Like any other sport, cricket too is a game of uncertainties. Abrupt injuries can put any player out of action. With players being part of high-pressure, high-intensity games throughout the year, it is not surprising to see many fall prey to injuries.
In case a player is unable to play the IPL for whatever reason, the concerned franchise can rope in another player, provided he was part of the IPL auction list and went unsold.
It often happens that the replacement player has such an impact over the course of the tournament that he becomes a permanent fixture in the team. In this article, we look at three such players who were bought in as replacements but made significant contributions to their team.
3. Jason Holder (Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2020)
Jason Holder is one of the best all-rounders in all three formats of the game currently. The lanky fast-bowling all-rounder was not new to the IPL, having been part of the Chennai Super Kings in the 2013 edition of the IPL.
After an injury to Mitchell Marsh, Holder was summoned to replace him, and the West Indian made an impact straightaway. Holder snared 14 wickets in seven games and was quite economical as well, while chipping in with 66 runs on the four occasions that he batted. He was retained by SRH ahead of the fourteenth edition of the IPL and will continue to ply his trade for the Hyderabad outfit.
2. Anrich Nortje (Delhi Capitals, IPL 2020)
Like Holder, Anrich Nortje's name too did not spark any interest among the eight franchises in the auction room. However, he was picked up by the Delhi Capitals as a replacement for English quick Chris Woakes, who opted out of the thirteenth edition of the IPL.
Nortje made an impact straightaway. Although he was a tad expensive in his debut match, the Protea pacer returned with figures of 2-21 in his second outing against CSK.
Nortje finished as the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 22 wickets under his belt from 16 games, helping the Capitals reach their first-ever IPL final. Following this, Nortje was retained for IPL 2021 along with Woakes, whom he had originally replaced.
1. Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore, IPL 2011)
Chris Gayle being roped in by the Royal Challengers Bangalore is considered to be one of the best replacement signings in IPL history.
Despite his reputation to go hard at the top, the big man from the West Indies did not receive any bids in the 2011 IPL auction. Gayle came in as a replacement for the injured Dirk Nannes, and the rest, they say, is history.
In spite of playing only twelve games, he finished as the highest run-scorer in the tournament, garnering 608 runs at a stunning strike rate of around 183. His season also included two scintillating centuries and three half-centuries.
Gayle's blitzkrieg throughout the course of the tournament took the Bangalore franchise all the way through to the final, where they lost to eventual champions Chennai Super Kings.
The southpaw was released ahead of IPL 2018 and was picked up by the Punjab Kings (then Kings XI Punjab) for his base price and has been retained ever since. Gayle will turn out for the Kings once again in IPL 2021.