With each of the eight IPL teams having let go some prominent T20 players ahead of the 2021 auctions, we pick an overseas XI of the ones who have been released.
There were quite a few notable omissions, especially overseas stars, ahead of the 2021 season auctions. Such has been the nature of the IPL and the quality of players going around, this list too gives us a solid T20 XI which could hypothetically beat the best in business on a given day.
A major criteria for selection to this team was to pick the players who, in all likeliness, could be a part of the auction in February. Hence, retired and unavailable stars Lasith Malinga, Shane Watson and Dale Steyn miss out.
Here’s how an overseas XI of players who have been released ahead of IPL 2021 looks like:
2,005 runs @ 25.70, SR: 127.70, 50s: 14, HS: 88*
The fourth-highest ranked batsman in T20 internationals, Finch has represented as many as eight IPL franchises till date, but hasn’t quite lived up to his big reputation. Bought for INR 4.4 crores by the Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the 2020 season, Finch could manage just 268 runs from 12 innings. However, his aggregate of over 9,000 runs in T20 cricket – one of the only eight players to have done so, and the two 150-plus scores in T20Is suggest that he can be as devastating as anyone at the top.
Finch, Malinga, Smith and Maxwell released by their respective IPL franchises ahead of #IPL2021.
— Wisden India (@WisdenIndia) January 20, 2021
179 runs @ 29.83, SR: 133.58, 50s: 1, HS: 91*
Jason Roy has been one of England’s leading performers in limited-overs cricket over the years, but hasn’t got a decent go at the IPL. Of his eight innings, the major highlight was his unbeaten 91* in a successful run-chase against a quality Mumbai Indians attack in the 2018 season but he didn’t feature in the two seasons thereafter. Roy has a reputation of tearing apart bowling attacks in the shortest version, as he has been doing for the Perth Scorchers in the ongoing BBL 2020/21. He was an obvious pick in the XI and could be one to watch out for at the auctions.
Steve Smith (c)
2,333 runs @ 35.34, SR: 129.25, 100s:1, 50s: 11, HS: 101
Perhaps the most surprising names in the list of players released, Smith has been a major presence at the IPL in the last few years. He led the Rising Pune Supergiant to the final of the 2017 edition, before being named as Rajasthan Royals’ full-time skipper in 2019. Smith’s numbers in the 2020 season didn’t make the best reading, but a man of his class is perhaps too difficult to look beyond. Having won 25 games of the 43 he’s captained in the IPL, he was an automatic choice to lead this side.
1,505 runs @ 22.13, SR: 154.68, 50s: 6, HS: 95
Quite remarkably, Maxwell was one of biggest flops of IPL 2020, with 108 runs from 11 innings at just about run-a-ball. He is, however, still a highly rated T20 player, plying his trade in the Australian national side and the Melbourne Stars franchise in the BBL. He was Kings XI Punjab’s star performer in 2014, their best season yet, scoring 552 runs at a whopping strike-rate of 187.76. Add to that his shrewd off-spinners and electric fielding, Maxwell is a dynamic No. 4 in this team, or any T20 team.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 17, 2021
Alex Carey (wk)
32 runs @ 16, SR: 110.34, HS: 14
Alex Carey hasn’t got a decent go in the IPL as yet, but the Australian wicket-keeper is one of the stars to look out for in near future. He has been impressive in Australia’s limited-overs setup and has been an inspiring presence for the Adelaide Strikers – both as captain and as a player in the BBL. Carey is equally capable against spin and pace and can be both – an anchor and a power-hitter, which makes him a valuable presence in any T20 side.
309 runs @ 20.66, SR: 158.46, 50s:3, HS: 66, 10 wickets @ 30.80, Economy: 7.14, Best: 2/18
The England all-rounder had a fine run in the shortest format last year, hitting some quickfire cameos against South Africa and Pakistan in the lower middle order. His batting prowess can be measured by the fact that he has two T20 hundreds to go with 19 fifties while boasting a strike-rate of 140.18. He’s also quite effective with the ball, having taken 110 T20 wickets with his right-arm off-breaks.
79 wickets @ 24.29, Economy: 7.81, Best: 4/23; 551 runs @ 23.96, SR: 157.88, 50s: 2, HS: 82*
The South African was an instant hit in his very first season in the IPL, back in 2013, when he bagged 14 wickets in Chennai Super Kings’ run to the final. He’s played for three other teams since – the last being the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who’d picked him for INR 10 crores last year. Morris has, in the past, shown great skills with the new ball and at death with his searing pace and accuracy, and can strike them big with the bat in the final overs.
41 wickets @ 22.56, Economy: 7.72, Best: 4/20
Another limited-overs specialist, Coulter-Nile is one of Australia’s leading bowlers in T20 cricket. He has played for three IPL teams in the past – Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, for whom he featured during their title wins in 2013 and 2020. A clean ball-striker, Coulter Nile can also be a useful lower-order bat.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman
17 wickets @ 33.12, Economy: 8.24, Best: 3/27
One of the three Afghanistan players to have plied his trade in the IPL alongside Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb was indeed one of the surprising names among the ones released ahead of the season. He has got the better of some prominent stars in the league like Virat Kohli, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Rishabh Pant. A go-to bowler for any captain in search of wickets, Mujeeb also showcased his big-hitting skills down the order for Brisbane Heat at the BBL 2020/21.
13 wickets @ 22.46, Economy: 8.34, Best: 3/36
Another mystery spinner, Sandeep Lamichhane, in 2018, became the first Nepal player to feature in the IPL. He has accounted for some big names in the past – Suresh Raina, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle and KL Rahul – and that is enough evidence of him being a potential match-winner in the shortest version.
6 wickets @ 29.33, Economy: 8.8, Best: 2/17
Cottrell was bought by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping INR 8.5 crore at the IPL 2020 auctions, thereby making him one of the most expensive player of the season. He was the team’s leading strike bowler for the first two games, before Rahul Tewatia took him apart in that one over in Sharjah. However, with an impressive limited-overs record and genuine pace at his disposal, Cottrell can be a lethal T20 bowler both with the new ball and at death.