Taking place in unprecedented times, the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) heavily favors those who have experience and have excelled in a variety of conditions.
No team has been allowed to play at their home venue, and the senior cricketers in each side have been tasked with not only playing starring roles on a regular basis but also nurturing the youngsters towards greatness.
However, some veteran Indian cricketers have disappointed in IPL 2021 and have damaged their cases for a spot in the national team for the T20 World Cup, which is scheduled to happen later this year.
Here are 3 seasoned Indian cricketers who have had poor starts to their IPL 2021 campaign.
#3 Manish Pandey - 101 runs in IPL 2021
Although he scored 101 runs at an average of 50.5 in the Sunrisers Hyderabad's first three games, Manish Pandey was dropped from the side after consistently failing to press the pace while batting at No. 3.
Pandey, playing at No. 3 in the absence of Kane Williamson, failed to accrue any sort of momentum in his innings. With a strike rate of 112.22, he put immense pressure on the other batsmen in the SRH batting lineup in each of the team's three defeats.
Pandey remained unbeaten in an unsuccessful run-chase, and played careless shots to get out in two other chases. Now out of a central contract with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the 31-year-old has his international career hanging in the balance ahead of next year's mega-auction.
Pandey will probably make his way back into the SRH playing XI at some point in IPL 2021, and he must make the most of the opportunities he gets.
#2 Ravichandran Ashwin - 1 wicket in IPL 2021
Ravichandran Ashwin's red-ball heroics and India's troubles with spinners in T20I cricket prompted a section of the cricketing fraternity to call for the senior off-spinner to be recalled to the 20-over setup.
Ahead of the start of IPL 2021, it seemed like a good tournament with the Delhi Capitals would make Ashwin one of the front-runners to get a call from the selectors. But four games in, he has only 1 wicket to show for and has conceded runs at an economy rate of 8.
DC have missed the services of Axar Patel, who is yet to recover fully after testing positive for COVID-19. Lalit Yadav has chipped in with a few tidy overs, while Amit Mishra made a mark in the previous game against the Mumbai Indians with a four-wicket haul.
But Ashwin has been distinctly average so far. Often bowling too many variations rather unnecessarily, the 34-year-old has been easily countered by opposition batsmen. Although DC are flying high with three wins in four IPL 2021 games, they need their lead spinner to come to the party at the earliest.
#1 Bhuvneshwar Kumar - 3 wickets in IPL 2021
The second SRH player to make this list, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has failed to build on the incredible form he showed for India in the recent white-ball series against England.
With only 3 wickets in 4 games at an economy rate of 9.06, Bhuvneshwar has failed to provide breakthroughs in the powerplay and has been expensive at the death as well. To make matters worse for the pacer, he suffered a thigh strain during SRH's previous game against the Punjab Kings and didn't complete his quota of four overs.
The Orange Army are without T Natarajan, who has been ruled out of IPL 2021 with a persistent knee issue. They have the resources to fill in for the left-arm pacer, but they need their talisman to be at his best.
Hopefully, Bhuvneshwar recovers from his niggle immediately and makes his case for a spot in the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.