It is the Indian Premier League (IPL) that generates the maximum excitement above all other sporting events in franchise cricket. The inception of IPL back in 2008 acted as one of the biggest steps in turning around the landscape of cricket for the years to come. The marquee event facilitated the participation of even the internationally retired cricketers who notched up the competition with their tons of experience.
But, as the years went by, the veterans couldn’t live up to the rigours of the two-month-long tournament. Hence, the franchises had little trouble in filling the void of these veterans. Post their retirement, some players decided to take up a role as a coach or a talent scout. As this decade is on the brink of a close, we have compiled a crew of best eleven players who quit playing the tournament in this decade.
We take a look at those players who cracked their way to the best retired playing eleven:
The little master or the master blaster as they call him, Sachin Tendulkar has etched his name as the icon of the sport. When it comes to international cricket, none have been able to match his longevity and the unparalleled contributions he made. The Mumbai batsman literally ruled the world cricket for more than two decades.
Tendulkar is the most capped player in ODIs and Tests, having also mustered the most runs and centuries in both the format. Even though the right-hander played only one T20 game for India, he flourished in the competition for Mumbai Indians. As a captain of the franchise for four seasons, his best record was leading Mumbai Indians to the final in the yar 2010.
In that same season, he also won the Orange Cap for scoring 618 runs in 15 games. The 46-year old played his last season of the IPL in 2013, finishing with 2334 runs in 78 IPL matches. When he called it quits from IPL, Tendulkar was the fifth highest-run getter in the history of the tournament. The veteran, with his average of nearly 35, will open the innings.
Powerful, brutal, menacing, savage, and fearless – it is all one could think of when Matthew Hayden is on a song. Along with Adam Gilchrist, Hayden pummelled the opposing bowlers from the get-go in limited-overs international cricket. Prior to the IPL in 2008, the Queenslander showcased his potential in the World T20 in 2007.
He was the tournament’s highest run-getter, racking up 265 runs in six games at a staggering average of 88.33. The 48-year old played just four matches for Chennai Super Kings in 2008 before returning to Australia due to an injury. In those four games, Hayden scored 189 runs at 63 and striking at 144.27. In the subsequent season, he featured in 12 out of 14 matches for the yellow army and powered through to the Orange Cap.
The southpaw finished the season by getting 572 runs under his belt at an average of more than 50. The 2010 season was relatively a very lean season for him, averaging a little more than 20. The Queensland-born retired from IPL after scoring over 1100 runs in only 32 games across three tournaments. With a stellar record in the IPL and displaying the attacking intent right from the outset, Hayden will partner Sachin at the top.
The Delhi batsman was one of the crucial members of the Indian team that lifted the T20 World Cup in 2007 and the 50-over World Cup in 2011. The southpaw had found reasonable success with the bat in his first three seasons of the IPL with Delhi Daredevils. It wasn’t before he started playing for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2011 that Gautam Gambhir was beginning to cement his legacy as one of the successful captains in the IPL.
From the fourth season, Gambhir took control of Kolkata Knight Riders, who were languishing at the lower half of the table since the start. In the 2011 season, the Kolkata-based franchise made it to the top four for the first time under Gambhir’s captaincy. In the subsequent season, the left-handed batsman catapulted the Knight Riders to their first title.
Not only as a captain, but also Gambhir spearheaded the way with the bat, scoring 590 runs in that season. The 38-year old lead the franchise to another resounding championship victory two years later in 2014. He stayed with the team till 2017 before he was released and picked up by Delhi Daredevils in 2018. In that same season, Gambhir dropped himself from the playing eleven midway, owing to poor form and hasn’t played since.
A veteran of over 150 IPL games, having scored 4000 runs, Gambhir will bat at number three in the eleven. The former Indian opening batsman can score runs quickly as well as can become the glue to keep the line-up from subsiding. Gambhir boasts of 70 wins from the 128 matches he captained in and will thus lead the side.
Kumar Sangakkara (wk)
Arguably among the greatest left-handed batsman to hold the bat, Kumar Sangakkara was the bedrock of the Sri Lankan batting line-up for an extended period. He was gifted with an ability to ease into the strokes with elegance, especially his cover drive that radiated charm like none other.
The 42-year old didn’t particularly have a record to boast about in the lucrative league. However, Sangakkara’s determination and resolve at number four bodes perfectly well for any team. The Matale-born batsman played for three franchises in the overall history namely Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Deccan Chargers. The flamboyant batsman last played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 but couldn’t fare well, scoring 120 runs in nine games.
His most productive season came in the inaugural season for the Punjab-based franchise, having scored 320 runs in 10 games at an average of 35.56. In 71 IPL games, he scored 1687 runs at an average of 25.95. As a wicketkeeper, Sangakkara took 36 catches and effected five stumpings to go with. Keeping this in mind, he will keep wickets for the Retired XI side.
Probably the complete cricketer of this generation, Jacques Kallis fulfilled the role of a quintessential all-rounder for the South African side for plenty of years. The thing about Kallis was that he made sure to make a telling impact in any aspect possible. Not only with the willow and the ball in his hand, but the 44-year old can also contribute to the field through his phenomenal slip-catching.
The Proteas all-rounder tasted IPL success twice in his career. In the 2012 season, Kallis played a crucial and a quick-fire knock of 69 that brought back Kolkata Knight Riders in the game in a mammoth chase. His partnership with Manvinder Bisla laid the foundation for Knight Riders’ lifting the title for the first time.
He spent most of the 2014 season on the sidelines, playing only eight matches and that was his last season. Across seven seasons, Kallis scored 2427 runs in 98 games and picked up 95 scalps. He will perform the role of one of the all-rounders in the side, given his wide array of experience and credibility.
Yuvraj Singh was yet another integral figure in the men in blue’s World Cup triumphs in the year 2007 and 2011. The southpaw set the record of bagging the highest price by any player in an IPL auction. This ensued when Delhi Daredevils bagged him for a whopping amount of 16 crores ahead of the 2015 season. He surpassed the previous record when Royal Challengers Bangalore sealed his deal for 14 crores before the 2014 season.
The Punjab-born batsman performed reasonably well in the 2014 season for Bangalore, mustering 376 runs in 14 games. However, he failed miserably to justify his tag of 16 crores in the following season. The 37-year old could scrape to only 249 runs in 14 fixtures at an average of less than 20. He retired from the marquee event, having played for Mumbai Indians in the latest tournament.
The left-hander is amongst the players who have played for most franchises in the IPL. Since 2008, Yuvraj has played for Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Pune Warriors.
While Yuvraj averages a merely under 25 in 11 seasons, he is one of the most reliable middle-order batsmen. As an all-rounder, he can also chip in with his overs of left-arm spin and can save runs with his energetic presence on the field.
Albie Morkel wasn’t one of those who boasted a phenomenal record, but he made his impact felt for the Chennai Super Kings in all the seasons. He played for the yellow army for five seasons and became one of their trusted all-rounders in their ranks. The 38-year old featured in five out of six IPL finals that Chennai made it to.
Post his tenure with CSK; the South African couldn’t find much success with Bangalore and Pune in the subsequent seasons. He last played in 2016 for Rising Pune Supergiants. The veteran is currently the assistant coach of the Namibia Cricket team.
Often used by MS Dhoni as an opening bowler, Morkel took 74 wickets in 78 games for Chennai. With the willow in hand, the retired all-rounder had an astounding strike rate of 141. At number seven, he can be relied upon to carry on the task of power-hitting.
The selection of Anil Kumble as the leading spinner in the side comes as a no-brainer. Except for the inaugural season, the record-breaking leg-spinner performed extraordinarily when he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Not only as a player, but Kumble also served as the skipper of the franchise, making them as a competitive side under his auspices. He didn’t feature as a player beyond 2010, but served many franchises as a mentor or a coach.
The 2008 season saw Bangalore finishing second last with Rahul Dravid as the leader. In the subsequent season, Kevin Pietersen took over the captaincy and again the team suffered a slump. After the England batsman departed for international duties, Kumble became the captain and led them to the final of that season.
Unfortunately, under the 49-year old as in charge for almost two seasons, Bangalore couldn’t win the title. He had a satisfactory captaincy record, winning 15 games out of 26 he served as the skipper in. As a bowler, Kumble snapped 45 scalps in 42 games, including three four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul. The veteran will play the role of the frontline spinner, having the ability to pick wickets right from the outset at a sensational economy rate of 6.58.
The fast bowler from Tamil Nadu has won the tournament twice as a player and finished runners-up as many times. Lakshmipathy Balaji was one of the best death bowlers, bowling wide from the crease that enabled him to nail the yorkers and bowled it way outside off stump to keep the ball out of the reach of the batsman. He played his final season in 2014 for Kings XI Punjab.
His most successful season came in the year 2009, playing for Chennai Super Kings and taking 13 wickets in 13 games. In 73 matches, the 38-year old snared 76 wickets, including a hattrick, four four-wicket hauls and one five-wicket haul.
Balaji has a relatively higher economy rate of 8.04 but has an encouraging strike rate of 19.91. The former right-arm pacer is currently the bowling coach for Chennai Super Kings.
One of the best bowlers with the old ball as well as the new ball, Zaheer Khan is one of the experienced campaigners among the fast bowlers in the tournament history. In eleven seasons, the left-arm fast bowler played for Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 2017 season marked his final season of the tournament.
His most fruitful season came for Mumbai Indians in 2012, having snapped 17 wickets in 16 games. He also captained Delhi Daredevils in the year 2017, bowling in tandem with world’s top pace bowlers in Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins. In precisely 100 IPL games, the retired fast bowler bagged 102 wickets at an economy rate of 7.59. He will be steering the Retired XI side with the new ball.
RP Singh took the world by storm by bowling some phenomenal inswingers during the 2007 ICC World Twenty20. The left-arm speedster took 12 wickets in seven games that tournament at a stunning average of 12.67. As a result, Deccan Chargers snapped him up in the opening leg of the IPL.
He ended with 15 wickets in 14 matches. However, the Hyderabad-based franchise finished in the last position. In the subsequent season in 2009, the retired pacer grabbed the purple cap for ending the competition with the highest number of wickets (23 from 16 games). His outstanding spells of fast-bowling was decisive in the turning their fortunes around by 360 degrees post their miserable previous season.
Sadly, his performances kept diminishing with each passing season. He played for Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants. However, frequent injuries had ramped down his pace, resulting in expensive spells without yielding much success.
He featured for Rising Pune Supergiants in the year 2016 which consequently became his last. However, his overall IPL record is impressive. In 82 IPL fixtures, he took 90 wickets at a strike rate of below 20, including two four-wicket hauls. He will take the new ball alongside another left-arm prodigy, Zaheer Khan.
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