IPL 2020 is set to start on September 19th after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is now going to be held in the UAE, with matches to be played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah. The excitement around the restart of the IPL has continued to grow even after title sponsors Vivo have pulled out.
After the tournament has been moved from India, the IPL franchises will have to change their game plans in accordance with the pitches in the UAE. Another key factor will be the availability of overseas players in the IPL, with most players cleared to play the competition.
While most overseas stars will be crucial to their teams' plans, there are some who may remain on the sidelines for the entire season. In this article, let's take a look at one overseas player from each IPL team who is likely to be benched for the entire season.
One overseas player from each IPL team who may not play a single game this season:
Chennai Super Kings - Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood was signed by CSK for Rs 2 crore in the IPL 2020 auction held in December 2019.
The tall Australian pacer is a given in any side in the longer formats of the game, but he hasn't made much of an impact in T20 cricket. In the 7 T20Is he has played, Hazlewood has picked up just eight wickets at an economy rate of 9.60. He has, however, fared better when playing for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League and has a good record in that competition.
Since the Super Kings didn't sign any batsman in the latest IPL auction, they're likely to play either or both of Shane Watson and Faf Du Plessis. DJ Bravo and new signing Sam Curran are assured of a place in the playing XI. Imran Tahir, Lungi Ngidi, and Mitchell Santner are all likely to get the nod over Hazlewood for the fourth overseas slot.
Therefore, considering the above scenarios, it's safe to say that Hazlewood could warm the benches for the season if the other players remain injury free.
Delhi Capitals - Jason Roy
This might sound slightly left-field, considering Jason Roy's impressive record in limited-overs cricket. But take one look at the Delhi Capitals' squad, and you can understand why Jason Roy may not make it to their playing XI at IPL 2020.
Indian players like Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and skipper Shreyas Iyer fill the Delhi Capitals top order. In that scenario, it may be tough to fit overseas players like Shimron Hetmyer and Marcus Stoinis in the side. Roy, who was signed as a backup option, is sure to be behind Rahane, Shaw, or even Alex Carey in the pecking order for a spot in the Delhi Capitals playing XI.
Moreover, the Capitals don't have any good Indian pacer except Ishant Sharma and might have to field both Kagiso Rabada and Chris Woakes to even that out. With only two overseas slots available in that case and the plethora of Indian options in the top order, Jason Roy could remain on the bench for the entirety of the IPL 2020 season.
Kings XI Punjab - Hardus Viljoen
It was a surprise to see Kings XI Punjab retain Hardus Viljoen after his sub-par showing in IPL 2019. He picked up just seven wickets from six games at a poor economy rate of 9.65.
The Proteas pacer, however, has a lot of experience under his belt, and that could be why the team management decided to retain him. But Kings XI Punjab's overseas players' situation means that Viljoen isn't likely to make it to the playing XI during IPL 2020.
Sheldon Cottrell and Glenn Maxwell are assured of their spots while Jimmy Neesham is likely to get a look-in as well. Mujeeb Ur Rahman is an option to consider if the wicket supports spin bowling. Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran will fight for the other overseas spot.
Even if there's an injury to one of their lead pacers, Chris Jordan is more likely to be considered ahead of Viljoen, and hence, the South African pacer might get benched for the entirety of the IPL season.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Chris Green
This is one of the easier ones to call. Chris Green was bought as a backup option for Sunil Narine and is unlikely to make it to the Kolkata Knight Riders playing XI unless there's a change in strategy. Even if there is an injury, players like Varun Chakravarthy or even M Siddhar could act as cover for Sunil Narine.
Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and big signing Pat Cummins are likely to feature in the playing XI. Of the remaining overseas options, Eoin Morgan could pip Tom Banton for the fourth overseas spot.
Chris Green is, however, a good option to have in the team and is a very economical off-spinner who can contribute with the bat as well. The uncapped Aussie has played in 82 T20s, picking up 65 wickets at a miserly economy rate of 6.77. While he's likely to be benched for the enitrety of the IPL season, he'll certainly fit in well if he gets the opportunity to play.
Mumbai Indians - Sherfane Rutherford
Sherfane Rutherford came to the Mumbai Indians in a trade deal with the Delhi Capitals, which saw young leg-spinner Mayank Markande go the other way. The West Indies all-rounder' is, however, unlikely to make it to the playing XI because of the quality overseas options already in the side.
Mumbai Indians could face a real dilemma when it comes to selecting their playing XI since they have quality players like Chris Lynn, Quinton De Kock, Kieron Pollard, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Trent Boult and Lasith Malinga, all battling for four overseas places.
With this being the case, Rutherford, who doesn't have that great a T20 record is sure to be benched during IPL 2020 unless there's an injury or two.
Rutherford had a poor IPL 2019 campaign where he scored just 73 runs from seven matches and picked up a wicket at an economy rate of 8.63. With the volume of quality around him, Rutherford is very likely to have to wait for his chance to feature for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2020.
Rajasthan Royals - Andrew Tye
Rajasthan Royals' overseas combination is the easiest to pick as the likes of Jos Buttler, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer are among the best players in the world. They also have some good backup options for these stars in the form of David Miller, Tom Curran, Oshane Thomas, and Andrew Tye.
Tye won the Purple Cap in IPL 2018 for the Kings XI Punjab but had a dismal outing in IPL 2019. Batsmen seemed to have figured out his variations, and he could pick up just three wickets in six games at an economy rate of 10.59.
He suffered a shoulder injury later in the year and last featured in a competitive game in October 2019. That, combined with impressive performances from Tom Curran and Oshane Thomas means that Tye is probably the last in line to make it to the Rajasthan Royals playing XI in IPL 2020.
While his experience and guile are very valuable, he could very well be sitting on the sidelines for the entire IPL season.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Joshua Philippe
Signing Joshua Philippe was a rather smart acquisition by Royal Challengers Bangalore as they signed him in the 2019 IPL auction for just Rs 20 lakh.
The young Aussie wicketkeeper-batsman has made a name for himself with his impressive performances in the Big Bash League. He finished as the third-highest run-scorer in the tournament last season and played an instrumental role in the Sydney Sixers winning the title.
But Bangalore's overseas player situation makes it tough for them to fit Philippe in their playing XI. Aaron Finch, AB De Villiers and Chris Morris are certainties to play, and that leaves them with only one overseas spot to fill.
Kane Richardson, Dale Steyn and Isuru Udana are the ones likely to be in contention for that place while Moeen Ali could get the nod if the pitch supports spin.
With such a packed overseas roster, Philippe's only way into the side is if Parthiv Patel suffers an injury. Even if that happens, we could see AB De Villers don the gloves to enable other overseas stars to play.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Fabian Allen
Sunrisers Hyderabad were quiet in the IPL 2019 auction and didn't make a single purchase costing over Rs 2 crore. Whether they addressed all the holes in their squad remains to be seen, though. One of the buys they made in that auction was that of West Windies spin bowling allrounder Fabian Allen for Rs 50 lakh.
Allen has a pretty good record in T20 cricket. He is an aggressive batsman who can be handy in the death overs and is a very economical bowler with his left-arm orthodox.
But he's nowhere near making it to the playing XI for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2020 owing to the other quality players they have in their side. David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Rashid Khan are certainties to make it to the playing XI while Kane Williamson, Mohammad Nabi and Mitchell Marsh are the ones who're likely to compete for the fourth overseas spot in the playing XI.
With plenty of players with a better record ahead of him, Allen could be benched for the entire IPL season.