The Indian Premier League, and broadly T20 cricket is influenced more by individual performances and players singlehandedly carrying their teams more than any other form of cricket. Each year, the IPL awards the Orange Cap and the Purple Cap to the highest run-getter and highest wicket-taker of the season respectively.
It is no coincidence that the teams the winners of the caps play for often end up in the final few teams of the tournament, for the individual brilliance of these players carries them throughout the tournament. Further, the caps themselves have become great honors to win.
Let us look at how the careers of the winners of the Orange Cap progressed after winning it, where they are currently, and what they are doing.
2008 - Shaun Marsh (Kings XI Punjab)
At the time of the first edition of the IPL, Shaun Marsh was yet to make his international debut and his primary recognition came from the fact that his father, Geoff Marsh, was a successful former Australian cricketer and coach. However, a stupendous showing in the IPL gave Marsh's career an impetus and he made his limited-overs debut for Australia later in the year.
However, eleven years down the line, Marsh's standing in the side has only marginally improved. He has been dropped from and recalled to the Test side, for which he turned out first in 2011, more times than one can count. Most recently, he was dropped from the side to play against Sri Lanka after a poor showing in the previous series against India. His future in the test game looks uncertain.
That being said, it seems as if he has finally cemented his spot in the ODI side. During the past year, which has unarguably been on the darkest years for Australian cricket, Marsh established himself as the most consistent batsman in the ODI side and will certainly feature in the World Cup later this year.
2009 - Matthew Hayden (Chennai Super Kings)
It is a shame that Matthew Hayden, a player that was as close to the ideal T20 batsman as it got, only got to play in the league in the tail end of his career. In the second season of the IPL, which he played a few months after his retirement from international cricket, Hayden dominated bowling attacks and was instrumental in the Chennai Super Kings' run to the semi-final.
He played another IPL season - the following year - in which he had a middling performance and scored only 346 runs. He did not play another season of the IPL, but he did play in the Big Bash League till 2012, post which he announced he had retired from all forms of cricket. After retirement, he has turned into a commentator and analyst and covers various international series and T20 leagues around the world.
2010 - Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians)
Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Indian cricket and arguably the greatest player to have ever played the game, never played international T20s; however, he did adapt well to the IPL and was the highest run-getter in the tournament in the Mumbai Indians' run to the final in 2010.
He played a crucial role in India's World Cup a year later and played the format till early 2012. However, after retiring from ODIs, he continued playing Test matches and retired in November 2013, after his 200th Test match.
Post-retirement, he has maintained his association with cricket, like many other former players. He is a member of the support staff of the Mumbai Indians and serves as the 'icon' of the franchise. Further, he is a member of the BCCI's three-member Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) and makes occasional appearances on cricket-related television shows as an analyst.
2011 and 2012 - Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Chris Gayle, arguably the most dominant player in the history of the IPL, went unsold in the IPL auction in 2011. However, an injury to Dirk Nannes meant that the Royal Challengers Bangalore drafted him in as a replacement player, and he took no time to get going, scoring a century in his first game.
Over the next two years, Gayle was at his destructive best, winning the Orange Cap in 2011 and 2012 and dominating every single T20 competition in the World. Even though he was almost unarguably the most destructive batsman in the world during that time, his tumultuous relationship with the West Indies cricket board meant he featured in international cricket very sporadically.
Cut to present day, and Gayle is not the same destructive player he was for those few years; however, on his day, he can still singlehandedly win a match for his side. His relationship with the West Indies board, though not perfect, has improved and he is likely to play in the World Cup of 2019.
Given that Gayle, who was bought by the Kings XI Punjab in the IPL auction of 2018 and retained the following year, is already 39 years old, it remains to be seen how much longer he will play the game and entertain crowds.
2013 - Michael Hussey (Chennai Super Kings)
Mike Hussey was an extremely instrumental player in the Chennai Super Kings' success in the early years of the IPL. He had been a stellar performer for the franchise every year since its inception and reached his peak in 2013 when he ended up as the highest run-getter and won the orange cap. Like his Australia and Chennai Super Kings teammate Matthew Hayden, Hussey won the orange cap the year he retired for international cricket.
He played in the IPL for two more seasons - in 2014 for the Mumbai Indians and in 2015 for the Chennai Super Kings again. While he did not play in the IPL further, he did play in other leagues such as the Big Bash and the Caribbean Premier League until 2016, post which he retired from all forms of cricket.
Ahead of the 2018 season of the IPL, Hussey rekindled his association with the Chennai Super Kings and was appointed as the batting coach of the side, a role which he still serves in. Additionally, he regularly serves as a commentator and an analyst for various broadcasters around the world.
2014 - Robin Uthappa (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Robin Uthappa, who had been a journeyman in the IPL until 2014, was an unlikely candidate to win the Orange Cap that year. However, he was extremely instrumental in the Kolkata Knight Riders' title-winning campaign and emerged as the highest run-getter in the tournament.
This spectacular showing allowed Uthappa, who had fallen out of favor with the selectors, to make a comeback into the national side, albeit in second-string squads. Despite his return to the international arena, he was unable to cement a spot in the side. He was not picked for the 2015 World Cup and the last international tour he was a part of was the second-string tour to Zimbabwe in the same year.
Despite his tumultuous international career, he has established himself as one of the mainstays of the Kolkata Knight Riders line-up in the IPL and was appointed as the vice-captain of the franchise ahead of the 2018 edition of the tournament. Further, he has recently entered into the broadcasting arena and serves as an analyst commentator occasionally.
2015 and 2017 - David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
While David Warner started his IPL career with the Delhi Daredevils, he truly established himself playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. He led from the front both with the bat and as a captain, winning the orange cap in 2015 and 2017 and losing out only to Virat Kohli's heroics in 2016. Further, as a captain, he led the franchise to their first and thus far only IPL title in 2016.
Ahead of the 2018 edition, however, Warner was banned from the IPL due to his involvement in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa. In addition to that, he was banned from international cricket for a year by Cricket Australia. Despite this, he made appearances in other T20 leagues around the world.
Warner was retained by the franchise ahead of the 2019 edition of the IPL; however, an elbow injury has raised question marks over both his international and his IPL comeback. It remains to be seen how Warner returns from his injury, and more importantly, from his one year ban.
2016 - Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Virat Kohli has always been regarded as a fabulous player; however, in the IPL of 2016, by scoring 972 runs and 4 centuries, Kohli established himself as a once-in-a-generation T20 player. While the RCB and India captain could not lead his side to a victory that year, his performance that season is almost undoubtedly the most consistent showing by a batsman in any T20 tournament ever.
Since then, while he has not been able to scale the same heights in the IPL as a batsman and as a captain, he has gone from strength to strength in international cricket and established himself as the finest player in the world.
Currently, he captains India in all three formats of the game and holds the first position in the ICC rankings for Test Batsmen as well as for ODI Batsmen. His T20 form has not been great of late, and he will be looking at the upcoming IPL as an opportunity to rectify that and find some momentum before the World Cup later this year.
2018 - Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
The Sunrisers Hyderabad were handed a massive blow ahead of the 2018 IPL as David Warner was banned; however, due to Kane Williamson's exploits as captain and as a batsman, the void left by David Warner was almost not felt.
Without altering his strong technical game, Williamson was able to score prolifically and led from the front in the Sunrisers' run to the final. While Williamson was always regarded as a fine Test and ODI Batsmen, there were question marks over his ability in the shortest format of the game; however, he silenced all critics after his stupendous season.
In fact, Williamson made so much of an impact as a captain and as a batsman that despite Warner's return, he is likely to be retained as the captain of the side. He will be looking at the upcoming IPL as an opportunity to find some form heading into the World Cup, where his side New Zealand will be the dark horses.
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