The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League [ IPL ] is well and truly underway and while a few players have hit the ground running already, some have struggled to get going and now run the risk of getting dropped, even with more than half of IPL 2020 still left to be played. We take a look at five such players.
18 matches into the tournament, almost every franchise is yet to zero in on a combination they plan to use for the rest of the season. And the chopping and changing in search of the perfect combination will see some of the first-choice players, who haven’t lived up to the expectations, get relegated to the bench.
This list is also a fair reflection of the IPL standings as four of the five players are from teams in the bottom half of the table and two from the bottom-placed side, KXIP.
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Robin Uthappa (Rajasthan Royals)
Robin Uthappa’s best IPL year with the bat came when he was promoted to open for the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014 – he won the Orange Cap, scoring 661 runs to lead KKR to the title. Rajasthan, however, are using Uthappa in the middle order this season, where he has managed only 33 runs in four matches, struggling to score freely as his strike-rate of 78.50 suggests.
Now, RR could either decide to tinker with their batting line-up, pushing Steve Smith down to allow Uthappa to open the batting, which seems unlikely, or decide to drop the wicketkeeper-batsman altogether.
Sarfaraz Khan (Kings XI Punjab)
Sarfaraz Khan’s move to Kings XI was met with a lot of optimism, and the hope that the youngster would finally get the chance to bloom and showcase his talent. However, after a promising 2019 season, where he scored 180 runs in eight matches – his best IPL season so far – he hasn’t been as effective in 2020.
Part of that has also to do with his batting position. At number six or seven, he gets limited time to affect the proceedings. Sarfaraz has faced just 29 deliveries this season in three innings, scoring 33 runs off them. Like Uthappa, promotion up the order could give him the time needed to find form, but being sidelined could be more likely.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) October 5, 2020
Glenn Maxwell (Kings XI Punjab)
Maxwell has, so far, failed to repay the faith the Kings XI think-tank showed in him during the IPL auction earlier this year. He was the second most expensive buy – bought for INR 10.75 crores after a bidding war with Delhi Capitals – but his returns have been sub-par so far: 41 runs in five matches at a strike-rate of 93.18, a significant fall in his IPL career strike-rate of 157.84.
Maxwell’s form could force KXIP, who are currently bottom of the IPL table, to alter their line up and replace him with Mujeeb Ur Rahman, adding another Indian middle-order batsman, with Deepak Hooda being an option, into the mix.
Shimron Hetmyer (Delhi Capitals)
Another expensive buy, Shimron Hetmyer has failed to fire in his IPL career. In 2019, he scored just 90 runs for Royal Challengers Bangalore in five matches before getting benched and this year seems to be taking a similar path. In three innings, he has accumulated only 35 runs at a strike-rate of 116.66 for Delhi Capitals, who bought him for a whopping INR 7.75 crores in the auction.
Though DC have been one of the more well-settled units in IPL 2020 so far, losing just one of their four matches, they wouldn’t mind trying a better option at number five, especially with Alex Carey waiting on the sidelines.
Kedar Jadhav (Chennai Super Kings)
As questions were raised over Kedar Jadhav’s IPL 2020 form and whether CSK should continue sending him ahead of MS Dhoni after their defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad, coach Stephen Fleming stressed that the India all-rounder remains their No. 4. “He (Jadhav) is our number four,” he said, “Dhoni, primarily, is a middle to backend player, Kedar Jadhav is our number four, he plays a dual role, if we get off to a good start he might move down and let Dhoni up.”
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) October 3, 2020
But in four matches so far, Jadhav has been sent at number four only once, against SRH, where he failed miserably – a 10-ball-3 when CSK were chasing 176. Though Chennai returned to winning ways with an emphatic 10-wicket win against KXIP, it won’t be long before Jadhav’s spot will be up for debate again, more so as they have a direct replacement for a middle-order spot in Ruturaj Gaikwad.