Injured players whose absence proved costly for teams throughout IPL history
The Indian Premier League has powerhouse T20 teams that ensure about keeping competitiveness intact or bettering it each season. Teams come in with the best of plans and strategies ahead of the season at the auction table, looking to hire the services of the top players in the world. Building a strong squad is a tough task and if done meticulously well, the biggest advantage throughout a particular season.
However, sometimes plans go awry in cricket like in life. With a hectic international schedule in modern times, players have a high chance of getting themselves injured or burnt out. Over the years, this has affected their participation in the tournament. More than that, teams have had to pay the price for it by settling for the second best option in the form of a replacement player and alter strategies accordingly at a quick pace.
In the IPL 2018, Kolkata Knight Riders are expected to make changes in their squad with star players such as Mitchell Johnson, Chris Lynn and Andre Russell struggling due to injuries. While Mumbai Indians have managed to bring in New Zealand pacer Mitchell McCleneghan in place of Australia’s Jason Behrendorff.
So let’s browse through every season of the competition so far and see which players’ absence went on to play a role in their team’s fortunes going downhill.
#1 IPL 2008
The first season of the competition started off extremely well, with many matches going down to the wire and Rajasthan Royals remarkably winning the title.
However, who knows how things would have turned out if it wasn’t for the absence of three major stars of the game.
Mumbai Indians were the most affected not just due to the Harbhajan Singh-Sreesanth ‘Slapgate’, but also due to injuries to their captain and icon player, Sachin Tendulkar and their Sri Lankan pace spearhead, Lasith Malinga.
Tendulkar and Malinga were the identity of MI during their time, as they proved later on. While Malinga missed on the entire season due to a knee injury, Tendulkar missed out on the first half of the tournament due to a groin injury.
Mumbai did bounce back after a below-par start, but could only finish fifth and consequently, could not qualify for the semifinals despite being one of the pre-tournament favourites.
Kolkata Knight Riders were another team expected to do well, more so when Brendon McCullum smashed 158* in the very first match of the competition against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
However, the Knight Riders were let down by their batting to a huge extent that season and they finished sixth on the points table.
Like Tendulkar, West Indies’ explosive opener Chris Gayle too suffered from a groin injury, although his was a more serious one.
As a result, he was ruled out of the entire tournament, leaving KKR with a huge void at the top of the order.
KKR’s investment on Gayle wasn’t exactly a success from 2008-2010, which reflected on their results to a huge extent.
Although he had a better outing with the Royal Challengers Bangalore from 2011-2017, the side felt his absence at the start of the 2014 season when he missed out on a number of games due to a shoulder injury. RCB finished seventh that year.