Until a few years ago, cricket was one of the very few sports that focused only on international fixtures and first-class/ List A games. It all changed with the introduction of Twenty20 cricket. Franchise cricket started getting attention and T20 leagues became popular. The Indian Premier League played a huge role in the success of franchise-based T20 cricket.
Though T20 cricket is all about diversity, fans always love to watch their local stars. Most players started with the hometown franchise but moved elsewhere because of various reasons. Playing on the home turf is always considered an advantage for a batsman or a bowler. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the case always in the Indian Premier League. Few players struggled to make it count for their state-based team but found success with other franchises.
On that note, let’s take a look at the five fabulous players who failed for their hometown franchise but succeeded elsewhere.
#5 Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey started his IPL career as a Mumbai Indians player but joined Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2009. Though he was born in Uttarakhand, Manish Pandey played all his first-class cricket in Bangalore.
He turned everyone’s attention towards him when he became the first Indian player to score a hundred in the Indian Premier League. However, he failed miserably in 2010 and managed to score only 249 runs in 13 matches. After a disappointing campaign, Manish Pandey was bought by now-defunct Pune Warriors in the 2011 auction. Though he showed a lot of promise, he wasn’t able to produce results.
The 29-year-old then joined Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014 and played a huge role in their title win. Pandey produced a Man of the Match performance in the finals with a superb 94 against Kings XI Punjab. He stayed with the franchise for four years and scored 1270 runs at an average of 30. Pandey was called into the Indian T20 side in 2015.
#4 Robin Uthappa
Robin Uthappa is definitely one of the underrated players in Indian cricket. A gifted stroke-maker, Uthappa is regarded a lot for his stylish and effortless batting. Interestingly, Robin Uthappa’s IPL career is a lot similar to Manish Pandey’s, in terms of the clubs they have played.
Uthappa started with Mumbai Indians and then moved to his hometown club, RCB, in 2009. Though he struggled in his debut campaign at Bangalore, he improved a lot in his second season. However, he was released by his franchise and Pune Warriors signed him in 2011.
Uthappa had three good seasons with Pune and was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders in 2014. Uthappa went on to score 660 runs for KKR in 2014 and led them to the title. Uthappa has scored consistently for Kolkata and was even retained by the franchise in 2018. Uthappa finished the 2018 season with 351 runs, his lowest tally in KKR colors, showing how good he was in the past five seasons.
#3 Ajinkya Rahane
Having made his first-class debut for Mumbai in 2007, Rahane was bought by Mumbai Indians for the inaugural edition of the tournament. Rahane played only two games in 2008 and eight games in 2009. He left the Mumbai franchise in 2011 and was bought by Rajasthan Royals.
Though his debut season for Rajasthan Royals was a disappointment, he plundered 560 runs in IPL 2012. He became one of the prolific run-getters in the tournament and extremely consistent. Rahane has scored 20 fifties in IPL since 2013 and even captained his side in 2018.
The 30-year-old has scored 3427 IPL runs at an average of 32.95. Though he was ruthless for Mumbai in first-class and List A, he managed to score only 148 runs in three seasons for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
#2 Gautam Gambhir
One cannot say that Gambhir has completely failed for Delhi Daredevils as a batsman. He finished as the second highest run-scorer in IPL 2008 with 534 runs from 14 matches. However, he was mediocre in his next two IPL campaigns and also captained Delhi to only a fifth-place finish in 2010.
After his brilliant form for India in the 2011 World Cup, Gambhir was the most sought-after player in 2011 auction. Kolkata Knight Riders made him the highest paid player in the history of IPL with a massive $2.4 million bid.
Gambhir not only scored a lot of runs for KKR but also delivered two Indian Premier League titles. Gambhir scored more than 3000 runs for KKR in just seven seasons, which included 27 fifties. Gambhir returned for a second stint with Delhi in 2018, but, he resigned his captaincy just after a few games and was also dropped from the team because of poor performances.
#1 Shikhar Dhawan
Another player from Delhi who left his hometown too soon. Dhawan was picked up by Delhi Daredevils in 2008, but, he stayed with them for just one season. He joined Mumbai Indians in 2009 and then moved to Deccan Chargers in 2011.
Playing for the Hyderabad-based franchise resurrected his career. He became a consistent run-getter in the tournament and played a key role for Deccan Chargers. He was then bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013.
Dhawan was hugely successful for Sunrisers Hyderabad and led them to their maiden IPL title in 2016. In his last three IPL seasons for Sunrisers, Dhawan has scored 501, 479, and 497 runs. However, SRH traded him to Delhi Daredevils for the 2019 season. Dhawan will return to his hometown franchise after 10 years and is expected to lift them after their last-place finish in 2018.