The independent voice of cricket


Where international teams would finish if they played in the IPL as a ninth team

by Rohit Sankar 4 minute read

The debate around the quality difference between T20Is and Indian Premier League, where the cream of the international lot assemble yearly, rages on. So, here’s a little bit of fuel to the fire.

An international team being a part of the IPL is a wild fantasy, and needs a few ground rules. So here goes.

  • Assume that the international team has every player they want in the XI, so the franchises are deprived of those players.
  • The international team will play as the ninth team in the 2021 edition of the IPL.
  • For India specifically, they gain access to the first XI players they choose and the franchises get the rest.
  • Only full member international  sides considered.


With an army of spinners at their disposal, they not only become a superb bowling side that can challenge top IPL teams, but also deprive Sunrisers Hyderabad of their cutting edge spinner Rashid Khan. They might struggle against really good bowling sides like Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals and teams that have spin hitters like Kings XI Punjab, but could challenge teams like Kolkata and Chennai at least.

Final position: 7th. Just above Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.


Australia’s T20I side is replete with players who have IPL experience, but only a few have actually played a lot of games and the quality, aside from the top few players, is questionable. Still, given the resources at their disposal, Australia will likely mow over lesser batting sides, but struggle against good teams that are strong in the spin department.

Final position: 4th. Ousted in the eliminator by a strong performance from the Englishmen in the Rajasthan Royals side.


Despite the success of the Bangladesh Premier League, the national team has quite a way to go to become a top T20I side. The quality in the IPL sides will likely be too much for Bangladesh to handle. They might sneak in a few wins on slower decks against lesser batting sides, but overall, it’s hard to see them go beyond that.

Final position: 9th. A wooden spoon finish with just three wins in 14 games.


This one’s interesting given how England play limited-overs cricket. A batting heavy side that goes big from the word go and is a touch light in the bowling department – it’s an upgrade on Royal Challengers Bangalore and that’s possibly why they will beat a few teams, and might even squeeze into the play-offs. But can they escape a rank turner against a spin-heavy side to win the title? Unlikely.

Final position: 3rd. A high-scoring game, but a loss for England in the second qualifier to a full-strength Sunrisers Hyderabad. Of course, Warner and Bairstow hit hundreds, but for opposite sides.


By playing a full-strength T20I side, India basically make the Mumbai Indians a second-string side, so they are unlikely to qualify. There’s too much quality in the side for them to finish anywhere outside the play-off. RCB, MI, DC and KXIP lose big players to India. SRH, KKR, CSK and RR retain a lot of their best players and will likely push India in the odd game, but it’s still tough to stop them.

Final position: Winners. I’ll go dramatic and put it down to India resisting an Andre Russell encore in the finals to sneak in a five run win in the finals against KKR.


Ireland, outside of Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien, lack the depth to consistently test the IPL teams, that have quality and back-ups. Sneaking in more than an odd win would be tough for them.

Final position: 9th.

New Zealand

New Zealand’s batting quality of late has surged with some rejig in their top-order and while the bowling still lacks the punch outside of Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner, they might test a few IPL teams, especially if they play on the quicker wickets in Wankhede or Mohali.

Final position: 5th. Misses out on qualification, but gets a huge NRR with a massive over a ragged Royal Challengers Bangalore on a batting wicket at Eden Gardens in the final league game.


A solid Pakistan T20I side is in the making and with the growing strength of the PSL, the bowling quality is exceptionally high. They might test the big batting teams by restricting them to par totals. But, against strong batting teams, it’ll still be down to whether the batting unit can step up.

Final position: 4th. Dramatically beats Sunrisers Hyderabad in a low-scoring final league game to make it to the play-offs, but loses emphatically to Rajasthan Royals in the eliminator.

South Africa

With AB de Villiers retired, the batting lacks the depth to test several IPL teams, particularly ones that have strong spinners. They might beat a few teams with the Rabada-Nortje pairing like Delhi did in IPL 2020, but would still struggle to make it to the play-offs.

Final position: 5th. Beat Rajasthan, Kolkata twice and even Mumbai once, but fails against CSK and SRH and finish just outside top four.

Sri Lanka

The exciting new talents aside, Sri Lanka appear to be an ordinary T20I side with quite a few problem areas. Their batting and bowling departments lack the depth and they will do well to enough get close to qualifying.

Final position: 8th. Just nudges ahead of Royal Challengers Bangalore with a come-from-behind win against them in the final league game.

West Indies

A solid T20I side with some outrageous hitters, West Indies, the defending champions of the T20 World Cup, have the quality and depth to test IPL teams. Where they do lack is in the spin department, and it might come to bite them against strong batting units.

Final position: Finalists. Loses a dramatic final against Mumbai Indians despite Kieron Pollard’s brilliant cameo against his own franchise.


Zimbabwe’s quality is no where near that of the IPL teams currently and it’s hard to see them win even a game unless an extraordinary individual performance wins them a game out of the blue.

Final position: 9th.

Subscribe to the Wisden Cricket YouTube channel for post-match awards, player interviews, analysis and much more.

Have Your Say

Become a Wisden member

  • Exclusive offers and competitions
  • Money-can’t-buy experiences
  • Join the Wisden community
  • Sign up for free
Latest magazine

Get the magazine

12 Issues for just £39.99