The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League is upon us with the nearly two-month long T20 extravaganza all set to get underway on Saturday.
While the IPL has drawn the most sought after cricketers in the world, there have been plenty of big names who have not featured in it. This year too, there are a few stars who will be giving the event a miss due to various reasons.
Here, we look at 10 of the biggest such names.
The now former Australia skipper was one the biggest casualties of the ball-tampering episode that rocked the cricket world. He was set to lead the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL after being retained on a mammoth contract but sadly for Smith, he will only be watching the competition from his television screen after he stepped down as the franchise’s skipper in the aftermath of the ball-tampering row.
Like Smith, Warner too saw his lucrative IPL contract with the Sunrisers Hyderabad put aside following the tampering saga. The most successful overseas batsman in the competition’s history, Warner’s absence will be felt by the Hyderabad side who he led to the title in 2016.
Unlike Smith and Warner, Starc’s absence from this year’s IPL has nothing to do with the ball-tampering controversy. One of the premier fast-bowlers in international cricket, the Aussie bowler was snapped up by Kolkata Knight Riders but will miss the tournament for the third time in a row after suffering a tibial bone stress in his right leg in the recent Test series against South Africa.
One of the biggest stars to miss this year’s IPL will be 22-year-old Proteas pacer Kagiso Rabada. The No1 ranked Test bowler in the world has established himself as of the best in cricket in a short span but a back injury in the series against Australia means that Delhi Daredevils will be without his services.
The veteran India pacer went unsold in the IPL auction, meaning he will be missing the competition for only the second time in its history after sitting out due to an injury in 2012. The Test ‘specialist’ has made up for that disappointment by signing up with English County outfit Sussex for a two-month stint.
When the England Test skipper threw his hat into the IPL auction ring for the very first time this year, he shockingly found no takers. Considering Root’s record in ODI and T20I cricket where he averages 51.1 and 39.1 respectively, it is the IPL franchises and Indian cricket fans who will be the ones missing out in the end.
The England limited-overs skipper was another one who went unsold in the IPL auction. The limited-overs specialist is a seasoned pro, having represented a host of franchises around the globe. With over 5,000 T20 runs to his name and the added experience of having participated in five previous IPL editions, Morgan finding no takers was surprising to say the least.
Now ranked fourth in the ICC T20 bowler’s rankings, Ish Sodhi was leading it just a few months back. The Blackcaps leg-spinner has a healthy career economy-rate of less than eight in the format and is a key figure in New Zealand’s T20 setup. Given the success wrist-spinners are currently enjoying in limited-overs cricket, the fact the Sodhi was not picked up by any franchise despite being available for a very nominal base price was astonishing.
The most successful batsman in T20I cricket with 2,271 runs to his name, Martin Guptill was another one who went unsold in the IPL 2018 auction. The Kiwi opener has long been a hit in the format but that has not translated into lucrative IPL deals. He showed the franchises what they will be missing out on as he slammed his second T20I ton and the fastest by a Kiwi (49 balls) in the series against Pakistan.
The Kiwi bowling all-rounder’s career economy-rate in the format is just seven and he is regularly ranked among the top T20I bowlers. He was set to make his maiden IPL bow after being picked up by Chennai Super Kings but a bone defect has ruled him out of action from cricket for nine months.
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