They quarantined and trained, but hardly got a game – presenting the most prominent 12th men of the IPL 2020 league stage, overseas players who spent most of their time sitting next to the support staff.
If the IPL governing council was more flexible with their policy on overseas limit, most of the following players could have made it to the first XI regularly. However, with team compositions making for tricky balancing acts, these players were largely left warming the benches.
Notable mentions: Adam Zampa, the leg-spinner who managed just two games for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the league stage, before getting a third go in the Eliminator defeat to Sunrsiers Hyderabad; Oshane Thomas, West Indies’ fast-bowling future; Hardus Viljoen, South Africa’s veteran seamer, and mystery spin options in Chris Green and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
If a team of 12th men were allowed in the IPL, this lot would have gone far in the tournament.
A couple of seasons ago, Lynn was enjoying a secure spot at the top of the order for KKR, blazing away alongside Sunil Narine. His stock has fallen since – the Australia call-up has eluded him for two years – and with enough batting firepower in MI’s first XI, Lynn’s appearances have been restricted to camera pans to the dugout.
Kolkata Knight Riders
There was considerable buzz around Banton even before the tournament began. The 21-year-old was supposed to take the IPL by storm: the quintessential modern-day English white-ball player, forever ready to play audacious strokes. However, KKR’s overseas slots were more or less set in IPL 2020, leaving Banton on the sidelines – he managed just two appearances, scoring 18 runs in total.
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) October 28, 2020
In a team filled with overseas superstars, Miller, with 320 T20s worth of experience, could add just one appearance throughout the season. The lone outing ended in a horrid run-out, and he was back on the bench after that, fulfilling 12th man duties. By the time Ben Stokes arrived for IPL 2020, there were hardly any batting spots to fill, and a settled overseas combination meant Miller had little chance to forge a comeback.
— David Miller (@DavidMillerSA12) October 21, 2020
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Moeen Ali spent most of the league stage sitting on the RCB bench, as the team stuck to their quick bowling all-rounders in Chris Morris and Isuru Udana. With AB de Villiers immovable from his spot, Moeen was left fighting for a spot with openers Josh Philippe and Aaron Finch. His off-spin could have been useful on sluggish UAE pitches too, but the side had ample spin options in Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar. And when he was finally given a chance, in the crucial Eliminator against SRH, he suffered the ignominy of being dismissed off a free-hit.
Alex Carey (wk)
Carey managed three games, but the break came only due to Rishabh Pant’s injury – rushed into the XI midway through the season, Carey couldn’t create much impact, totalling just 32 runs, including a best of 14*. Behind the sticks, he wasn’t at his best either, the occasional slip-ups surfacing when keeping up to the quicks. When Pant returned, Carey was promptly moved back to the benches.
Nabi, perhaps, was the most unfortunate among the players in this XI, considering what the hard-hitting all-rounder could have offered in UAE conditions. Given the spate of injuries SRH suffered, Nabi, surprisingly, played one just game throughout the league stages. David Warner and Rashid Khan were shoo-ins, and Jonny Bairstow and Kane Williamson were the other overseas players preferred for a majority of the games. When Bairstow made way for Wriddhiman Saha, SRH preferred the seam bowling of Jason Holder to fill the vacant spot.
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) November 4, 2020
A utility T20 cricketer, Paul played eight games for DC last year, but could not make his way into the XI even once through the league stage this time around. Delhi had Marcus Stoinis, a more explosive option, to fill in the overseas all-rounder’s spot, and the bowling also bore a more settled look, with Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje handling most of the workload. Daniel Sams’s left-arm pace helped him get a spot ahead of Paul.
Another Delhi Capitals player who was the victim of the four overseas policy. Lamichhane, at 20, is a proven T20 performer, having played six games last year for the franchise, but stood little chance this time around with R Ashwin and Axar Patel excellent in their respective roles. Lamichhane had a realistic chance of breaking in when Ashwin was briefly injured, but Amit Mishra, the IPL veteran, took that place instead.
Many would have expected Tye to play more games, given his expertise in bowling cutters and slower ones, which could have been useful on the sluggish UAE tracks. RR, however, seemingly preferred more speed, setting up a pace attack around Jofra Archer’s bustling new-ball spells, with Kartik Tyagi and later Varun Aaron for company. With Steve Smith, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes as the other overseas players, Tye stood little chance of making it to the first XI, ending the season with a solitary appearance.
Left-arm quicks are hot property in the IPL, but a 34-year-old Mitchell McClenaghan, who last played a T20I in 2018, doesn’t exactly exude the confidence of his heydays. His countryman Trent Boult expectedly got the nod ahead of him, and James Pattinson turned out to be a pleasant surprise, leaving McClenaghan, a two-time IPL winner, on the benches throughout the season. He still provided ample support to the team via his Twitter handle.
— Mitchell McClenaghan (@Mitch_Savage) October 28, 2020
Over the last year or so, Stanlake seems to have drifted away from Australia’s limited-overs plans, especially after a lacklustre Big Bash League 2019/20 season. At SRH, Stanlake had a little chance of making it to the XI, given the side’s preference for all-rounders, and their trust in their Indian pace contingent. Stanlake, an out-and-out pacer, could have managed a game or two at some other franchise, perhaps, but he ended the league stage with no appearances next to his name.