By Karthik Parimal
In my previous article, I wrote about the most valuable players so far in the 2012 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). A few unexpected names did crop up, but it was deduced that players who were bought for not more than their base price are the ones performing exceptionally well. There is, however, another list of players who have big price tags attached to their names, but have failed to deliver until now. The list comprises players who are capable of winning games single-handedly, but have been unsuccessful in their quest to get a foothold in IPL5.
Not surprisingly, he was the most sought after player during the auctions for his ability to bludgeon the ball to all corners of the ground. He was a huge hit when he represented the Rajasthan Royals (RR) during the first edition of the IPL. Since then, Yusuf has consistently failed to impress. But regardless of that fact, he was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a whopping amount of $2,100,000, primarily for the potential he possesses.
He sporadically looked threatening during last year’s IPL when he first made his appearance for KKR. He scored 283 runs in 15 innings without a single half-century. Arguably, that could have been counted as a decent contribution. However, his performance in this edition has so far been appalling. Having played six games, Yusuf Pathan has scored just 23 runs in five innings at a paltry average of 5.75. His strike rate too is a little below 75. KKR, currently third in the standings, will be hoping that Yusuf comes good before the important stages of the tournament commence.
One expected Virat Kohli to carry his One-Day International (ODI) form into the IPL. Sadly, that didn’t happen. There haven’t even been any glimpses of brilliance from the Royal Challengers of Bangalore vice-captain as yet, who has a price tag of $1,800,000 attached to his name. In the six matches he has played, Kohli has scored 57 runs at an average of just 18.83 – shockingly unexpected.
However, there is still a long way to go in this tournament, and like Kohli is eminently capable of bouncing back, as he did on the tour of Australia. All he needs is one good innings to get going.
Another young lad who shot to fame during the past few seasons of the IPL is Saurabh Tiwary. He initially represented the Mumbai Indians, and his batting exploits there made him one of the most sought after players during last year’s auction. RCB eventually bought him for $1,600,000, but he has rarely delivered thereafter. Like his fellow teammate Kohli, Saurabh Tiwary too hasn’t had a pleasant experience during his stay at the crease. In his six games, Tiwary has scored just 84 runs at a meagre average of 16.80. RCB has been fortunate enough to have players the calibre of Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Daniel Vettori whose performances have kept them afloat in this tournament. However, they cannot always depend on the heroics of these players to keep moving forward.
He became known as the ‘Million Dollar Baby’ after he was bought by RCB for $1 million – an amount that was 10 times more than his base price of $100,000. Not surprisingly then, expectations from him were high. But Vinay Kumar has looked far from impressive. In his six games for RCB this season, Vinay has given away 221 runs and grabbed just six wickets at an ordinary average of 36.83. His economy rate too is an appalling 9.20 runs per over. How Vinay Kumar makes a turnaround from here and justifies his price tag will be interesting to see. His place in the side will certainly be in jeopardy if he continues to leak runs and not contribute significantly to the wickets column.
Notwithstanding the fact that he has played just three games, Brendon McCullum has looked anything but threatening. A total of 26 runs in three matches at an average of 8.66 doesn’t augur well for him, and also for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). With players like Jacques Kallis, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate etc in the side, McCullum will have to start delivering if he wants to be a regular feature in the KKR line-up. Manvinder Bisla has been adept with the gloves, and hence McCullum’s absence will not be felt unless he starts contributing with the bat. It will be interesting to see if KKR will try him out in the game against Deccan Chargers (DC) on Sunday. If they do, it will be McCullum’s best chance to impress, considering the fact that DC has a fragile bowling attack.
(If cricket is a religion and has many devotees, Karthik Parimal would be a primary worshipper. His zeal for writing and love for the sport of cricket is what has brought him here. Karthik can also be followed on Twitter)