Universe Boss, Slinga, Mr IPL & the rest: Wisden’s all time IPL XI of retired players
The Indian Premier League is in its 16th season already and is transitioning from early teens to young adulthood, with the baton being passed on slowly but steadily from stars who made the IPL what it is today to potential stars of the future.
The last few seasons have witnessed the retirement of several big names who have been synonymous with the IPL over the years. While this season has also witnessed the resurgence of a few veteran players, it is safe to say that the time isn’t too far when none of the players from the inaugural batch of the IPL will be seen playing in the tournament.
With that in mind, here’s an all-time IPL XI of players who have retired from the league, keeping the four overseas players limit in place.
2,728 runs, 155.4 SR, HS: 122, 16 fifties, 3 hundreds
No one in the history of the IPL has scored more runs at a higher strike rate than Sehwag. He had always been an attacking batter – his Test career strike rate was 82.8 – T20 cricket, especially the IPL, allowed him to express himself freely. He played for two teams over eight seasons: Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab and had a decent captaincy record as well, winning 28 of the 53 IPL games he led his team in.
4,965 runs, 148.96 SR, HS: 175*; 18 wickets, 7.89 ER, BBI: 3-21, 1 three-for
Surely there can’t be an all-time IPL XI without Chris Gayle in it. One of the biggest superstars of the tournament, Gayle entertained like no other. His six IPL tons are still the most by any batter, as is his record-shattering 175 not out against the Pune Warriors in IPL 2013, a feat that will be hard to top in the near (or even distant) future.
5,528 runs, 136.7 SR, HS: 100, 39 fifties, 1 hundred, 25 wickets, 7.39 ER, BBI: 2-0, 0 three-fors
Nicknamed Mr IPL for his consistency across more than a decade, Suresh Raina was the highest run scorer in IPL history till 2019. He scored more than 400 runs in each of his first seven IPL seasons and was a pillar at No.3 for CSK. He also led the Gujarat Lions for two seasons between 2016-2017 and had a captaincy record of 14 wins out of 34 IPL games. Not to mention his canny off-spin that remained a useful option for years.
4,952 runs, 130.4 SR, HS: 88, 27 fifties, 0 hundreds
Uthappa played for six teams over the course of a 15-season-long IPL career. He essayed various roles, switching between opening the batting to anchoring at No.3 to even playing in the middle order. He won the Orange Cap in 2014, scoring 660 runs at a strike rate of 137.8. After a brief slump in 2019 and 2020, Uthappa found a second wind in his final two seasons of the IPL with CSK and retired after having scored 230 runs at a strike rate of 134.5 last year.
AB de Villiers
5,162 runs, 151.7 SR, HS: 133, 40 fifties, 3 hundreds
AB de Villiers is the only batter to have a 150+ strike rate among the top 20 run scorers in IPL history. To say he was an IPL legend would be an understatement. Having started off with the Delhi Daredevils in 2008, de Villiers came into his own when he joined RCB in 2011. Though he never managed to win the IPL trophy, having retired after the 2021 season, he will surely go down as one of the greatest batters to have played the IPL.
3,204 runs, 143 SR, HS: 100, 13 fifties, 1 hundred; 42 wickets, 7.40 ER, BBI: 3-20, 3 three-fors
No Indian batter has scored more runs at a higher strike rate than Yusuf Pathan in the IPL. He played a pivotal part in Rajasthan Royal’s victory in the inaugural season in 2008, scoring 435 runs at a strike rate of 179 and picking eight wickets at an economy rate of 8.17, three of which came in the final. Few other Indian middle-order batters have had a similar impact in the IPL.
3,412 runs, 147.3 SR, HS: 87, 16 fifties, 0 hundreds; 69 wickets, 8.79 ER, BBI: 4-44, 3 three-fors
Arguably the best all-rounder in IPL history, Pollard burst onto the scene for Mumbai Indians in 2010 and only retired last year (2022). He had a special liking for CSK as a lot of his memorable performances came against them, including a 34-ball 87 in 2021, his highest IPL score. Pollard was often more than handy with the ball as well, jogging in and using all his wits to break partnerships and take key scalps. Not many players have had as much of an impact with both bat and ball in the IPL as Pollard.
150 wickets, 7.08 ER, BBI: 5-18, 11 three-fors; 832 runs, 138 SR, 1 fifty
Harbhajan was the first finger spinner to take 150 IPL wickets. 127 of those came for the Mumbai Indians for whom he played for 10 seasons. One of his most memorable performances came in 2010 against the Deccan Chargers where he scored 49 off 18 balls, taking his team from 119-7 to 172. He followed it up 3-31 in the second innings to take his side to a 41-run victory. He finished his IPL career with the Kolkata Knight Riders in 2021 and is still among the top ten wicket-takers in IPL history.
45 wickets, 6.58 ER, BBI: 5-5, 5 three-fors
Kumble played just the initial three seasons of the IPL and retired after the 2010 season. Wrist spinners who are quick in the air rule the roost in T20 cricket these days. Kumble was one of the first quick wrist spinners to have an impact in the IPL. He was extremely difficult to get away with, which reflects in his economy rate of 6.58 and would have been a hot commodity in modern-day T20 cricket.
106 wickets, 7.85 ER, BBI: 4-10, 14 three-fors
Nehra is the highest wicket-taker among left-arm fast bowlers in IPL history. He played for as many as five teams in his 10-year-long IPL career, and often bowled key spells both with the new ball and at the death. His last season was with SRH in 2017, but his best came for CSK and Delhi Daredevils for whom he took 30 and 36 wickets respectively.
170 wickets, 7.14 ER, BBI: 5-13, 19 three-fors
Another overseas star without whom any IPL XI would be incomplete. Yorker king Malinga is the second-highest wicket-taker in the history of the IPL even though he retired after the 2019 season. Such was the genius of Malinga that he took 90 wickets at an economy rate of 7.83 at the death in IPL. No other fast bowler who has more than 25 wickets at the death in the IPL has an economy rate of under eight.
1560 runs, 129.6 SR, HS: 70, 5 fifties, 0 hundreds, 183 wickets, 8.38 ER, BBI: 4-42, 16 three-fors
The highest wicket-taker in IPL history, and a pure impact all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo has left a legacy that not many others can close to in the IPL. He started off with the Mumbai Indians and then switched over to the Chennai Super Kings in 2011. He would have easily made it to the first XI if not for the four overseas players limit.
3874 runs, 137.9 SR, HS: 117, 21 fifties, 4 hundreds, 92 wickets, 7.93 ER, BBI: 4-29, 8 three-fors
With nearly 4000 runs with the bat including four centuries and nearly 100 wickets with the ball, Shane Watson could make any IPL team for his batting or bowling alone, let alone both. He started off in the middle order for Rajasthan Royals in 2008 and had transformed into an opener by the time he finished his IPL career in 2020. Another one who couldn’t make it due to the overseas cap.
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