Four of the 13 internationals who haven’t played a single IPL game this season (from left): Irfan Pathan, Azhar Mahmood, Kyle Abbott and Ben Hilfenhaus

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is a huge opportunity for players to make statements of their prowess on a huge stage. But such is abundance of riches in the various sides, even internationals have to warm the benches at times. Suvajit Mustafi lists 13 popular names who haven’t got a single opportunity to play in the 2015 IPL season.


1:  Michael Hussey (Chennai Super Kings)

Michale Hussey

Hussey has been one of the mainstays for CSK since the tournament’s first edition in 2008. He was instrumental in the side winning the IPL in 2010 and CLT20 later that year. After spending a season with Mumbai Indians, CSK brought him back in this year’s auction. The 39-year-old hasn’t got a game yet but with Brendon McCullum leaving for national duties, Hussey may have to play a crucial role for CSK.


2:  Irfan Pathan (Chennai Super Kings)


An in-form Irfan Pathan is invaluable to any side, but over the years, injuries have marred his career — the latest being just prior to CSK’s opening game. Ashish Nehra took Pathan’s place and made a huge impact; the Delhi left-arm seamer is presently wearing the Purple Cap. Though Irfan has regained fitness, he hasn’t been able to break into the strong CSK outfit.


3:  Kyle Abbott (Chennai Super Kings)


CSK have a powerful pace department. And with only four foreign players allowed in the playing XI, CSK have gone with their trusted four: McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo. However in conducive conditions, they may look to bring in the big South African pacer.


4:  Matt Henry (Chennai Super Kings)

Matt Henry

Matt Henry has been one of the best New Zealand bowlers last year and later played in the World Cup as a replacement to Adam Milne. Henry too has been warming the CSK bench. Again with their four international players sorted, he hasn’t been able to make it into the eleven. He will play no further role in this year’s IPL as he is touring England with the New Zealand side for a Test series.


5:  Samuel Badree (Chennai Super Kings)

Samuel Badree

With Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Pawan Negi in the side, Badree hasn’t got an opportunity to break into the strong table-topper CSK side. With the side performing consistently and Badree being an overseas player, it’s highly unlikely that the 34-year-old Trinidadian leggie will get a game for CSK.


6:  Rahul Sharma (Chennai Super Kings)

Rahul Sharma

He caught the eyes in 2011, when playing for Pune Warriors India. His good performance in the IPL was rewarded with an India cap in the limited-overs. He was picked by CSK this year and the likes of Ashwin, Jadeja and Negi have been preferred over his leg-spin bowling.


7:  Azhar Mahmood (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Azhar Mahmood

Ahead of this year’s IPL, Azhar was signed up by KKR as a replacement for Jimmy Neesham. The 40-year old former Pakistani all-rounder hasn’t played a game this season as Andre Russell has been in terrific form this season. However, having someone of his experience in the dressing room is always a huge bonus.


8:  Kuldeep Yadav (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Kuldeep Yadav

Yadav caught everyone’s attention in the CLT20 last year. So impressed were the national selectors that they also picked him for the national squad in the limited-overs. However, the 20-year old Chinaman bowler is yet to make his IPL debut. KKR already possesses a very strong spin-bowling line-up and unless there is an injury to Piyush Chawla, it’s unlikely that he’ll make his debut this year.


9:  Abhimanyu Mithun (Mumbai Indians)

Abhimanyu Mithun

Despite having international experience, Mithun hasn’t been a successful bowler in IPL. He can generate good pace and bounce, but his IPL record doesn’t inspire much confidence. He was picked up by Mumbai Indians (MI) in this year’s auction, but his state captain Vinay Kumar has got the preference in the eleven. Already into the business end of the tournament; it’s unlikely that the Karnataka pacer will feature in MI’s plans.


10:  Ben Hilfenhaus (Mumbai Indians)


MI opener Aaron Finch got injured early in the tournament and was ruled out. As a result MI were allowed a replacement and they signed Hilfenhaus. The veteran seamer hasn’t found a place in the side as Lasith Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan have bowled well together. Also they have Marchant de Lange as a back-up, who will get a preference if either of the two is injured.


11:  Ben Cutting (Rajasthan Royals)

ben cutting

RR have plenty of seam bowling all-rounder options in James Faulkner, Chris Morris, Stuart Binny and Juan Theron. As a result the Australian all-rounder hasn’t featured in a single game for RR this season. Also being a foreign player doesn’t help as teams can just pick four of them.


12:  Ashok Dinda (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Ashok dinda

Ever since the tournament’s inception in 2008, Dinda has been a part of plans for all the sides he has played for. The consistent performer for Bengal has last represented India in 2013 and also featured in India’s 30-member squad for the World Cup. It’s a surprise that the pacer hasn’t found a spot in the playing eleven for RCB this year. The likes of Harshal Patel, Abu Nechim, Sreenath Aravind and Varun Aaron have been given the preference. With the end of the tournament approaching, Dinda’s chance of breaking into the side is bleak.


13:  Subramaniam Badrinath (Royal Challenger Bangalore)


Till 2013, Badrinath served as an important member of the CSK side. More often he was used for anchoring the side. Picked by RCB in 2015, the Tamil Nadu veteran hasn’t played a single game. In a side packed with flamboyant hitters, it has been difficult for Badrinath to break in and it is clear that the 17-year old Sarfaraz Khan features in the side’s plans more than him.


(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades , all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sportsmarketer , strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)


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