5 great players who never played an IPL final
The IPL final for the 2023 season will see Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fight it out with defending champions Gujarat Titans (GT) at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Sunday, May 28.
While CSK are aiming for their fifth triumph, GT will be looking to successfully defend their title at the very venue where they won it the first time of asking last year.
The contest is set to feature multiple big-ticket names such as Rashid Khan, Ravindra Jadeja, David Miller and Ajinkya Rahane among others, apart from skippers MS Dhoni and Hardik Pandya.
The IPL final has seen a number of greats such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Shane Warne, and Lasith Malinga to name a few, fight for the ultimate prize. While that list is endless, there are a number of other legends who have not had the fortune of playing the game that matters the most.
Ahead of tonight's summit clash between CSK and GT, we look at five great players who have never played an IPL final over the years:
#1 Sourav Ganguly
Legendary former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has never played an IPL final despite taking part in the first five seasons of the tournament. Having been named the icon of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) ahead of the inaugural season, he was also their captain in 2008 and 2010, although the team failed to qualify beyond the league stage.
A big call on him was taken ahead of the 2011 mega auction before the now-defunct Pune Warriors India swooped in and signed him as a replacement player.
Ganguly captained them the following year but they finished last on the points table. He never played a playoff match in the IPL and hung up his boots post the 2012 season.
#2 Dale Steyn
Legendary South African quick Dale Steyn was part of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the first three IPL seasons, before returning to the franchise in 2019 having plied his trade for SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) and the now-defunct Deccan Chargers and Gujarat Lions.
While RCB made the final of the 2009 season, Steyn wasn't part of the playing XI despite the game being played at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
That was the closest he got to featuring in an IPL final and while SRH and RCB qualified for the playoffs in 2013 and 2020, respectively, they failed to make it to the summit clash, leaving Steyn as one of many greats who never featured in one.
#3 Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar Sangakkara has been a stalwart of Sri Lankan cricket and was unsurprisingly a starter for the Kings XI Punjab (as they were called back then) in the first three seasons of the IPL.
He later joined the Chargers and SRH and captained each of these three franchises at various junctures but never managed to play an IPL final.
While the Kings qualified for the semifinals in 2008, they lost out on making it to the final. SRH might have made the playoffs in 2013 but the overseas combination forced Sangakkara to sit out of a few games with Cameron White taking over the reins.
The former wicketkeeper-batter did make it to an IPL final as a coach, however, when the Rajasthan Royals (RR) played the summit clash in 2022.
#4 Mahela Jayawardene
Sangakkara's good friend of many years and fellow Sri Lankan teammate Mahela Jayawardene is yet another legend who hasn't played an IPL final.
Much like his countryman though, Jayawardene has been a part of it as a coach, winning three titles as head coach of Mumbai Indians (MI) in 2017, 2019, and 2020.
The former Sri Lankan captain was with the Kings himself for the first three seasons before captaining the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) in 2011.
He then moved over to Delhi Daredevils (DD) as they were called back then and while they made it to the playoffs in 2012, they couldn't avoid a last-place finish under Jayawardene's captaincy in 2013 as the veteran never got to play an IPL final.
#5 Ben Stokes
While CSK will be playing the IPL final tonight, they will be doing so without the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes. England's Test captain is yet to play a final in the league to date, with his closest opportunity coming in his debut season in 2017.
As part of the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS), Stokes played a pivotal role in helping the team qualify for the playoffs before departing on national duty. He didn't take part post the league phase, although he did enough to walk away with the Most Valuable Player award for the season.
He turned out for Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the following four seasons although the team only made the playoffs in 2018 without progressing beyond the Eliminator.
Time will tell if the modern-day great, who is also a two-time World Cup winner, will feature in the summit clash in the future.
Which other great player can you think of to have not played an IPL final till date? Have your say in the comments section below!