From left: Dale Steyn, Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen and Jacques Kallis… IPL 2014 a tournament to forget! © IANS
The Indian Premier League (IPL) has seen a lot of ups and downs over the years. Some of the big names of international cricket who had come into the cash-rich league with lot of expectations with them had failed big time. Sudatta Mukherjee looks at the five cricketers for whom IPL 2014 turned out to be a roller-coaster ride.
The fate of some of the famous and successful cricketers has changed overnight at the Indian Premier League (IPL). Experienced international cricketers like Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Mark Boucher, etc. did not have a successful run in the cash-rich league. Here is looking at five cricketers who came into IPL 2014, riding high on their international success, but could not deliver as expected.
1. Dale Steyn: One of the top bowlers in all forms of cricket in the current era, Dale Steyn has had rather a poor IPL 2014. The finest bowler of the contemporary generation, Steyn’s form came down with a crash in the ongoing tournament.
After playing 14 matches in IPL 7, he managed to pick up only 11 wickets and ended with an average of 39.18 and an economy rate of 7.69. Not only that, on three different occasions, Steyn was hit for more than 20 runs in an over four times — by AB de Villiers of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), George Bailey of Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), MS Dhoni of Chennai Super Kings (CSK), and Yusuf Pathan of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
2. Mitchell Johnson: When Mumbai Indians (MI) did not retain Mitchell Johnson ahead of IPL 2014 auction, there was a lot of cry over letting go of such an influential pacer, who, armed with snarling pace, steep bounce, and a moustache to die for, had steered Australia to the Ashes 2013-14 win against England and another series triumph on South African soil.
In the IPL, however, he has not done a lot to write home about during his stint for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP). He has played 12 matches in IPL 7 taking 14 wickets at an average of 25.64 and an economy rate of 7.89. He was hit for 19 runs by Robin Uthappa of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
3. Chris Gayle: Arguably the world’s most destructive batsman in the shortest format of the sport, Chris Gayle, had probably the worst season in the IPL in 2014. After nine matches, Gayle finished his IPL 7 season with 196 runs at an average of 21.77 and a strike-rate of 106.52.
It should be noted that in 2009 — his last poor outing — Gayle had scored the 171 runs from seven matches and had a decent average of 28.50 and a strike-rate of 119.58. In the last two IPL seasons, Gayle has scored more than 700 runs with a flurry of sixes and at an astronomical strike-rate. However, IPL 2014 witnessed a different Gayle, whose highest score of the season was 46 and was dismissed in all the matches he played.
4. Jacques Kallis: Coming out of Test retirement, Jacques Kallis’s fans waited to see him play again in the KKR jersey. One of the best all-rounders in the history of the sport, Kallis’s solid defence and powerful hitting, combined with his ability to break partnerships, have helped KKR enormously in the past.
However, 2014 has been a very sad season for the South African in IPL. Kolkata eventually dropped him from the playing XI and got Ryan ten Doeschate in his place.
5. Kevin Pietersen: After the controversial exit from the England setup and a return to the IPL in 2014 as the Delhi Daredevils (DD) skipper, all eyes were on Kevin Pietersen’s performance in the T20 league. Often given the title of freelance Twenty20 player after being removed from England cricket, Pietersen failed not only individually but ended up as the leader of the side that finished last in the Points Table.
Pietersen could initially not be a part of the set-up due to injury; but when he returned later during the tournament, he could not score the big runs. It was towards the end of the season, after Delhi’s chances of making it to the IPL playoffs faded off, Pietersen scored 49, 44 and 58 in the last three IPL matches.
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(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)