The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to get underway on April 9 with a clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The 2020 edition of the tournament was played in the UAE owing to the Coronavirus threat in India. While the event is back in India, it will be held behind closed doors, in a bio-secure environment. The IPL began back in 2008, meaning this will be the 14th edition of the T20 extravaganza. Only a handful of players have featured in every edition of the IPL since its inception. In this edition, we look at the star players from the list.
1. Rohit Sharma
The current Mumbai Indians captain is undoubtedly one of the superstars of the league. Under Rohit Sharma’s leadership, MI have gone from under-performers to the best franchise in the event by some distance. But Rohit’s career began with the now-defunct Deccan Chargers back in 2008. In fact, he was part of the squad that won the 2009 edition under Adam Gilchrist, making him among the few players to win the IPL with two different franchises. He was subsequently purchased by Mumbai Indians in 2011. In the 2012 edition, he hit his only IPL ton to date – 109 in 60 balls against KKR. Under Rohit Sharma’s leadership, Mumbai Indians have won the IPL in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2020. He is among the five players to have scored over 5000 runs in the IPL.
Rohit Sharma’s IPL record: Matches – 200, Runs – 5230, SR – 130.61, Hundreds -1, Fifties – 39
2. MS Dhoni
The former India captain is also one of the most revered cricketers in the IPL. MS Dhoni has been synonymous with the IPL ever since its inception in 2008. The only time he moved away from the franchise was when they were banned for two years. He captained Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016 but was removed as skipper in 2017. As CSK captain though, he has been instrumental in guiding the franchise to great heights. Under Dhoni, CSK have won the IPL three times and have been runners-up on five occasions. MSD has also been inspirational in the rise of players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Kedar Jadhav and Deepak Chahar, who have gone on to play for India.
MS Dhoni’s IPL record: Matches – 204, Runs – 4632, SR – 136.75, Hundreds – 0, Fifties – 23
3. Virat Kohli
The Indian and RCB captain is the only cricketer to play for the same franchise in every edition of the IPL. He was purchased by RCB at a time when he was just beginning to make his mark as a cricketer and has gone on to become their leader and a role model for youngsters in terms of consistency. Virat Kohli was appointed captain of the franchise in 2013. He had a record-breaking season in 2016, when he amassed 973 runs in 16 games. RCB made it to the final and although Kohli and Chris Gayle scored half-centuries, they went down to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Kohli has rarely had a poor season with the bat, but RCB have never won the IPL. They made the Eliminator last year, and will look to go all the way this year.
Virat Kohli’s IPL record: Matches – 192, Runs – 5878, SR – 130.73, Hundreds – 5, Fifties – 39
4. AB de Villiers
Mr. 360 has been the Mr. Consistent in the IPL as well. AB de Villiers played for the Delhi franchise in the initial years, but flourished after being purchased by RCB in 2011, where has formed a lethal batting combo with skipper Kohli. De Villiers has the ability to play exceptional strokes. Even after retiring from international cricket, he was one of RCB’s star performers in IPL 2020, single-handedly winning them more than one game. He famously hit Jaydev Unadkat for three consecutive sixes, turning the match against Rajasthan Royals on its head. More of the same will be expected from him this year too.
AB de Villiers’ IPL record: Matches – 169, Runs – 4849, SR – 151.91, Hundreds – 3, Fifties – 38
5. Shikhar Dhawan
Over the years, Shikhar Dhawan has turned out for multiple IPL franchises. He began his career with Delhi 2008 and, after playing for Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers and Sunrisers Hyderabad, again returned to Delhi in 2019. At Sunrisers, Dhawan formed an impressive pairing with David Warner at the top of the order. He scored 501 runs in 17 matches when Sunrisers won the IPL in 2016 and contributed 479 in the next season. Dhawan has been one of the key reasons behind the Delhi Capitals’ renaissance in IPL. He was the second-highest run-getter last year with 618 runs. During the edition, he also became the first player to score consecutive hundreds. He holds the record for having hit most fours in the IPL – 591.
Shikhar Dhawan’s IPL record: Matches – 176, Runs 5197, SR – 126.87, Hundreds -2, Fifties – 41
6. Robin Uthappa
His India career may have fizzled out, but Robin Uthappa was a bonafide IPL star at his peak. He started his career with Mumbai Indians and then went on to represent RCB and Pune Warriors. Uthappa found real fame at KKR though. He won the Orange Cap for amassing 660 runs in the 2014 triumph. During the course of the season, he also created a new record for most consecutive 40+ scores – 11. Uthappa was with KKR until 2019 before being released ahead of the IPL 2020 auction. He was traded by Rajasthan Royals to Chennai Super Kings ahead of the 2021 season.
Robin Uthappa’s IPL record: Matches – 189, Runs – 4607, SR – 129.99, Hundreds – 0, Fifties – 24
7. Dinesh Karthik
The former India wicketkeeper-batsman has played for multiple franchises with mixed success. He started with Delhi, moved to Punjab, then Mumbai and has also represented Gujarat Lions and RCB. His best performance came when he amassed 510 runs for MI in the victorious 2013 campaign. He was purchased by KKR in 2018. He was appointed captain after Gautam Gambhir stepped down midway. In an ironic coincidence, he himself stepped down as KKR leader and handed over the captaincy to Eoin Morgan in 2020 after some poor performances.
(Note: Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla and Manish Pandey are among the other players to have featured in every edition of the IPL so far.)