Some of the great players of World Cricket will miss this year's IPL © IANS
Some of the great players of World Cricket will miss this year’s IPL © IANS

The eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is around the corner, with the tournament opener to take place on April 8 at the Eden Gardens when Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) take on Mumbai Indians (MI). While the current edition will feature a lot of new faces, it will also miss out on a few legends of the game, as well as some of the more consistent players from the past editions. Amit Banerjee forms an XI out of such players.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2015 promises to be another action-packed, star-studded league, like the past editions, with the opening game between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Eden Gardens on April 8. The league will feature some internationally well-known names such as Mitchell McClenaghan (Mumbai Indians) for the first time in the Twenty20 extravaganza, along with some mystery purchases such as KC Cariappa, who was purchased by KKR for a whopping sum of Rs. 2.4 crore.

However, there are a few cricketers  who will not be seen in action in IPL 2015. From the veterans who retired in the recent past, to others who were ignored during the auctions that were held in February. Following is a team comprising of such cricketers.. The players are ordered according to their batting position:

1. Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka) (c): Sri Lankan stalwart Mahela Jayawardene has been one of the most prolific run-getters for his team for nearly 18 years, before he retired from all forms of cricket at the end of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The elegant right-hander, who has scored 1,802 runs from 80 appearances in IPL went unsold.

2. Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka): The Sri Lankan opener has served his national team ably in all departments — be it batting, bowling, fielding or wicketkeeping. The 38-year-old, who has played 87 Tests and 314 One-Day Internationals (ODI) for his national team, is a veteran of 52 games in the IPL for Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). His IPL average however, has been under 30 for both teams. With age catching up on, Dilshan too went unsold.

3. Jacques Kallis (South Africa): One of the greatest all-rounders to have graced the sport, Kallis played 70 and 46 games for KKR and RCB respectively, in seven IPL seasons, scoring 2,874 runs and taking 78 wickets for the two sides in IPL as well as Champions League Twenty20  (CLT20) matches. Kallis, who played his last season for KKR in last year’s edition of the IPL, joined the team as a batting consultant and mentor.

4. Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) (wk): The record-breaking Sri Lankan batsman bid goodbye to ODIs after Sri Lanka were knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The veteran, who has over 26,000 international runs to his credit, had earlier retired from T20s after Sri Lanka’s maiden triumph in the final of the ICC World Twenty20 2014. Sangakkara has made 71 appearances in the IPL for nearly all the teams that were ever part of the league, having scored 1,687 runs at an average of 25.95. As he narrows his focus down to the five-day format, it will be sad to know that one will not see this flamboyant batsman in the most-watched T20 league in the world, with Sangakkara going unsold.

5. Ross Taylor (New Zealand): The hard-hitting Black Caps batsman has been an entertainer in the IPL, having scored 1,017 runs from 55 matches at a strike-rate of 123.72 while playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Pune Warriors India (PWI). While he was above average in the recent ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, he is a treat to watch in the shorter formats, and is a safe bet in the middle-order.  He also went unsold in the February IPL 2015 Auction.

6. Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe): The Zimbabwean wicketkeeper batsman is one of the best cricketers Zimbabwe has ever produced, or so would many agree to. Taylor rose to prominence during the recent ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, where he shone brightly with the bat even though Zimbabwe were knocked out of the tournament in the group stage. Taylor scored 433 runs from six games at an impressive strike-rate of 72. Not only was he the fourth highest run-getter at the end of the tournament, he also raised the expectations among the fans of him shining in the IPL as well.

7. Kevin O’Brien (Ireland): The explosive Irish batsman was at his destructive best for his national team in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, with a knock of 50 off 25 deliveries helping Ireland beat United Arab Emirates (UAE) by two wickets during the league match. O’Brien is most famously remembered for his match-winning innings of 113 off 63 deliveries, which helped Ireland outsmart England by three wickets during the group match in the ICC World Cup 2011. O’Brien expressed disappointment after not being picked by any franchise during the IPL 2015 auctions.

8. Shadab Jakati (India): The Goan cricketer is one of the great discoveries of IPL. Jakati rose to prominence during CSK’s 2009 campaign, before reaping riches with RCB. Jakati went on to capture 45 wickets in 51 IPL appearances, with a haul of 4 for 22 being his best figures. Jakati went unsold after being set a base price of Rs. 20 Lakh.

9. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka): The ‘smiling assassin’ played his final IPL season in 2014 for RCB, at the end of which he had a tally of 63 wickets from 66 appearances with best figures of three for 11. Muralitharan continued to play Twenty20 cricket after retiring from international cricket at the end of the ICC World Cup 2011. Having absorbed himself in the role of the Australian spin bowling coach, the cricket fans will miss the spin wizard who currently is the highest wicket-taker in both Tests and ODIs.

10. Wayne Parnell (South Africa): The left-arm pacer may not have had the best of run in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 recently, leaking a plenty of runs in the only appearance of the tournament against India. Parnell however, has a decent IPL record to his name, capturing 26 wickets in as many appearances at an average of 27.

11. Jason Holder (West Indies): The Barbadian was the sole fighter for the West Indies during their crucial games against South Africa and Indian during the group stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015, both of which resulted in heavy defeats for the West Indians. Holder, who is the youngest-ever West Indian ODI skipper, would be a valuable addition down the order for his ability to shine both with the bat and ball. While his IPL record may not be that great, scoring 16 runs and taking three wickets in the seven appearances he has made in the league till date, one would have expected the cricketer to be a more matured player in this edition had he been picked.

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)