jamaican opener has smashed 4484 runs at an average of 41.13 and is among one of the seven batsmen who average 40 (minimum 10 innings). He’s won the Orange Cap twice as well (2011 and 2012). Moreover, he has a strike-rate of 151.02. Gayle also has six tons which is the most by any player.
Gayle is the six-hitter and no player is even close to him when it comes to the number of sixes. He has hit a staggering 326 sixes in the IPL and only two other players, MS Dhoni (209) and AB de Villiers (212) have got more than 200 sixes in the IPL. Thus, Gayle has been a fabulous performer for all the three teams he’s played so far and is arguably the best West Indian to have played the IPL.
2. South Africa – AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers is one of the very few overseas players who have featured in the IPL every single season since 2008. The South African star has been in demand since the very beginning. He may not have great numbers with Delhi but the switch to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in 2011 has turned his IPL career upside-down.
2009 was a fantastic year for de Villiers as he scored 465 runs in the season, helping Delhi to reach the top four. However, the other two seasons were well below par. Ever since he joined the RCB, de Villiers has scored at least 300 runs in every season except 2017 where he played just nine games.
In nine seasons with RCB, de Villiers played 126 games and has made 3724 runs at an average of 41.84 and a strike-rate of 159.55. In fact, along with Virat Kohli, de Villiers is the heartbeat of the RCB batting line-up and they are often dependent on the star duo. De Villiers’s connection with RCB has been brilliant and Bangalore has become a second home for de Villiers and the reception he gets is simply fabulous.
3. Australia – David Warner
Over the last few years, there’s been one man topping most batting charts and that’s David Warner. He’s turned in a run-machine and has been churning out runs for fun since 2014. In fact, in no time, he has climbed the mountain and has entered the top five run-getters in the history of the IPL.
Warner’s first five seasons in the IPL (2009 to 2013) were with Delhi Daredevils. He played 55 games and scored 1435 runs and there was quite a bit of promise. However, the switch to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2014 worked wonders for him. Warner changed the way he played and the consistency went a notch higher and he took batting to another level.
The Australian opener won the Orange Cap thrice in the five seasons he played (he missed the 2018 season due to the ban). In 2016, he aggregated 848 runs but didn’t win the Orange Cap and was overshadowed by Virat Kohli’s 973 runs in the season.
Warner is one of the reasons for SRH’s continued success over the years. In fact, in the Orange jersey, Warner has amassed 3271 runs at an average of 55.44. He’s scored 34 half-centuries and two hundreds from just 71 games. Thus, there’s no doubt that he is the best Australian cricketer to have played the IPL so far.
4. Sri Lanka – Lasith Malinga
Sri Lanka is another country where you don’t have to search much for the best IPL performer. Lasith Malinga has been a fabulous performer in the IPL. In fact, Malinga has been the heart of Mumbai Indians (MI) since he first played in 2009.
Since 2009, Malinga has played at least 10 games every season barring the 2018 one. That year, he went unsold and was roped in as a bowling mentor by MI. However, they bought him back in 2019 as a player. Having played 122 matches in the IPL, the ace Sri Lankan pacer is the leading wicket-taker as he’s picked up 170 wickets. He averages 19.80 and has an economy of 7.14.
Barring 2017 when he picked up just 11 wickets, Malinga has taken at least 15 wickets every season and he’s also been a part of four title-winning runs with MI. Moreover, it was his genius that won MI the 2019 IPL as he dismissed Shardul Thakur with a superb slower delivery when two runs were required off the last ball.
5. England – Kevin Pietersen
It took time for England players to get to the IPL. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) were largely against it and hence, there weren’t as many England cricketers playing the Indian T20 league before. However, it didn’t matter to Kevin Pietersen as he wanted to play and be a part of the IPL.
In 2009, he was the most expensive player alongside Andrew Flintoff. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) scalped the England batsman for a whopping sum of US$ 1.55 million. Pietersen’s issues with the ECB and a few injuries meant that he could come down for just five seasons. But those were very good ones too.
The former England captain played for three franchises and totalled 36 games. He even managed to cross the 1000-run mark in the IPL. In fact, Pietersen ended his IPL career with 1001 runs which came at a strike-rate of 134.72. Thus, with not many England cricketers playing multiple seasons in the IPL so far, Pietersen is one of the all-time best performers from England in the history of the IPL.
6. New Zealand – Kane Williamson
Kane Williamson has been around for a decade now. However, he’s been playing the IPL only since the 2015 season. Moreover, he hasn’t played all games every season either but he’s been very good in the limited chances he’s got in the IPL. Moreover, he’s played only for one franchise – Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
The current New Zealand skipper has featured in 41 IPL games across five seasons so far. The most number of matches came in the 2018 season when David Warner was banned and he led the side. It wasn’t only Williamson’s most appearances but he also won the Orange Cap. The Kiwi batsman amassed 735 runs in that season, leading SRH to the final.
Overall, Williamson has scored 1302 runs at an average of 38.29 and has a strike-rate of 135.06 in the IPL. Thus, there are a couple of New Zealanders who have done well in the IPL. However, Williamson pips the likes of Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor and Trent Boult to feature in this list.
7. Bangladesh – Shakib Al Hasan
There is no question whatsoever as to who the best player from Bangladesh is in the IPL. Forget the IPL, Shakib Al Hasan is likely going to become, arguably the greatest Bangladesh cricketer ever. Such has been the impact of the left-handed all-rounder.
Shakib has been good with both bat and ball and has delivered in crunch situations. He’s played for two teams so far and has made a mark for both. He played six seasons for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and took 43 wickets from as many games. He was pretty handy with the bat as well and had a strike-rate of 130.37.
With Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Shakib played all games in the 2018 season and was decent. However, he played just three games in 2019 and had disappointing returns. Yet, he is the best Bangladesh player to have played the IPL.
8. Afghanistan – Rashid Khan
Afghanistan’s rise in world cricket has been a phenomenal story of the 2010s-decade. Moreover, they’ve produced some world-class cricketers as well. Thus, in 2017, Afghanistan had their first representation in the IPL and it was through Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi. But it was the former who made his debut first.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have found a couple of gems. In 2017, Rashid was bought at a stunning sum of INR 4 crore while Nabi was paid his base price (INR 30 lakh). However, Rashid has been outstanding in all the three seasons so far. The Afghan superstar has picked up 17, 21 and 17 wickets in 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively. He has an economy of just 6.55 as well.
Rashid is also very handy with the bat lower down the order. He can finish off the innings in style and has played a couple of really important cameos in the IPL as well.
9. India – Virat Kohli
Seven Indian players constitute an IPL playing XI and hence, the Indian players are bound to be more. Among various stars and superstars, it’s tough to pick one all-time best performer in the history of the IPL. There have been hundreds of special performances by both capped and uncapped Indians.
Suresh Raina is the second-highest run-getter in the history of the IPL while Amit Mishra is 13 wickets away from Malinga’s record. The likes of Rohit Sharma and MS Dhoni are superlative cricketers but there’s one man who pips everybody and that’s Virat Kohli. The current Indian captain has had a fabulous run in the IPL. He is the leading run-scorer and is the only player in the history of the league to have played 12 seasons for the same team.
Kohli has amassed 5412 runs which include five hundreds and 36 half-centuries. While Raina is close to him on the runs count, there are very few who can challenge Kohli and dethrone him from the top. There were a lot of other options but since Kohli is the leading run-getter, he pips the likes of Dhoni, Rohit, Bumrah, Mishra, Harbhajan and others to arguably become India’s best performer in the history of the IPL.
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