The Indian T20 League is the undisputed heavyweight of the world when it comes to T20 leagues. Launched in 2008, the lucrative tournament has attracted the who's who of cricket to come and play and been a springboard as well for lesser-known players to catapult themselves to stardom and perhaps even the national team with definitive performance against the cream of the crop.
At the same time, there are those cricketers, who in spite of having more than made their names in international cricket, never saw the light of day as far as the Indian T20 League is concerned, and we run through four such players:
Joe Root has long been a pivotal part of the England squad, and their Test captain is certainly a handy T20 player as well, which he proved during the 2016 T20 World Cup. You would therefore expect him to have been in the thick of the Indian T20 League like his mates Ben Stokes or Jonny Bairstow. However, he has surprisingly been skipped over during the auctions. There was a rumour that Punjab might bring Root onboard to lead in 2020 but that nod went to KL Rahul.
Brian Lara is, without doubt, one of the greatest batsmen to have graced the sport. When he retired from international cricket in 2007, the Indian T20 League was still a year away from inception. While he did participate in the now-defunct Indian Cricket League in 2008, he wasn’t particularly keen on trying out the Indian T20 League and sat out the first two seasons. It wasn’t until 2011 that Lara finally attempted to crack India’s premier T20 league. Suffice to say that at 41, and being out of action for so long, he did not get a second look during the auctions in Bangalore and has never since attempted to play in the tournament again.
While Stuart Broad has an incredible record in Test cricket, having recently entered the elite '500 club', joining the likes of Jimmy Anderson, Anil Kumble and Muttiah Muralitharan, it may not be quite so well known that Broad is also England's highest wicket-taker in T20s. Also, he had captained England in the 2014 World T20 tournament in the West Indies. It's therefore bewildering to think that given his T20 pedigree, he has never played a match in the Indian T20 League. Although Broad was snapped up by Punjab for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he never played a match for them due to injuries.
Mushfiqur Rahim has on more than one occasion showed his capabilities as a T20 batsman of note for Bangladesh, winning matches singlehandedly for them, and is a bankable wicketkeeper as well. While the likes of Shakib al Hasan and Mustafizur Rahman have been part of title-winning efforts in the Indian T20 League, Rahim has always been passed over during the auctions. However, he has adopted a pragmatic attitude about it. “No, I don’t have any regrets. I don’t think that playing the (Indian T20 League) can be bigger than representing my country…if I get an opportunity then, of course, I’ll play. And if I don’t get then honestly, I will never regret it,” Rahim told Cricbuzz in 2019.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Geoff Caddick