Wisden’s ‘On the bench’ IPL 2023 XI
Presenting Wisden’s ‘On the bench’ XI for IPL 2023 – a team of players who so far haven’t managed to find a place in any starting XI in this year’s tournament (until Match 47).
IPL teams are allowed to have as many as 25 players in their squads, with the minimum cut-off being 18 players. This implies that with the expansion of the league to a ten-team tournament since last year, nearly 250 players are involved in a particular season. Naturally, not all of them get to play in the first XIs of their respective teams.
In selecting our XI, we have considered players who haven’t yet featured in a starting XI this year up until match 47 (KKR v SRH – May 4), as well as those who who played no part in matches they were selected for.
Quinton de Kock
8,889 runs at 32.92, SR: 138.41, 56 50s, 6 100s, HS: 140*
Quinton de Kock is the most high-profile IPL player to not get a game this season so far. He was a pillar at the top for Lucknow last year, but in his absence for the first few games this season Kyle Mayers grabbed his opportunity with both hands. He has kept de Kock out of the XI ever since. With Marcus Stoinis and Nicholas Pooran also putting in impactful performances from time to time, LSG have not been able to give a game to de Kock. A player of his stature in T20 cricket sitting out for a season doesn’t feel right. Don’t be surprised if he is traded out to another team come next season.
2,319 runs at 28.28, SR: 171.65, 16 50s, 1 100, HS: 101
Allen was picked by RCB at the Mega Auction last year but hasn’t been able to make his IPL debut so far, with the opening spots firmly occupied by Virat Kohli and captain Faf du Plessis. Allen is a dangerous opener with a career T20 strike rate in excess of 170. No other player in the history of T20 cricket who has faced more than 1000 balls has a strike rate as high as his. He might be better off in some other team that doesn’t have a settled opening pair, but he is an investment for the future for RCB. They won’t want to let him go even though they aren’t able to give him game time currently.
1,055 runs at 27.05, SR: 141.80, 2 50s, 1 100, HS: 162
Brevis came into the limelight in the 2022 U19 World Cup which got him a gig with Mumbai Indians last year. He played seven games, scoring 161 runs at a strike rate of 142.5, and was touted to be a mainstay in the MI batting order, especially during this transition phase. But Mumbai’s team construction this year has been such that he hasn’t been able to find a place in the XI for a single game. Cameron Green and Tim David have been indispensable to the side, and MI have always preferred going in with two overseas bowlers, leaving no space for the talented Brevis.
877 runs at 30.24, SR: 142.60, 7 50s, HS: 72
22 wickets at 31.81, ER: 8.53, 1 four-for, BBI: 4-48
Mankad has been one of the most consistent all-rounders in Indian domestic cricket in all formats for the last few years. He got his first break in the IPL last year when he made his debut for Punjab Kings. This year he was picked by the Lucknow Super Giants in the auction but hasn’t been given much game time. He did play the game against Gujarat Titans where Lucknow failed to chase 136 but didn’t get to face or bowl a single ball.
198 runs at 16.50, SR: 130.26, 1 50, HS: 54
13 wickets at 16.84, ER: 8.11, BBI: 3-20
An all-rounder from Punjab, Ramandeep made his IPL debut last year for Mumbai Indians and had more of an impact with the ball than he did with the bat. In the four games he played, he scored 45 runs at a strike rate of 112.5 while coming lower down the order, and picked six wickets at an economy rate of nine runs per over, bowling his gentle right-arm medium pace. This year though, he hasn’t got a game, with Mumbai preferring the left-arm seam bowling all-rounders Arshad Khan and Arjun Tendulkar over Ramandeep.
3724 runs at 27.79, SR: 141.92, 15 50s, 3 100s, HS: 131*
59 wickets at 27.30, ER: 8.81, BBI: 3-6
Shanaka is one of the most in-form T20 batters going around, especially at the death. Since last year, his strike rate at the death in T20s has been 192.82 from a relatively large sample size of 195 balls. Among batters who have faced more balls than him at the death in all T20s since last year, only five have a higher strike rate. He got his first IPL call-up this year when Gujarat brought him in as a replacement for Kane Williamson but hasn’t been able to break into the XI so far. David Miller and Rashid Khan are certainties in the XI, with the other two overseas spots being rotated between Noor Ahmad, Alzarri Joseph, and Josh Little.
R Sai Kishore
57 wickets @ 16.91, ER: 5.48, BBI: 4-6
Kishore had to wait for a long time to make his IPL debut as he warmed the benches for several seasons at CSK. He finally made his debut last year for Gujarat and took six wickets in five games at an economy rate of 7.56. This year however, he is yet to make an appearance as Gujarat preferred going in with just one spinner – Rashid Khan – for the first half of the season, and have now included Noor Ahmad, another Afghan ‘mystery’ spinner in the XI.
103 wickets at 25.89, ER: 7.67, BBI: 3-13
Sangwan has been around for a long time. The left-arm pacer first made his name in the 2008 U-19 World Cup and pipped Virat Kohli to get signed as the local U-19 player for the Delhi franchise in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League. He hasn’t had a very fruitful IPL career though, playing just 42 games across the last 16 seasons, with none of them coming this year. Between 2019-2021, he didn’t feature in a single IPL game before Gujarat played him for three matches last year. This year he’s again back on the bench, with first Yash Dayal, and now Mohit Sharma taking over the role of the backup Indian seamer in the XI.
166 wickets at 22.17, ER: 7.56, BBI: 5-12
Another pass-out of the 2008 U-19 World Cup batch, Kaul made his IPL debut in 2013 and has 58 IPL wickets in his name. He hasn’t played much in the last few seasons, with the exception of 2021 where he got eight games for Sunrisers Hyderabad. Currently, he’s with the Royal Challengers Bangalore and hasn’t featured in a single game this year with RCB preferring Akash Deep and Vyshak Vijay Kumar for the third Indian seamer’s role ahead of Kaul and several others.
37 wickets at 25.56, ER: 6.75, BBI: 4-15
Kariappa has had one of the most interesting IPL careers. A right-arm ‘mystery’ spinner hailing from Karnataka, he shot into fame when KKR picked him for a hefty sum in the 2015 IPL auction. Over the years, however, he has just featured in 11 games with the last one coming as far back as 2017. He got another break this year when Rajasthan Royals picked him up at the auction, but hasn’t managed to find a spot in the laying XI so far with experienced international spinners like R Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Adam Zampa ahead in the pecking order.
57 wickets at 15.19, ER: 7.6, BBI: 5-9
Nalkande completes Wisden’s ‘On the bench’ XI for IPL 2023. He has a tremendous T20 record, picking a wicket in less than every two overs (bowling strike rate of 11.9). He made his IPL debut last year for Gujarat Titans and featured in two games, but hasn’t got a game this season with Gujarat preferring the experienced Mohit Sharma above him.
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