IPL 4: The flop stars

The cash-rich high-profile Indian Premier League (IPL) has thrown up some exciting players in the last three years. But it has not always been very kind to the already established stars or to the much-hyped cricketers during the auctions.

Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting and Sanath Jayasuriya generated tremendous amount of hype before the inaugural season back in 2008. But the bubble burst as soon as the tournament got underway.

It made once fearsome Jayasuriya look like a silly customer in the middle and sealed his fortune as an international star. It also precipitated the then Australian skipper Ricky Ponting’s retirement from the Twenty20 cricket.

Zeecric.com’s Biswajit Jha takes a look at some big names who despite their reputation and aura, remain terribly unimpressive throughout the IPL 4.

Graeme Smith:The former South African ODI and T20 captain has always been a steady customer at the top of the batting order. Pune Warriors’ think-tank must have expected some fireworks from this man when they bought him at a handsome amount. But the World Cup debacle and post World Cup incidents seem to have taken a toll on the solid opener who played a very little part in this year’s IPL.

It’s no denying the fact that he, like several other domestic and international stars, prospered under Shane Warne in the last three IPL editions. But Yuvraj has so far failed to get best out of him.

The Result: Pune struggled throughout the entire tournament and failed to create a stable batting order after almost 10 matches.

(Match- 4, Runs- 42, Highest Score- 24, Ave- 10.50)

Eoin Morgan:After his super-cool performances in ODIs and T20s before the Ashes, Eoin Morgan successfully earned the reputation of a saviour for England. No matter what the situations are, Morgan is there to see his team through. Kolkata Knight Riders had no hesitation in buying him in the January auction for a good amount. But he disappointed many Kolkata fans with his below par performance in the league. Despite being a reputed top class finisher in the truncated versions of the game, KKR management finally had to utilize his service as an opener.

(Match- 11, Runs- 135, Ave- 16.87)

Irfan Pathan:Irfan Pathan has seen it all. From being a star in the very early phase of his career, Irfan’s cricketing graph has gone downhill ever since. Most of the cricket fans did not have any clue of the whereabouts of the Baroda pacer throughout the entire Ranji season last year. But IPL auction, or to be precise- Delhi Daredevils’ cricketing brains, has given the left-arm pacer a new lease of life. In one of the most ‘silly moves’, the Daredevils bought him at a huge sum of 8.2 crores.

Out with injury, Irfan made his comeback in the IPL 4, but only unsuccessfully. His performance is pathetic to say the least. It is not surprising that neither his bowling nor his batting could change the sagging morale of the Delhi outfit.

(Match- 11, Runs- 103, Ave- 14.71, Wkt- 7, Econ- 7.29)

Adam Gilchrist: When Kings XI Punjab bought the former Deccan Chargers captain, they had a plan of giving him the captaincy of the team which had below par IPL performances in the last three years under Yuvraj Singh and Kumar Sangakkara.

The fact that Gilchrist is a blistering top order hitter apart from a good wicketkeeper inspired the Punjab management to take him at a good salary. But he could neither change the fortune of Punjab nor lead from the front when it comes to his blazing batting at the top.

(Match 10, Runs- 208, HS- 61, Ave-20.80)

Tillakaratne Dilshan: The rise of Tillakaratne Dilshan from a bits and pieces cricketer to a star has its roots in IPL too. Dilshan set the IPL on fire with blistering batting in the first two editions. He even gave cricket a new shot, the famous ‘Dilscoop’. But he could not repeat the feat in the third edition for Delhi which prompted the Delhi management to release him. Royal Challengers Bangalore snapped him up but he again failed to reproduce the charm for his new team with his pyrotechnics.

(Match- 10, Runs- 226, Ave- 28.25, HS- 59*)

Kieron Pollard: The myth of Kieron Pollard as an explosive Twenty20 batsman has somehow shattered in IPL 4. Pollard, who came to the prominence in Champions League Twetnty20 in 2009, has so far lived up to his hard-hitting reputation before this edition of the IPL. He was so valued to the Mumbai Indians that he was retained by his team owners.

Though he has bowled and fielded well, he could not fire with the bat in the tournament, making the otherwise strong Mumbai batting order a little vulnerable in the middle and lower middle order.

(Match- 11, Runs- 78, HS- 28, Ave- 15.60)

Muttiah Muralitharan: It’s not a usual phenomenon to see spin wizard Muttian Muralitharan warming the bench or getting hammered by the unknown kids in a cricket match. But this was the story of the spin legend in this year’s IPL. Unknown Monish Mishra and Mayank Agarwal took the silent assassin for a special treatment.

Cricket is really a great leveller! The man, who has achieved every possible thing he could do under the sun with the cricket ball, now finds himself not getting more than 4 games for his IPL franchise Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Far from being an impact, he took only two wickets in those games, giving away 7 runs per over.

No doubt then that he is one of the biggest disappointments of the IPL 4

(Match- 4, Wkt- 2, Econ- 7.66)

Dan Christian:This unheard Australian all-rounder made headlines last January during the IPL auction for the astronomical amount he managed to attract from the IPL team Deccan Chargers. He was snapped up by the 2009 winners for a whopping amount of USD 900,000. However, the South Australian cricketer has hardly done anything so far to justify the amount. His performances with both the bat and ball are average. He is one of the reasons why Deccan failed to recreate the magic of 2009 in IPL 4.

(Match- 11, Runs- 158, HS- 30, Ave-15.80 Wkt- 7, Econ- 8.04)

Statistics till May 12, 2011

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