IPL franchises can have a maximum squad size of 25 players with a cap of eight on overseas cricketers. Most teams make it a point to have a number close to the maximum limit to increase their choices in case things do not go well. On the contrary, it also means that a lot of players can end up getting benched, because there is no way to fit them into a playing XI. As per IPL rules, a team cannot have more than four foreign players in a starting XI. On that lines, we take a look at five players who might not get a single game in IPL 2021.
1. Kedar Jadhav
At one point of time, Kedar Jadhav was a highly valuable batsman in the IPL. He chipped in with some pretty handy knocks and even won a few games for CSK with his innovative batsmanship. Over the last couple of years though, his fortunes have been on the wane. He played only one match in IPL 2018 owing to fitness issues and had a torrid run in the last two seasons. Jadhav scored 162 runs in 14 games in 2019 and 62 in 8 matches in 2020, both at a strike rate of under 100. With the likes of David Warner, Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, Jason Holder and Jason Roy (replacing Mitchell Marsh), Jadhav could be last in the pecking order for SRH.
2. Chris Lynn
Mumbai Indians have a more or less settled batting line-up and Chris Lynn has no chance of playing in the upcoming edition. In fact, they are the one franchise who, perhaps, make least changes to their playing XI. Skipper Rohit Sharma has transformed an under-performing side into a champion outfit. If you look at their main players, apart from Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Pandya brothers – Hardik and Krunal – are more or less fixed in the batting department. As for the four overseas players, Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard and Trent Boult are the first-choice options. Even if a foreign slot is available, they could prefer going in with local talent.
3. Harbhajan Singh
After going unsold in the initial auction round, veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was eventually picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for his base price of INR 2 crore. He has won the IPL earlier with Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. However, he was released by CSK ahead of the IPL 2021 season after having skipped the previous edition due to personal reasons. Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine will be the preferred spinners for KKR. And, if they are looking at an additional option, Shakib-Al-Hasan could get the nod owing to his all-around abilities. Despite his experience, Harbhajan might find it tough to get into the starting XI.
4. Fabian Allen
25-year-old Fabian Allen is a handy batsman who can score quickly, and can also chip in with his left-arm spin. He was purchased by Punjab Kings for INR 75 lakh at the auction. While Punjab did not have a great season last year, they will still not look to shuffle things around too much. If you look at their overseas players, Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran are automatic selections in the playing XI. For the other two slots, they would prefer established T20 names like Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson and Moises Henriques. The pacy Riley Meredith could also get a look in ahead of Allen.
5. Chris Woakes
Chris Woakes is a talented all-rounder no doubt. But even England don’t consider him a T20 cricketer. He has played only eight matches for England in the shortest format. Looking at the Delhi Capitals line-up, Marcus Stoinis is definitely their ‘go to’ all-rounder. And, while the South African duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje is likely to miss the initial games, DC could prefer Steve Smith, Tom Curran and Sam Billings as their other overseas options, considering they meet the requirements of the team. As of now, Woakes seems like a good back-up choice for Delhi Capitals.