Formed in 2008 by Lalit Modi and a few others, the Indian Premier League has ricocheted into realms none would’ve expected it to reach. Starting with the mercurial Kiwi, Brendon McCullum’s swashbuckling 158 not out against the Royal Challenger of Bangalore, the IPL has certainly been a trendsetter with other countries following suit and starting their own leagues.
Every year, we see stellar performances by a few and a few not-up-to-the-notch performances. Or some have been like Paul Valthaty who had his ’15 minutes of fame’ against the Chennai Super Kings. A few though have left a lasting impression every time they played the IPL. So let us take a look at an all time IPL XI and yes, there are no limitations to the number of foreigners in the squad!
Chris Gayle (KKR/RCB)
Possibly the world’s most dangerous batsman, Christopher Gayle has clearly stamped his authority in the IPL. Initially bought by the Kolkata franchisee, Gayle didn’t perform up to expectations. He was not bought by any franchisee in the auctions in 2011 and that was certainly a surprise. And when pacer Dirk Nannes got injured, RCB spent no time in getting Gayle’s signature. Since then, he has been the best batsman in the IPL and that’s the least I can say. And Pune Warriors experienced what it is like to be in a Galye storm when they got mauled by a single man on the cricket field. Gayle traumatized the bowlers as he went hammer and tongs in his 175. Need I say more?
Michael Hussey (CSK/MI)
Easily one of the most dependable batsmen (Yes, this season he has been bad) in the world, Mike Hussey has truly shown his class in the shorter format of the game. Initially not given the openers role due to the presence of Mathew Hayden, Hussey played the aggressor at 3 or 4. And when Hayden went, Hussey was promoted to the opener’s slot and he hasn’t looked back since. Extremely consistent and immensely experienced, Hussey would be the perfect foil for Gayle as Hussey could keep the score board ticking even if Gayle was to be in a standstill and this is why Hussey makes it to our eleven.
Suresh Raina (CSK)
Many say the IPL was made for Suresh Raina and Raina was made for the IPL. Well, it may be true. The only player to have not missed even a single match for his franchisee, Chennai Super Kings, Raina has time and again proved his detractors wrong by showing his mantle in the IPL. He is the only player in the league’s history to notch up more than 400 runs in every season up to date. And that is certainly not something that everyone can achieve. Although his inability to play the short ball has disembarked his journey in other forms of the game, his exploits with the Super Kings are next to none and he would surely make it to any IPL eleven. And yes, his brand of off spin and his athletic fielding all the more increase the value of the player he already is.
Shane Watson (RR)
Like Gayle, Watson has clearly shown the world why he is such an effective t20 player. A person who could open the batting as well as the bowling, Watson has clearly created his own niche in the shorter form of the game. His destructive batting would be a handful for any team and his ability to play spin extremely well which is un-Australian has certainly proven why he is so dangerous. His performances on the field with the Rajasthan Royals with whom he has spent all the seasons in the IPL, has made him a household name. His death bowling is also part of the package that is Shane Watson. And like all Aussies, his fielding inside the ring is extremely good.
Rohit Sharma (DC/MI)
From No-hit to Rohit, this cricketer’s life has certainly changed after his knocks in the IPL. Rohit Sharma has been one of the most consistent performers of the IPL. Initially playing for the Deccan Chargers, Rohit was a vital cog in their armoury. He played as a finisher and he was extremely successful in that position. He clinically disposed the bowlers all round the park and he got himself back into the limelight. His performances propelled him into the national team and the following season he was bought by the Reliance Industries owned Mumbai Indians and he has been extremely consistent for them too. Rohit soon became the captain and he led them to a historic triumph last season.
MS Dhoni (CSK)
Captain Cool has worked his magic wherever he has gone and whatever he has touched has turned into gold. MS Dhoni has had a starling career with the Chennai Super Kings and his ability to maintain his cool even while facing adverse situations on the field has made him the person he is today. The power he possesses is unmatchable and it is this ability that allows him to cart any bowler at any situation. And I actually needn’t say much about Dhoni and we all know why he must be in any IPL team.
Ravindra Jadeja (RR/CSK)
Initially, I thought of adding a Jacques Kallis but then it struck me that why would I need a Kallis in this batsmen heavy team. Yes, he does bowl but in sub continental conditions, Jadeja would fit the bill better than Kallis. Brought out by Rajasthan Royals, Jadeja has proven his critics wrong by delivering stellar performances in the IPL. If not for his destructive batting in the end, he picks up wickets with his off spin and his fielding which is second to none. Also, Jadeja’s ability to pull and cut with ease makes him a potent player against pace and he can be a handful against spinners too.
Ravichandran Ashwin (CSK)
Another cricketer brought out by the IPL, Ashwin just has to be included due to his consistent performances. Being snubbed until season 3, Ashwin has from that time never looked back. His variations are quite a handful for even the best of the lot and his batting too is no pushover. This makes him an asset for any team he plays for. Yes, he may not be the fielder you would want running to save a boundary on the last ball of a match but he can certainly make up for it with his bowling and batting,
Lasith Malinga (MI)
If you were to take a look at odd bowling actions, one can’t leave out Malinga. But that hasn’t deterred him from bowling exceedingly well on even the driest of wickets. His ability to bowl toe crushing Yorkers at will are next to none. Along with an odd bowling action which makes life tough for even a seasoned campaigner, he has so many variations and well, I would just say we are fortunate we don’t have to face him. His slower ball is so deceiving and most of the batsmen find it extremely tough and this talismanic Lankan has to be on our team.
Sunil Narine (KKR)
Tintin, Sherlock, Nancy Drew, Famous Five and Sunil Narine. What is common with the five things? Yes, mystery. Sunil Narine has proven to be a vital cog for his franchisee KKR and every batsman in this world has found it tough to face his variations. Also, the pace at which he mixes his deliveries make it all the more tough for the batsmen. Nadine’s greatest strength is to contain the batsman and form pressure. And this slowly but steadily leads to him getting batsmen out. And these reasons are enough for us to include him in our All Star team.
Dale Steyn (DC/SRH)
The fastest bowler in the world, Dale Steyn is a menacing bowling machine. On his day, he can run through even the best batting line up in the world. His hostile pace ensure that batsmen have little or no time to go about their shots and he has been extremely successful with which ever team he has played for. Also, he is extremely consistent and he can bowl at any given point of time in the match. To bowl consistently at over 145 kmph requires some effort and Steyn does it with rather easy and he would surely be on our team.
I have chalked up my best XI of the IPL and it is now your turn as to who you would pick in your XI. And remember, these players have been picked solely based on their performances and not in line with the stipulated guidelines of IPL in forming a team. And with that said, I bid adieu.