The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is underway and has already given fans some countless moments of extreme emotions and joy. Be it last ball thrillers (a couple actually) or the fastest fifty ever in the IPL, scored by Rahul off just 14 balls on the second day itself, or the Universe Boss’s return to this cricketing carnival in style, as he smashed 63 off 33 balls, the first 7 days have seen it all. but there have also been a few disappointments. Not just by teams as a whole, but also by certain key players who are pivotal to their side’s chances in the championship. these players have failed to live up to their expectations so far in the league and hence feature in the list below:
1. ROHIT SHARMA (Mumbai Indians)
It may come as a surprise to a few that the Hitman also features in this list, but due to his lean patch that’s extended over 4 months now, and a not so good stint at captaining his franchise so far; it was only justified that we put him here. Mumbai Indians have played 3 matches so far and are currently the only ‘win-less’ side in the league after the inaugural week of the tournament, losing three out of three. Their captain too hasn’t quite had the successful start he would’ve wished for. The class of a batsman that Rohit Sharma is, its a shame that he’s accumulated only 43 runs so far, that too off 42 balls; his highest being 18. But Rohit’s struggle with the bat has been a long one this year; first in Indian colors and now for his beloved franchise. On India’s tour to South Africa, Rohit played 13 innings across formats and scored only 280 runs at an average of 22; with only a single 50+ score, a 115 in the 5th ODI. In the recently concluded Nidahas trophy, Rohit smashed 173 runs in 5 innings at an average of 35 and a strike rate of 136. This time too, there was only a single 50+ score, when he scored 89 against Bangladesh. As captain, however, he did manage to win the trophy for India, in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli. But it’s still too early to rule either him or the Mumbai Indians out of the league. While MI have perennially been slow-starters, their fans will hope that the skipper and his boys find form and make a quick comeback.
2. AARON FINCH (Kings XI Punjab)
The swashbuckling Australian opener was bought by the Kings XI Punjab in this year’s auction for a hefty price of Rs. 6.2 crores. After missing their season opener against Delhi Daredevils in Mohali due to his wedding, Finch came back and played the next two games for his franchise, but to no avail, as the Aussie managed a golden duck in both innings, hence recording a rare ‘king pair’ in the IPL. Interestingly enough, in his 9 years stint so far at the IPL, Finch has played for 7 different franchises, thereby creating a record for the same. It would be harsh to say that his wedding honeymoon in India hasn’t been a good one, but those two deliveries too that he played so far were ones that even the best would have a difficulty in facing. But it looks that skipper ravichandran ashwin has a lot of faith in his destructive batsman and fans will be hoping for that one big innings that he always has up his sleeve.
3. D’ARCY SHORT (Rajasthan Royals)
If someone asks about the players who created a buzz in the auction this year, the list will surely include the Aussie left-handed batsman D’Arcy Short. The Hobart cricketer had a superb BBL, where he emerged as the leading run-getter in the tournament, scoring 572 runs in 11 innings at an average of 57.2 and a SR of 149. His best was a 122 off 69 balls against the Brisbane heat, and twice, did he get out in the 90s. On the back of his heroics in the BBL, it was only obvious that the franchises will show interest in him in the auctions, as Rajasthan Royals managed to secure his services for a price of Rs. 4 crore. But the 27-year old hasn’t quite lived upto his reputation. In his three outings as an opener for RR so far, he has mustered only 21 runs. What’s even worse is the fact that he managed to ran himself out in the first two innings.
4. YUVRAJ SINGH (Kings XI Punjab)
Once the mightiest batsman and now an old warhorse, Yuvraj Singh hasn’t quite had the start to this homecoming season with the Kings XI Punjab as the owners and team management would have hoped for. Playing in his eleventh IPL season, Yuvraj, who is out-of-favour from the Indian team, has been dismal in the tournament so far. The 36-year old veteran who is longer an India-regular wasn’t a first choice in the auction this year. It was only later in the day when Preity Zinta bought Yuvi at his base price of Rs. 2 crores. In three innings so far, Yuvraj has scored 36 runs, but not in a very comfortable fashion. In the first match, he scored 12 runs off 22 balls and despite facing nearly four overs, he never looked going at the crease. And it has increasingly become difficult for fans to see Yuvraj Singh fail innings after innings. For someone who has played for different teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors and Sunrisers Hyderabad, Yuvraj has not been able to fire for quite some years now. Its worth mentioning that, in the 2015 season, Yuvraj was bought for the then highest price of 16 crores by RCB.
5. SARFARAZ KHAN (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
One of the few news regarding retentions, before the auction this year, that came as a shocker to many was the fact that the RCB team management chose to retain young Sarfaraz Khan ahead of their biggest performer over the years – Chris Gayle, alongside Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. The 20-year old, who was just 17 when he made his IPL debut for the franchise, was one of the few youngsters who managed to make a mark in the league. In the 20 matches that he’s played, Sarfaraz boasts off a strike rate of 162. But many experts said that the move to retain a youngster like him, ahead of players like Chahal and Mandeep Singh was a bit too risky. And such has been the story so far, that after managing only 6 runs in the first two games, which briefly expand to 6 off 10 balls, followed by a golden duck; he was dropped from the playing XI in the last match. So it clearly shows that the young man was still a work in progress, going through one of those bad seasons. Sarfaraz Khan first came in the news when he scored an unbelievable 439 in his debut ‘Haris Shield’ game back in 2009.