Over the years, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a launch pad for many future talents while being a hotbed for the biggest international stars in the game at the same time.
However, as the 11th edition of the tournament gets ready to get underway, there have been several high-profile international stars who have never graced the T20 competition.
JOE ROOT (ENGLAND)
The England Test skipper is counted amongst the ‘Fab Four’ of the cricket world alongside Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson. Despite having a stellar T20 and ODI record, the Englishman has never featured in the IPL. His exclusion in the previous years had more to do with his preference to concentrate on Test cricket for England.
When he did indeed throw in his hat into the auction ring for the first time this year, Root surprisingly found no takers and went unsold.
While Pakistan players were a part of the inaugural edition of the IPL, tensions between the governments of the two countries has prevented them from participating any further in the tournament. This has meant that the fans from both countries have suffered as they have been deprived of numerous mouthwatering battles, like Virat Kohli taking on Mohammad Amir.
T20 veteran and crowd favourite Shahid Afridi played just one season in the tournament while the likes of Babar Azam, Sarfraz Ahmed and now young Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali have all been deprived of the chance of playing in front of Indian fans.
JOSH HAZLEWOOD (AUSTRALIA)
The Australia pacer has been compared to Glenn McGrath for his unerring accuracy and control of the swinging ball but unlike the retired legend, Hazlewood has not bowled a single ball so far in the competition.
The right-arm bowler was picked up the Mumbai Indians in 2014 but did not get a single game for the franchise all season. Despite being retained by the outfit in 2015, Hazlewood, along with Cricket Australia, made the decision to withdraw from the tournament to focus on Test cricket for his country.
STUART BROAD (ENGLAND)
The senior England pacer has been another name who has been surprisingly missing over the years in the IPL. Now consigned as a Test specialist for England, there was a time when Broad was leading their attack in limited-overs cricket. Who can indeed forget Broad being on the receiving end of Yuvraj Singh’s six sixes in an over during the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007.
He was indeed picked up by Kings XI Punjab for 2011 and 2012 but he withdrew his name at the last instance in both years and has never been picked up since. His time with white-ball cricket might well be over but a younger Broad could very well have been a big draw in the IPL.
JAMES ANDERSON (ENGLAND)
Broad’s red-ball partner in the England set-up has himself been missing from the competition since its inception. The England pace spearhead and leading Test wicket-taker is a veteran of 194 ODIs and 19 T20Is for his country.
English players have typically not featured much in the IPL over the years due to a clash with their home season. Still, despite claiming to be attracted towards the IPL, Anderson never once threw his name into the auction list, choosing instead to focus on his England Test career.
Curran has featured in all three formats for England over the winter and claimed his maiden international five-wicket haul in a one-dayer against Australia at Perth.
He went unsold at the IPL auction in January but is the beneficiary of Starc’s tibial bone stress fracture in his right leg which has ruled the left-armer out of the entire tournament.
The 23-year-old Curran will meet up with the Knight Riders ahead of their first match against Royal Challengers Bangalore this Sunday.
He told Surrey’s official website: “I’m thrilled and excited to be joining Kolkata Knight Riders for the IPL.
“I know from chatting to other players I can learn a lot from being in that environment, skills that I hope will benefit Surrey and my chances of representing England again this year and if selected, for next year’s World Cup.”
Curran will therefore miss at least the early part of the county season, along with Surrey team-mate Jason Roy, who was picked up by the Delhi Daredevils in the auction.
Director of cricket Alec Stewart said: “As a club we have a duty to help England and our players in achieving their goals and ambitions.
“The experience he will gain through playing in the IPL can only help develop his game which in turn will give England a greater chance of winning the 2019 World Cup.
“His absence from the Surrey team will allow other players on our staff to stand up, perform and grab their opportunity.”
South Africa’s Heinrich Klaasen on Monday replaced Australia’s scandal-tainted captain Steve Smith in the Indian Premier League’s Rajasthan Royals team for the season that starts this week.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Klaasen, who made his one-day and T20 debut against India in February, was signed from the available player pool in a $78,000 deal, the IPL said.
The 26-year-old made an immediate impression during South Africa’s recent series against India. He was named man of the match in the second ODI.
Smith, 28, and his deputy David Warner were banned by Cricket Australia for 12 months over a ball-tampering scandal during the recent third Test against South Africa in Cape Town.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India also barred them from the IPL.
Smith, who was replaced as the Royals captain, admitted cheating after fielder Cameron Bancroft was caught on television scuffing the ball with sandpaper.
Smith returned to Australia after the Cape Town Test and broke down during a press conference, profusely apologising to his teammates and fans.
The Royals – winners of the 2008 inaugural IPL – travel to Hyderabad in their opening match on April 9.
— Royal Challengers (@RCBTweets) April 1, 2018