Get Lost XI of IPL 2012: They came, they saw, they flopped

With an atrocious but holier-than-thou attitude, Harbhajan Singh (R) is the only worthy captain to lead our Get Lost XI into battle © AFP

By Nishant Joshi

 

The #GetLostXI has been the talk of Twitter, and considering the vast number of suggestions – there have been over 10,000 of you contributing! I t was only fitting that we give you our official #GetLostXI.

 

Guidelines for the selection panel:

 

1.  Players must have been consistently abysmal – outstandingly poor, one-off performances are taken into consideration, but consistency is preferred to a ‘one-hit wonder’.

 

2.  A player should not be discriminated against solely on the basis of his price tag. As we all know, salary is a factor that the player cannot control *cough cough*. After all, if Chennai Super Kings want to pay $2m+ for Ravindra Jadeja, it’s hardly his fault for being on the right end of such a gross miscalculation.

 

So, we will take note of fees, just for context (“What were they smoking when they were thinking of buying Jadeja for $2m?”), but will not be judging candidates solely based on value for money.

 

3.  A key criterion for selection is whether or not a cricketer is playing to the best of his ability. An under-performing and over-hyped superstar is far more worthy of a spot in our #GetLostXI than an equally appalling Ranji journeyman.
4. We are equal opportunities for all crap cricketers, and only group phase performances are counted – after all, why should Harbhajan Singh’s quarter-final mess-up be counted, when he’s had ample opportunity to be awful during the group stages?
5. Strike-rate (S/R) is important – anything sub-110 is poor, unless it’s your specific role in the team to rotate the strike and shore up the batting (e.g Dravid).

 

6. No xenophobic quotas on foreigners – if your’e crap enough, you deserve to be in the team.

The Official #GetLostXI for IPL 5:
1. Michael Clarke [reports: $1m+ in 2012, Pune Warriors]
The Australian captain has previously spurned the IPL, perhaps quite shrewdly in retrospect, as Clarke simply is not suited to the T20 format. His last domestic T20 game was in 2004, and he has retired from T20Is altogether.

 

Famously, in a meeting with Lalit Modi at the outset of the IPL, Clarke was asked how much he thought he was worth. Legend has it that he tentatively whispered an astronomical figure, and Modi duly laughed in his face.

 

Yet, Pune Warriors thought that this was all a cunning masterplan to return to the T20 fold in the most triumphant of manners in 2012.

 

It wasn’t to be – IPL 5 wasn’t too hot for Michael Clarke, as he started off with a positive 41, but immediately faded to end up with just 98 runs in 6 innings, at a S/R of just 104.

 

To top it off, halfway through his paid vacation, he pissed off back to Australia to get married, returning for the final game. Incredibly, Pune thought it was a great idea to play him ahead of both Tamim Iqbal (0 games) and Callum Ferguson (4 games).
2. Richard Levi [unknown, sources say “at least $400k”]
The South African batsman has always had reasonable T20 pedigree, having performed consistently in the domestic circuit and topping the run-charts. However, when his name was called out in the February auction, there was silence – not a single franchise was interested in Levi, with a base price of just $50,000.

 

But, just a few weeks later, Levi made history, smashing a 51-ball 117 against New Zealand in Hamilton, the fastest T20I century ever. In a bidding war that exemplifies the knee-jerk nature of IPL signings, and showcases the non-existent research into players, Mumbai Indians privately signed up Levi for a price several times what nobody was willing to pay for him just weeks earlier.

 

After 50 on debut in a facile chase in the opening match of the tournament against Chennai, Levi failed in all respects. He scored just 33 runs in his next five innings and was unceremoniously dumped by Mumbai, joining Shahrukh Khan on the sidelines.

 

Mumbai and Pune were the main contenders for Levi’s signature, and both were made to look like dummies. Levi is a good T20 player, and his consistent pedigree suggests that his IPL blip will be a one-off, but his story should be a cautionary tale to other franchises – choosing a player on the basis of one innings, on a tiny ground, against a popgun attack, is a ludicrous waste of money.
3. Kumar Sangakkara [$700k in 2011, Deccan Chargers] 
Now, Kumar, you know we love you. Don’t even think for a second that I don’t care for you like I always have done. So, it’s with a heavy heart that I write this…

 

If Deccan could lay blame at anyone’s feet for their 8th place finish this season, it’s Sangakkara. Bought by the franchise to provide stability, experience, tips on how to keep your hair resplendent, and tactical nous, Sangakkara has brought nothing to the party. His tactics have been regressive and negative, to back up batting that has hamstrung the side – his best move of the tournament was to drop himself, which to be fair, was brave and selfless.

 

However, Sangakkara’s presence contributed to his side’s downfall, and the stats are there to back it up – just 200 runs at a S/R of 109 and an average of 18.2 are well below expectations. Take out his one excellent innings of 82 against Pune, and Sangakkara spent 11 innings scratching around at less than a run-a-ball, when he was acquired to take games by the scruff of the neck.

 

Compounding Sangakkara’s poor form, the reality is that with only four overseas players allowed, he deprived Deccan of a potentially match-winning option. The peerless Dale Steyn should have always been an auto-pick, and Cameron White became one as his form developed into something special this season.

 

With Sangakkara hogging the third spot, the remaining slot was going to one of JP Duminy (9 matches, their best batsman, criminally under-utilized yet again), or Daniel Christian (7 matches), who, despite some criticism finished the IPL with creditable figures.
4. Parthiv Patel (wicket-keeper) [$700,000 in 2012, Deccan Chargers]
Another forgettable season for Li’l Parthiv, as he only managed a high score of 45, and contributed to Deccan’s gut-wrenching early loss against Mumbai with his chronic inability to hit the stumps from five yards out.

 

With Shikhar Dhawan and Craig White striking freely around him, Patel and Sangakkara stifled many a Deccan innings with their turgid strokeplay and inability to give strike to the in-form batsmen.

5. Ross Taylor [$1,000,000 in 2012, Delhi Daredevils]
During an arduous league phase, Taylor mustered a meagre 163 runs. Crucially, his S/R was a mere 110 (career T20 S/R 144), as his ugly cross-batted heaves went through a barren patch of top edges and toe-ends.

 

Taylor has been a consistently overrated IPL commodity throughout the years, and ‘Mr Midwicket’ is so one-dimensional that once he faces quality bowling, he is inevitably found out easily.

6. Saurabh Tiwary [$1,800,000 in 2011, Royal Challengers Bangalore]

An abject failure since his breakout season for Mumbai in 2010, Tiwary has struggled to deal with the weight of expectation. Once hailed as the next Dhoni, the formerly swashbuckling left-hander is now a shadow of his former self. No confidence, no swagger, no runs.

At 22, Tiwary still has time on his side and you wouldn’t back against him finding form in the future, but his prolonged slump has called into question all aspects of his game – not least when he failed to see RCB home in their must-win game.

 

7. Ravi Jadeja [$2,000,000+ in 2012, Chennai Super Kings]
Ten years ago, who would have thought that the ability to bowl non-spinners, and a few cameos with the bat from time to time would earn you millions of dollars a year?

 

Having been bought by Chennai at a silent ‘tie-breaker’ auction after reaching the maximum bidding price of $2m, Lalit Modi claims Jadeja earns “around the $6m mark” per season – even when taken with the obligatory bucketful of salt, anything in that region is an eye-watering amount for a couple of months where Jadeja did precious little.
Jadeja’s failures were constantly overlooked, ostensibly because his Man of the Match performance of 48 off 29 and 4-0-16-5 against Deccan in Game 6 was constantly replayed on TV.  Harsha Bhogle, in particular, seemed consistently awed by this single performance – ignoring the fact that in 18 other matches, Jadeja was a massive under-performer, to the extent that he was slated to come in at no. 8 in the final, and wasn’t even trusted with the ball.

 

Also neglected was the fact that his one good performance was against the worst back-up bowling in the tournament – Ankit Sharma, Manpreet Gony and TP Sudhindra – and that his five victims were Li’l Parthiv, Chipli, Gony, Ravi Teja and Dale Steyn, and that they were mostly out slogging when Deccan needed 15+ an over.

 

Take out Jadeja’s one performance of the IPL, and he averaged just 11.9 with the bat, took just seven wickets in 18 games, and went for 8.29 runs an over.

 

Was Jadeja value for money? For $2m, Chennai could have bought… 

 

– One million Happy Meals.

– 10 Steve Smiths.

– 15 Ferraris to felicitate Sachin Tendulkar’s hundredth hundred/birthday/morning shit

– 58,823 shares in Facebook.

– 282 no-balls (at IPL market value).
8. Yusuf Pathan [$2,100,000 in 2011, Kolkata Knight Riders] 
Perhaps it’s a show of Kolkata Knight Riders’ dominance that “The Bear Jew” was hardly ever required this season, but just 194 runs at the pedestrian S/R of 114 meant that Pathan endured his worst IPL so far.

 

Equally disappointing was his bowling – he took just three wickets in 17 matches, a woeful return for even a part-time spinner.

 

Pathan is a massive hitter of the ball, but as well as being fearless, he also struck the panel as being brainless. Yusuf was figured out by the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, who induced top edges from wild slogs on both occasions that he bowled to him, whilst pace bowlers roughed him up plenty with short-pitched bowling.

 

Just seven sixes in the tournament for Yusuf Pathan, and his chances of a starting berth in September’s World T20 have all but evaporated.

 

However, it is worth noting that after his heroics for Rajasthan Royals in IPL 1, Yusuf Pathan is only the fourth player to win two IPLs with different teams – Lakshmipathy Balaji (CSK and KKR), Manvinder Bisla (Deccan and KKR), and Scott Styris (Deccan and CSK).

 

9. Harbhajan Singh (captain – Mumbai Indians] 
Remember when Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan an “obnoxious little weed”? Remember teri maa ki-gate, where Sachin Tendulkar’s dubious testimony saved Harbhajan’s backside? Remember when he slapped Shantakumaran Sreesanth?

 

OK, we can let him off that last one because it was pretty hilarious, but the fact is that Harbhajan has a back catalogue of misdemeanours would make the likes of Shahid Afridi and Stuart Broad blush with embarrassment.

 

Incredibly, not much has changed since these incidents, except that Harbhajan has been elevated to captain of a franchise (apparently) worth hundreds of millions of dollars, as he continues to prove himself as the most odious man in cricket.

 

This IPL season was a low point for Harbhajan, as he took just six wickets in 16 matches, at an average of 64.0. His captaincy was atrocious, but his holier-than-thou attitude was unbecoming of any cricketer.

 

Harbhajan is the only worthy captain to lead our Get Lost XI into battle.

 

10. Munaf Patel [Mumbai Indians]
Fifteen wickets in 12 matches was a pretty average return for India’s answer to Shrek, and though he was expensive at 7.86 runs per over, in usual circumstances would have only earned a place on the Get Lost XI bench.

 

However, along with Harbhajan, Munaf provided the most unsavoury moment of IPL 5, as the video show.

 

Like a couple of common thugs, both Harbhajan and Munaf let out a string of expletives towards the (admittedly clueless) Johan Cloete, wagging their fingers and behaving like the spoiled brats they are.

 

This was not the only time that Munaf lost the plot – in his 3rd over against Royal Challengers Bangalore, he bowled three consecutive no-balls and one wide (lucky that fellow Get Lost teammate Tiwary was unable to take advantage), once again remonstrating with the umpire. Munaf ended with figures of 4-0-54-1.

 

11. Sourav Ganguly (team mentor, #GetLost icon player) [$400,000 in 2012, Pune Warriors] 

A has-been. A laughing stock. Doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

 

Now, I know you’re thinking of Sunil Gavaskar, but try to imagine him, but with a hairpiece.

 

No, not Rameez Raja!

 

Erm…add a dash of narcissism, an impenetrable ego, and what do you get?

 

Shahrukh Khan?

 

Yes, OK…but when we speak about pure stubbornness and bloody-mindedness in the world of cricket, we can only be speaking about Sourav Ganguly.

 

If you’re a fan of Dada, look away now. Ganguly has endured a generally torrid time in the IPL, with a horror show for his first three years at KKR only highlighted by the fact that they have now won the tournament in his absence. Incredibly, Pune decided to pick him up this season, despite being proven to be an awful T20 batsman, and quite frankly, past it.

 

The most disappointing aspect of Ganguly’s season was not just that he failed as a batsman – even the best succumb to poor form and slowing reactions with age – but that he was completely disinterested in putting in any semblance of effort. He was so woefully unfit for the rigours of the IPL, that it was almost sad to watch, like a formerly majestic elephant being put down in slow-motion.

 

Considering his pay packet and his responsibility as captain, Ganguly had an obligation to his team to lead from the front. He has never been one to run extra laps in training, but it was apparent from his shocking levels of fitness that Ganguly just couldn’t be arsed to put in the effort.

 

His outright laziness was rewarded with his involvement in three run-outs in consecutive matches early on in the tournament – to be fair, his comical running with Jesse Ryder was one of the highlights of the IPL.

 

As a batsman, Ganguly averaged 17.86 at a S/R of 98.8. His S/R was the lowest of all specialist batsmen in the entire tournament (min 3+ innings), and as such, he consistently hamstrung Pune’s efforts at the top of the order – their best batsmen perished trying to make up for Ganguly escalating the required rate, and at the same time, batting in the top order, Ganguly deprived the likes of Uthappa, Smith and Mathews the chance to build an innings.

 

When Pune were eliminated, Ganguly skipped one match, saying: “I want to give an opportunity to the youngsters.”

 

By this logic, Ganguly should not have played any of the remaining games, but he remained quite firm about giving  just “anopportunity” to another player.

 

It’s sad to see a player with such a decorated history as Ganguly clinging on for dear life, when he could have retired gracefully into the sunset – as it is, he’s now captained both KKR and Pune to last-place finishes, and is tarnishing his reputation with his delusional desire to stay on.

 

Ganguly is at 11 in our batting line-up, because a) He’s not depriving Munaf of any deliveries, and b) It means that he can only run out a maximum of one person per innings.
Get Lost XI Franchise Owner

 

This was a tough call. Shahrukh Khan (SRK) staked a strong claim from the outset, being caught smoking, then drunkenly bitch-fighting with security at Wankhede Stadium, earning him a hilarious five-year ban from the stadium. SRK argued that security were ‘man-handling’ his children, whilst he was just an innocent, drunken father caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, with a blood alcohol level to rival that of Paul Gascoigne in his heyday.

 

Still, whilst it would be easy to label Shahrukh Khan as owner of our Get Lost XI, to be fair to the bloke, by all accounts he has been an excellent owner for his team. Having stuck by KKR through thick and thin for the previous four seasons, as well as having taken the unpopular decision to get rid of local hero Ganguly, Shahrukh deserves some serious credit.

 

So, if not SRK, then the only other option becomes obvious…

 

Siddartha Mallya proved that you can’t buy class. His handling of a sensitive issue regarding Luke Pomersbach was exceptionally poor, and reflected terribly on his entire franchise as well as (his daddy’s) brand. His comments on how alleged victim Zohal Hamid was not behaving like a ‘future wife’ caused a furore, and was arguably the most ill-judged line of the IPL.

 

Not as terrible, but awful nonetheless were Mallya Jr’s constant attempts at a burn-a-hole-into-the-camera pout every time he beckoned to have the lens fall on him.

 

Often seen wearing a hideously feminine deep V-neck to accentuate his decolletage, when Mallya opened his mouth, he sounded even more pompous than Mark Nicholas, and only slightly less delusional than Stuart Broad – he would be perfect on Made In Chelsea.

 

Furthermore, the fact that Sidhartha Mallya seems to spend the majority of his spare time straightening his hair with Virat Kohli means that he deserves to have his daddy buy him his very own #GetLostXI.

 

(Nishant Joshi is the editor of AlternativeCricket.com, and The Alternative Cricket Almanack 2011.  AlternativeCricket.com is currently developing a scholarship for young Afghan cricketers. You can follow them on Facebook (facebook.com/alternativecricket) and Twitter (twitter.com/altcricket)