When the IPL started way back in 2008, it was an overseas batsman from New Zealand who set the new T20 league on fire in the first game itself. Brendon McCullum’s innings on the opening day of the league played an important role in the success of the IPL. Even though the IPL stands for Indian Premier League, it has given a lot to other countries as well. IPL is the only league where you would see the best of the overseas players. In any other league, you wouldn’t see all the best overseas players.
Players from other countries have benefited a lot from the biggest T20 tournament. Players like David Warner, Sunil Narine and many more got recognition by playing in the IPL. The IPL has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many overseas players. For instance, Jos Butler got a call-up to the England Test team due to his great run in the last season of the IPL. Overseas players always play an important role in any IPL franchise. They bring some unique skill sets which the Indian players might not possess. It not only benefits the team but also helps the local Indian players who get to learn a lot from these great players.
The IPL is a great platform for the overseas players but there are still a few well-known players who haven’t been part of this league due to various reasons. Let’s have a look at five such players.
5. Mohammad Shahzad
Mohammad Shahzad is well known for his big-hitting. The 31-year-old wicket-keeper batsman from Afghanistan has a great record at the international level in the T20s. He has scored 1860 runs in 64 innings at an average of 30.49 and a strike-rate of 134.01. He has 11 fifties and a hundred to his name.
In the T10 league, Mohammad Shahzad’s team was chasing a score of 95 in the allotted ten overs and guess what? He alongside McCullum scored it in four overs! 96 runs were scored in four overs out of which, 74 came off Shahzad’s bat!
He hits the ball really hard and it's pretty demoralizing for the bowler to see that. He is perfectly suited to the shortest format. He is trying to get an IPL contract for the last 2-3 years but unfortunately still hasn’t got a contract. Some of the Afghanistan players have already made it to the IPL and it wouldn’t be surprising if he is the next one on the list.
4. Tamim Iqbal
Tamim Iqbal is a well-known player in the international circuit. He has been part of the Bangladesh team for the last ten years. In the last 2-3 years, his form has seen a peak and his consistency has reached a different level.
The 29-year-old left-hander is one of the top performers from Bangladesh. He has played a crucial part in the success of Bangladesh in the last few years. He is an aggressive batsman by nature and has a decent record in the international T20s. He has a T20I hundred to his name as well.
On his day, he can definitely destroy a bowling attack on his own. It’s surprising that he hasn’t played a single game in the IPL. He was part of the Pune Warriors India franchise but never got a game. He was on the bench throughout the two seasons. In the last few years, he is going unsold at the auction. Maybe one day some team will pick him and he will get a chance to play in the biggest T20 league.
3. Adil Rashid
When you talk about T20s, you have to talk about wrist-spinners. Wrist spinners are the match winners in the middle overs. If you look at the ICC T20I Rankings for the bowlers, you would see that the top six bowlers are wrist spinners.
It isn’t really surprising after watching their performances in recent years but what’s surprising is that a leg spinner like Adil Rashid goes unsold in the auction. He is currently ranked No.5 in the ICC Rankings.
The 30-year-old leg spinner has shown that he can perform really well in tough conditions in England where the pitches are the easiest to bat. Pitches in India are conducive to spin and it would only help him. He has taken 31 wickets in his international T20 career that too at an economy rate of just 7.5. Add to that, he can bat a bit as well. He definitely deserves a chance in the IPL and it is just a matter of time before he is picked.
2. Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood is known to be an accurate Test bowler. Time and again his bowling style is compared to Glenn McGrath and that’s because of his accuracy of persisting with a tight line. He hasn’t played much of T20 cricket but people tend to forget that he was a part of the Australian T20 team which played in the 2016 ICC World T20 in India. He hasn’t really done anything special in the shortest format but sometimes in the shortest format, accuracy can give you results.
Many times a bowler is guilty of overthinking and as a result, misses his length. In such a case, a bowler, who could execute what he wants, is more valuable. Hazlewood can play that role where he can bowl tight and frustrate the batsman until he makes a mistake. At some point in time, the batsman will have to go for the big shot and he might get his wicket. Hazlewood got picked by the Mumbai Indians in the 2014 auction but didn't play a single game that season. Since then he hasn't been picked again by any other franchise.
1. Joe Root
Joe Root is the most famous player who is trying to bag an IPL contract but unfortunately just can't get it. Last year he even missed a T20 tri-series so that he would be fresh for the IPL but the story was the same at the auction as he went unsold.
To be honest, there are some reasons for that. To start with, he is not the best T20 player in England. There are a number of players who are better than him and they have got contracts. His skills in the shortest format are still in doubt. It’s pretty odd because this is the same player who scored 83 off 44 balls and helped England chase 230 against South Africa in the World T20 in India. He was brilliant in that tournament. He went to play the BBL and the doubts only increased.
The other thing about Root is his availability. Obviously, 2019 is a World Cup year and so the English players have to leave early. So he is definitely not the best option. He might become a good enough option in the coming years and let’s hope that his dream of getting an IPL contract comes true.