The 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) presented several overseas players with the opportunity to make a mark on one of the biggest stages in T20 cricket.
Some overseas players desperately needed to put up good performances ahead of the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to be conducted in October this year. While a few like Moeen Ali, Chris Morris and Kyle Jamieson impressed in the tournament, others were not so fortunate.
If the IPL cannot be completed, these players will have to turn in eye-catching displays in other domestic and international T20 matches to stake their claim for a place in their respective national sides for the ICC's premier shortest-format tournament.
Here are 3 overseas players who damaged their T20 World Cup hopes with their performances in IPL 2021.
#3 Jhye Richardson - 3 wickets in IPL 2021
Bought for a whopping INR 14 crores in the IPL 2021 auction, Jhye Richardson was expected to be one of the Punjab Kings' spearheads in the pace attack. In fact, given how short of all-rounders the franchise was, the Aussie was even banked on to score a few handy runs lower down the order.
But Richardson played only three matches, before the team management lost faith in him and replaced him with Chris Jordan and later Riley Meredith. In these matches, he picked up three wickets at an economy rate of 10.63, and didn't offer much in the batting department as well.
Richardson played five T20Is for Australia earlier this year, as he made a comeback to the setup after two years. But after a return of only four wickets in those games and an indifferent IPL 2021 campaign, his involvement in the T20 World Cup hangs in the balance despite a stellar Big Bash League season.
#2 Tom Curran - 1 wicket in IPL 2021
England have a number of pace-bowling all-rounders to choose from, and unfortunately for Tom Curran, he now seems to be right at the bottom of the list.
He had the opportunity to make a difference in IPL 2021, as part of the Delhi Capitals playing XI in the absence of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada at the start of the tournament. Curran scalped only one wicket in the two games he played, conceding runs at 9.78 an over and even taking a beating at the hands of his younger brother Sam.
The 26-year-old has never been first-choice for England, but he has been in and around the white-ball teams for a couple of years now. Something dramatic needs to happen if Curran is to leapfrog the plethora of world-class pacers Eoin Morgan has at his disposal and feature in the T20 World Cup.
#1 Nicholas Pooran - 28 runs in IPL 2021
Coming into IPL 2021 on the back of a superb Abu Dhabi T10 campaign, Punjab Kings dasher Nicholas Pooran seemed destined for a prolific breakthrough season. However, he was in for an abysmal campaign - by far the worst run of his short career in the league.
In six innings, Pooran recorded three ducks with a highest score of just 19. He tallied a total of 28 runs at a strike rate of 84.84 and an average of 4.66, letting KL Rahul's side down on a number of occasions before eventually losing his place in the playing XI to Dawid Malan.
Pooran is the future of West Indies cricket, and he may not be dropped mercilessly like he would be in another international team. He has the faith of captain Kieron Pollard, and the Windies are scheduled to take on Australia and Pakistan at home ahead of the T20 World Cup.
But Pooran's IPL 2021 performances were certainly a big setback to his hopes of representing his country in their favorite ICC tournament, the T20 World Cup.