The Flop IPL 2018 XI
After eight weeks of riveting action that saw ebbs and flows rise to accentuating levels, the eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League has come to a close. The Chennai Super Kings were crowned IPL champions for the third time, as they defeated the Sunrisers Hyderabad thanks to a scintillating hundred from Shane Watson (117 off 57 balls). Like Watson, over the course of past eight weeks, we have seen scintillating performances from a plethora of cricketers from all around the world, that has proceeded to keep both the fans and pundits gasping for more. Having said that, there has also been a multitude of cricketers who had a disappointing season. In this blog today, let us dig in deep and form a Flop IPL XI for the 2018 season.
Here’s my compilation:
#1 Gautam Gambhir (Captain)
Much was expected of the former Kolkata Knight Riders skipper to lead his home team, the Delhi Daredevils, to glory after the two-time IPL winner returned to Delhi after seven years.
#2 D’Archy Short
After ending up as the leading run-scorer in the 2017/18 BBL season (572 runs) for the Hobart Hurricanes, D’Archy Short was destined to get an IPL contract this year, and (Rs 4 Crore) Rajasthan Royals were quick to poach him in the 2018 IPL auctions.
However, the swashbuckling left-hander was not able to replicate his success in the IPL. With his struggles against quality spin quite evident, Short only managed to scrap 115 runs in seven matches at an average of 16.42 and an underwhelming strike-rate of 116.16.
#3 Yuvraj Singh
At No.3 comes Yuvraj Singh. The left-handed batsman from Punjab looked a pale shadow of himself for the better part of the 2018 season and was eventually dropped in favor of Manoj Tiwary in the later stages of the tournament.
Part of Yuvi’s problem this season was his inability to rotate the strike at the start of the innings. In eight IPL matches, Yuvraj scored 65 runs at an average of 10.83 and a strike-rate of only 89.04.
#4 Mayank Agarwal
After scoring heaps of runs in the 2017-18 Indian Domestic season, Mayan Agarwal came in with a Brobdingnagian reputation in this year’s IPL, after having been racked up by the Kings XI Punjab for Rs 1 Crore in the auctions.
But as is with the campaign of Kings XI Punjab, Agarwal’s performances took a steep downward slope. Mayank was often guilty of playing loose shots and subsequently throwing away the brisk starts and ultimately finished with just 120 runs in eleven matches at a disappointing average of 12.00, perhaps defining his team’s fortunes.
#5 Glenn Maxwell
A marauder of the cricket ball, Glenn Maxwell was expected to be the cornerstone of a young Delhi Daredevils batting unit. But it turned out just the opposite.
The young Indian talent in Shaw, Pant, and Iyer led the way for DD, as Maxwell scrambled to a mere 169 runs in 12 matches at a disappointing average of 14.08.
#6 Manish Pandey
Much was expected from Manish Pandey – the finisher, when he was racked up for a whopping Rs. 11 Crore by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
But the Karnataka batsman struggled in the 2018 season, having failed to finish off games for his franchise, and was eventually overlooked in the Playoff stages of the tournament in favor of Hooda and Pathan.
In fifteen matches, Pandey scrapped his way to just 284 runs at an average of 25.81 and a disappointing strike-rate of 115.44.
#7 Wriddhiman Saha (Wicket-Keeper)
The Indian Test wicketkeeper has played crucial roles for his previous franchise Kings XI Punjab in the past, most pivotal being his hundred in 2014 final.
But the 2018 season for Sunrisers Hyderabad was a rather ordinary one for the Bengal lad. Apart from his batting that has seen him muster just 122 runs in 15.25 games, Saha’s wicketkeeping skills have come under scrutiny too, having dropped catches at crucial junctures. Saha also missed the finals due to injury.
#8 Washington Sundar
Much was expected from Indian teenage off-spinner Washington Sundar after displaying a plethora of skills both in last year’s IPL (8 wickets at 23.12) as well as in the limited opportunities that he had got for the Men in Blue.
Sundar, who was racked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, has had a dismal IPL 2018 so far. The teenage off-spinner has featured in seven matches and has conceded 192 runs in 120 balls at a very expensive economy rate of 9.60, a stark difference from 6.16 last year, and have just managed four wickets at an average of 48.00.
#9 Imran Tahir
Much was expected from veteran South African leg-spinner, Imran Tahir, when he was racked up by the Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 Auctions.
Tahir, who was bought by CSK, at a base price of Rs 1 Crore, did not have a fruitful 2018 season and accounted for just six wickets in six matches at an average of 31.33 and an economy of 9.09.
With the duo of Ravindra Jadeja (10 wickets in fifteen matches) and Harbhajan Singh (7 wickets) filling in the role of spinners with precision, Tahir remained out of favor during the business stage of the tournament.
#10 Mitchell Johnson
One of the most feared bowlers in his heydays, Mitchell Johnson has looked a pale shadow of himself in IPL 2018.
Johnson’s pace too has hovered around the mid 130s, a stark difference of what it was when he was at his peak. In six matches, Johnson could only account for just 2 wickets at an average of 108.00 and economy of 10.28 per over.
#11 Javdev Unadkat
The most expensive Indian player in the 2018 IPL auction, much was expected by the Rajasthan Royals from Jaydev Unadkat.
However, the left-arm fast bowler, who racked up for Rs. 11.50 Crore at the auction had an ordinary season and could account for just eleven wickets at an average of 44.18 and an expensive economy of 9.65.