Flop XI of the season

IPL 2021 proved to be a game-changer for many players, propelling them to stardom on the international stage. Youngsters like Chetan Sakariya and Harpreet Brar came to the fore as they made the most of the opportunity in IPL 2021.

Even some of the league’s veterans, like AB de Villiers and Kieron Pollard, pulled off some stunning performances, proving once again why they are regarded as the stars of the games. For Indians like Prithvi Shaw, IPL 2021 offered a chance at redemption after struggling with the national side earlier this year.

But while many credit IPL 2021 for turning their fortunes around, a few unlucky ones had forgettable outings too. Leaking too many runs, dry spells with the bat, and sometimes even a stroke of bad luck meant some of IPL 2021’s most promising stars failed to fire.

In this article, we attempt to pick an IPL 2021 Flop XI. These players are in no way bad cricketers, but they certainly struggled to show their true potential in IPL 2021.

Openers – David Warner and Shubman Gill

It was painful to see David Warner bat for Sunrisers Hyderabad this season. The southpaw has been one of the league’s most consistent performers and has made 400+ run seasons a normality for him.

But David Warner was a shadow of himself in IPL 2021, ultimately leading to him being unceremoniously dropped from the side and stripped off captaincy towards the latter stages of the tournament. Known for being a destructive opener with unreal consistency, David Warner scored just 193 runs in six games this season. More than the runs, it was Warner’s strike rate that brought his downfall, with the Australian striking at a lowly 110.28 in IPL 2021.

Partnering him is Kolkata Knight Riders opener Shubman Gill, who was trolled heavily for his pedestrian batting in IPL 2021. After a 440-run season in 2020 and a strong start to his Test career, hopes were high from Shubman Gill in IPL 2021.

But the 21-year-old failed horribly at the top, struggling for both runs and strike rate. Shubman Gill managed just 132 runs in seven games. His miserly strike rate of 117.85 in IPL 2021 did KKR more harm than good as it put pressure on the other batsmen to pick up the pace around him.

Middle-Order – Ishan Kishan, Nicholas Pooran, Eoin Morgan

Hopes were high from Ishan Kishan after his power-packed debut against England a few weeks ago. But the young wicket-keeper failed to reach the heights of last season when he notched up 516 runs and topped the six-hitting charts last season.

Seemingly troubled by the sticky Chepauk track, Ishan Kishan’s fearless stroke-play was nowhere to be seen as the young gun buckled under pressure. At a time when the Mumbai Indians needed someone from their middle-order to kick on and take control of the game, Ishan Kishan registered three scores of less than 15 in his five games, striking at 82.95 in IPL 2021.

Another wicket-keeper to join him in our IPL 2021 Flop XI is Nicholas Pooran, the man who registered four ducks in seven games this season. Tasked with being the finisher for the Punjab Kings, Nicholas Pooran returned to the pavilion as quickly as he came out to bat more often than not in IPL 2021. He also created an unwanted record, becoming the first player to register a diamond, golden, silver and bronze duck in the same season.

Expectations were high from Eoin Morgan, with many labeling KKR as IPL 2021’s dark horses owing to his Midas touch when it comes to leading white-ball sides. But IPL 2021 was a huge failure for Eoin Morgan, both the skipper and the batsman, as the 34-year-old looked bereft of ideas. Eoin Morgan was extremely passive with his captaincy, and he uncharacteristically failed to take responsibility when KKR’s batting line-up faltered time and time again in front of his eyes.

Eoin Morgan faced just 82 balls all season, which is criminal for a finisher of his caliber. When he was out in the middle, he crawled to 92 runs in seven games, out of which 47* came in a single match against the Punjab Kings.

All-rounders – Hardik Pandya, Shivam Dube

Hardik Pandya can’t technically be called an all-rounder right now, considering he didn’t bowl a single delivery in IPL 2021. But he still is one on paper and it was precisely his inability to bowl which makes him an inclusion in our IPL 2021 Flop XI. The Mumbai Indians star made his greatest contributions while fielding this season, which doesn’t bode well for a man who has skills with both bat and ball.

One of the most fearsome strikers in 2020, the Hardik Pandya show never took off in IPL 2021 as the power-hitter grappled with the slow Chennai wicket. 52 runs in 44 balls at a strike rate of 118.18 aren’t acceptable for a player who dons the sole role of being a finisher if he doesn’t bowl.

Joining him in our side is Shivam Dube, once a like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya in the Indian team. This season was supposed to be a huge opportunity for Dube, considering Rajasthan Royals decided to play him at no.4. But the left-hander made a hash of it, occupying the crease for long durations but failing to accelerate.

Shivam Dube went past 15 in all but one of his knocks in IPL 2021 but didn’t make a single fifty. He took 123 balls to score his 145 runs this season, taking away balls from proven finishers like Chris Morris and David Miller. His stock as an all-rounder crashed as well, after being smacked for 31 runs in the three overs he bowled in IPL 2021.

Bowlers – Shardul Thakur, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jhye Richardson, Yuzvendra Chahal

Shardul Thakur had a great time in international cricket before IPL 2021 but finished as the least impressive bowler for CSK this season. The CSK pacer proved to be expensive, with just five wickets at an economy of 10.33 in IPL 2021. His tendency to bowl wides hurt the franchise as well.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was another international star who failed to make the heights he reached in the recently concluded England series. While the Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer was right on the money against England, he struggled to find his line and length in IPL 2021.

With no swing on offer in Chennai, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s famous powerplay breakthroughs became a thing of the past, with the 31-year-old picking just three scalps at an average of 57.66. His economy of 9.10, the second-highest amongst SRH pacers, was disappointing as well.

Bought for a hefty price tag of Rs 14 crore, Jhye Richardson was the latest example of BBL pacers failing to succeed in the IPL. The Australian had the worst economy (10.63 rpo) out of all PBKS pacers, managing just 24 dot balls in IPL 2021.

For comparison, table topper Mohammed Shami managed a whopping 76 dot balls. Jhye Richardson took just three wickets in IPL 2021 and was taken apart by opposition batsmen time and again in each phase of the innings. His poor form led to his exclusion after only three games, with Chris Jordan and Riley Meredith preferred in the latter stages of IPL 2021.

Rounding out our infamous IPL 2021 Flop XI is Yuzvendra Chahal, with the pressure on the 30-year-old leggie rising day by day. Yuzvendra Chahal picked up wickets in just three games this season and didn’t even bowl his full quota in many games as he struggled to provide RCB with any breakthroughs.

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