The IPL (Indian Premier League) is one of the biggest T20 tournaments in the world. Some of the biggest players in the T20 format feature in the IPL and showcase their prowess. However, not all of them can make it to the playing XI of franchises because of a variety of reasons.
In a long tournament like the IPL, franchises often have to ring changes in their playing XI based on the opposition, playing conditions or to keep their key players fresh. That essentially means that a player who would normally walk into the playing XI of any other team may have to sit out because of an unfavourable team combination.
On that note, let us take a look at five such high-profile players who may not feature regularly in the playing XI of their respective franchises in IPL 2020.
Five high-profile players who may struggle to get in the playing-XI of their respective franchises in IPL 2020:
#5: Dale Steyn (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
There was a time when Dale Steyn used to be a nightmare for batsmen all around the world. Steyn has been equally impressive in the IPL, with batsmen having a tough time against him.
However, the South African's constant struggle with injuries in recent times has meant that he ceased to be an automatic starter.
After being bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) as a replacement player last season, Dale Steyn made an immediate impact by picking up four wickets in two games. However, misfortune soon struck, and he was ruled out for the rest of the tournament due to a niggle.
In fact, Steyn went unsold in the first few rounds of bidding in the IPL auctions last year before he was bought by RCB at his base price of Rs 2 crore. However, with a strong contingent of Indian pacers like Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini and Mohammad Siraj at their disposal, Steyn might have to warm the RCB bench for a majority of the season.
#4: Harbhajan Singh (Chennai Super Kings)
After being part of Mumbai Indians for ten years, Harbhajan Singh found a new home in the IPL when he turned up for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2018. However, it was quite evident that the off-spinner was past his prime and wasn't an automatic choice at his new team.
Nevertheless, CSK captain MS Dhoni showed a lot of faith in his former India teammate and picked him quite often in the franchise's playing XI. Harbhajan Singh did not disappoint his captain by picking up 16 wickets in 11 games.
With CSK possessing a bevvy of spinners in their ranks like Ravindra Jadeja, Imran Tahir, Mitchell Santner, Karn Sharma and the newly-recruited Piyush Chawla, Harbhajan Singh, who turned 40 last month, might fall behind his younger counterparts this season.
#3: Chris Lynn (Mumbai Indians)
Chris Lynn was one of Mumbai Indians' (MI's) most prized acquisitions in the IPL auctions last year after Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) surprisingly released him from their roster.
Lynn was a batting mainstay for KKR in the past few years and helped provide solid starts to the franchise at the top of the order. Mumbai Indians were quick to pounce on Lynn's availability and bought him for Rs 2 crore. However, it will be interesting to see how the defending IPL champions manage to accomodate him in their playing XI.
Mumbai Indians generally feature two overseas bowlers in their lineup. With Quinton de Kock and Kieron Pollard being sure starters, it seems difficult for Chris Lynn to break into the MI playing XI. Moreover, Rohit Sharma would be keen to open the innings with De Kock, which means that Lynn may have to bide his time on the MI bench unless one of Sharma or De Kock gets injured.
#2: Kane Williamson (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Kane Williamson has been a part of Sunrisers Hyderabad for a long time. The Kiwi skipper has played some crucial innings at the top of the order for the franchise. He won the Orange Cap in IPL 2018 and led the Sunrisers to the final that season.
However, Williamson wasn't at his best in the IPL last year. With David Warner and Jonny Bairstow finding success as openers and Williamson playing at number three, Sunrisers struggled with their balance throughout the tournament.
That was perhaps the reason why Warner was appointed the skipper of the franchise ahead of the 2020 edition of the competition. With too many overseas batting options, Williamson might struggle to make it to the Sunrisers playing XI in IPL 2020.
#1: Ajinkya Rahane (Delhi Capitals)
In a major trade before the IPL auctions last year, Ajinkya Rahane moved to Delhi Capitals.
Rahane had been the backbone of Rajasthan Royals, both as a batsman as well as a captain. However, the Royals wanted to change things around this time and decided to let Rahane leave.
While there is no doubt that Rahane will bolster the Delhi Capitals' batting, he may struggle to get into their playing XI. The franchise already has a set opening combination in Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. The pair performed extremely well in IPL 2019 by providing steady starts to the team.
With a settled opening pair and a jam-packed middle-order, Rahane might have to wait for his turn to get into the Delhi Capitals' playing XI in IPL 2020.Published 31 Aug 2020, 15:58 IST