Week 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 saw some unexpected results, some thrilling close contests and electric fielding efforts. With all teams having played at least four games apiece, there are some early adjustments being made by teams as they attempt to find their team for the season.
In a surprise start, Indian pacers such as Chetan Sakariya, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan have emerged top assets for their respective teams, whereas India regulars Hardik Pandya, Shardul Thakur and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are yet to hit their straps. The early form of domestic and international players has played a big role in the results thus far, rather than overall team balance.
Although there are different pitches and conditions in the games to come, there are a few big-ticket players who have failed miserably and may be overlooked in the games to come. Here are three players who may be benched for the entire season following their poor performances.
#3 Manan Vohra (IPL 2021: RR)
With Robin Uthappa traded out to the Chennai Super Kings at the start of the season, Manan Vohra could have capitalised on a golden opportunity to revive an IPL career that has fallen off in the last four years. Batting at the top order alongside Jos Buttler and with the likes of Sanju Samson, David Miller and earlier even Ben Stokes to accompany him, Vohra could have made use of the relatively lower expectations to shine without as much pressure.
Instead, in a team already suffering from a myriad of injury and availability-related issues, Vohra's poor form at the top of the order has meant the Rajasthan Royals always enter the middle overs under pressure, with one of Sanju Samson or David Miller tasked with bailing out the team with support from the all-rounders. With young Yashasvi Jaiswal waiting in the wings, Vohra's lack of conviction may see his IPL career come to an end.
#2 Riley Meredith (IPL 2021: PBKS)
The Punjab Kings invested a lot of faith and money in uncapped Australian bowler Riley Meredith in an attempt to sort out their pace bowling woes from last season. The hope was that Meredith, along with compatriot Jhye Richardson, would give the team enough bowling cushion to support a weakened batting order.
The move awkwardly backfired, with the lack of batting support from Meredith and his high economy rate of 10.50 this season costing PBKS several games. Though there is precious little to separate his returns from Richardson's, PBKS seem to be looking towards their all-rounders instead, and if only one pacer plays, it could be the capped Richardson.
#1 Tom Curran (IPL 2021: DC)
Unlike his brother Sam, who is already one of the biggest draws of the Chennai Super Kings team, English pace-bowling all-rounder Tom Curran hasn't quite been able to figure out the IPL. Playing for three different franchises over three seasons, Tom has played a total of 12 games with a poor IPL career economy rate north of 11 runs per over.
Despite his unimpressive numbers, Delhi Capitals invested in the England international, hoping he would contribute with bat and ball whenever the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje were unavailable. He did get two opportunities, but picked up only one wicket and leaked runs at close to 10 an over. While he was able to show his skill with the bat on one occasion, the Capitals have a better all-rounder in Chris Woakes if needed, and are unlikely to need Tom's services this edition of the IPL.