IPL 2020 Exclusive: Top 5 Under-utilized Players of the Tournament

CSK’s Imran Tahir, the highlight as we look at the top 5 under-utilized players of IPL 2020.

We are into the last week of group matches for IPL 2020, and we are still not sure about the top 4 teams. Barring Mumbai Indians, no team has qualified yet for the top 4, and we have only 6 matches left. If we analyse, some of the teams have punched above their weights, while some of them have failed to convert their potential into consistent performance. 

There are numerous reasons for poor performance, but if we deep-dive slightly, we would notice that the Captains and Team management are the main culprits. We have seen many tactical mistakes by these teams, and a part of the reason is the under-utilization of some of the key resources. Nevertheless, here are 5 players, who deserved more chances especially when their team was failing more often than not. 

#1: Parthiv Patel

The pair of Simon Katich and Mike Hesson has come in like a breath of fresh air to Royal Challengers Bangalore’s fortunes this year. They have been brilliant on most occasions, but still could have changed a thing or two about their team combination. RCB went with Australian limited-overs captain Aaron Finch as their opener along with young Devdutt Padikkal. That was the right move looking at the reputation of Aaron Finch, but once it was clear that he wasn’t in his best form, the team management had other options to look at.

Parthiv Patel could have made a huge difference to their potential this year. He would have been a perfect foil to Devdutt Padikkal at the top which could have released an overseas spot. Hence, Moeen Ali would have become an automatic choice in the middle-order, or Finch could have also been tried in the middle-order, which would have freed Kohli and Abd. Also if Parthiv Patel was playing, then AB de Villiers would have handed wicket-keeping gloves to him. A win-win situation on almost three fronts for RCB.

#2: Lockie Ferguson

This New Zealand fast-bowler would have been the first pick as a fast-bowler in many IPL teams even in the current competition. But, only because KKR had Pat Cummins up their sleeves, he had to carry the drinks in most part of the season. Moreover, with Narine and Russell in the squad, it was always going to be difficult for Ferguson to play.

However, the injury to Narine forced Kolkata to include Lockie in their playing XI. He made an immediate impact in his first match against Sunrisers Hyderabad by picking up 3 wickets. Clearly, his pairing with another International superstar Pat Cummins would have set tension soaring in the opposition dugouts just like what Boult-Bumrah or Rabada-Nortje did for their teams. 

#3: Ishan Porel

In the initial stages of the league, Kings XI Punjab looked like a beaten team on all fronts apart from their opening pair. One of the main reasons behind their poor outings was their lacklustre death bowling. Mohammed Shami and Sheldon Cottrell have conceded at 10.67 & 9.56 respectively during 16-20 overs phase in their T20 career. So, they weren’t the best of options for your death bowling, and it became pretty evident at crucial points in many matches.

Ishan Porel offers an overall package in terms of fast-bowling. A hit-the-deck bowler along with enough options to go to at the death, he could have changed some of the earlier results in KXIP’s favour. This move could have also enabled them to include someone like Mujeeb Ur Rahman or James Neesham in their XI on regular basis.

Yes, Arshdeep Singh has done well in the second half of the season, but Ishan Porel is a talent to watch out for. Moreover, his inclusion in the Team India’s net bowler’s squad for Australia tour is a testimony of that. You can check Live Cricket Scores for India vs Australia Series 2020-21 on this awesome website.

#4: Mohammad Nabi

Sunrisers Hyderabad are struggling in the bottom half of the table and now face a daunting task to qualify for the play-offs. One man who could have changed their fortunes is Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. He is a well-travelled cricketer with an experience of playing in all T20 leagues around the world. With 271 T20 matches against his name, he also offers a bulk of the experience. 

SRH have struggled with their lower-order batting this year. With two openers and Rashid Khan being confirmed starters for them, they had to decide between Kane Williamson and Mohammad Nabi on most occasions. It’s definitely a tough choice, but looking at the team composition, Nabi deserved more chances. 

Mohammad Nabi would have complemented Priyam Garg and Abdul Samad perfectly at no 5 positions along with giving them 4 quality overs with the ball. The fact that he has only played 14 matches in IPL from 2017 only confirms about his underutilization.

#5: Imran Tahir

Before the season began in September, Imran Tahir was in everyone’s starting XI for Chennai Super Kings. And why wouldn’t he be there? He won the purple cap last year having scalped 26 wickets, and was supposedly the second-best spinner in the Tournament behind Rashid Khan. 

However, looking at the pace-friendly pitches, CSK think tank decided to go in with a foreign fast bowler in place of Imran Tahir even though they could have played him. The Indian contingent of Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla and Karn Sharma failed to exploit many favourable match-ups, while Imran Tahir’s experience would have come in handy for CSK at critical junctures in their campaign.

It’s a big question mark on MSD and CSK’s think-tank as they didn’t include their star wicket-taking bowler right from the first match. The strategy of finding the balance has backfired CSK as they lost the plot in middle-overs most of the times.

So, these are the players who were under-utilized, and deserved more chances in IPL 2020. Apart from these, if Ajinkya Rahane was present in any other team, he would have gotten more chances. In case you have missed, ICC has explained the process of D/L in this unique article. Don’t miss out.

Thanks for reading! Which of the above-mentioned under-utilized players deserved more chances for IPL 2020? Please, let us know in the comments. 

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