A wise man once said that the first round of no IPL season can be rendered complete without there being a certified ‘Flop XI’ so yes, here we are. We thought and thought, and after 46 days and 56 games, we finally zeroed in on the XI filled with usual suspects and a few catapulting debutants.
Aaron Finch - 236 runs in 11 innings @ average of 21.45 and SR of 111.84
Legend has it that Finch has registered more ‘walks’ than 'talks' this season. The Royal Challengers purchased him for INR 4.4 cr in the hope that the monstrous Finch of T20Is would turn up but what they instead got was a Chris Pratt with the bat. We could live with that average of 21.45, but a SR of 111? Come on Finchy.
Prithvi Shaw - 228 runs in 12 innings @ average of 19 and SR of 138.18
Prithvi Shaw found a solution to mask his receding hairline by shaving his head off, but unfortunately, he had no such luck when it came to fixing his receding form. There was Shaw, there were a lot of shanks but there was no redemption. After a bright start, the 20-year-old ended the group stages with scores of 9, 10, 7, 0, 0, 4 and 19 to firmly fix his place in our Flop XI.
Glenn Maxwell - 108 runs in 11 innings @ average of 15.42 and SR of 101.88
Sorry Maxi, we, unfortunately, will not be displaying your numbers with the ball; you were not purchased for INR10.50 cr for that. So bad was your season with the bat that we could not even find your name in the first page of ESPNCricinfo’s ‘Most Runs’ section. What can we say? A Finch-esque season with numbers twice as bad. And oh, no sixes in 106 balls. We know you’re going to add insult to injury by winning the ‘Man of the Series’ award versus India but thank you for volunteering to get into our Flop XI.
You’re looking at these numbers and going ‘Come on, they’re not bad’. We agree. They’re not bad. Relatively speaking, however, 2020 has been the nether of Pant’s IPL career. Contrary to what Rahul believes, Strike Rate does matter, and this 112.35 number of Pant - Delhi’s backbone; floater, finisher and dasher - is a catastrophe. He has ‘barely’ managed to time a ball and the boy has genuinely looked like he’s forgotten how to bat.
Kedar Jadhav - 62 runs in 5 innings @ average 20.66 and SR 93.33
We’ll be honest, we have a soft corner for Jadhav. The poor guy has received way too much flak and was utilized by the CSK management in the worst manner imaginable. That said, for someone with 82 international caps, Jadhav’s performance was inexcusable. You simply cannot be striking at under 100 batting in the middle-order and mind you, this is the second consecutive season where he’s done so. Kris Srikanth would perhaps give a better description of his season.
Riyan Parag - 86 runs in 8 innings @ average 12.28 and SR 111.68
That six over extra-cover off Khaleel Ahmed was beautiful. And so was the dance which followed it. But……...that is it. That is the summary of Riyan Parag’s entire IPL 2020. He came in with so much hype but he hardly ever made you feel that he would make a difference. Also, what happened to your wrist-spinners, Riyan? Just 2 overs? We all did see you as an all-round prospect but you turned out to be just a gamer (not baller).
Andre Russell - 117 runs in 9 innings @ average 13 and SR 144.4
Finch and Maxwell have kinda been perennial flops in the IPL for years now, but Dre-Russ? Oh, we weren’t ready for this kind of a season. A total of 9 sixes and zero match-turning performances from someone considered the MVP of the entire competition? That is a bummer. KKR gave what you wanted, Dre - batting higher - and you did not repay the faith, at all. DK’s captaincy didn’t die for this. Not cool. Not cool at all.
The Wicket-keeper and Captain
MS Dhoni - 200 runs in 12 innings @ 25.00 and SR of 116.27
MS got us, MS got us all. For weeks after his retirement, we were all heart-shattered and were keen to revel in his presence and bask in his glory, but inside a couple of weeks, he made us not want to see him ever again on a cricket field. Worse yet, we will now have to see him turn up in the IPL for at least one more season. Wise to pre-book a seat for him in the Flop XI of IPL 2021? His batting and his decision making this season tell us, “go for it”.
Shreyas Gopal - 10 wickets in 14 innings @ average of 42.70 and ER of 8.54
It was indeed a bit crushing to watch Shreyas Gopal bowl this season. In a year where leggies were genuinely worth their weight in gold, Gopal looked like a rookie in a room full of connoisseurs. There was no turn, grip, bite or deception in his deliveries and for a vast majority of the season, the 27-year-old looked like a net bowler who was given a run in the team to do right by the ‘match-ups’.
Ankit Rajpoot - 2 wickets in 6 innings @ average of 99.50 and SR of 11.70
Well, the numbers tell us everything we need to know, don’t they? For starters, these figures are inexcusable but they are preposterous when you take into account the fact that Rajpoot almost always came into bowl on the back of a two or three-run Jofra Archer first over. The Rajasthan management were perhaps expecting to inherit the Rajpoot of 2018 who took one of the finest five-wicket hauls in IPL history but what they instead got was a confidence-less, inaccurate trundler who’d seemed to have lost a good 5-8 clicks of pace.
Navdeep Saini - 6 wickets in 12 innings @ average 58 and ER 8.28
The second-season-syndrome has hit Saini and hit him badly. He put up a fine display against SRH in the first game and he - aided by some bad batting - held his nerve and took RCB over the line in the Super Over but that’s about it. From Saini this season, there has been way more bad than good. He has shown the tendency to crumble when put under pressure, he’s displayed a serious lack of intelligence as a seamer and he’s gone from an “ooh, we gotta be careful with him” to a “let’s target him” bowler. His tally of 6 wickets in 12 games is something bettered by Marcus Stoinis, of all people. Nothing to add, really.
SportsCafe’s Flop XI of the group stages
Aaron Finch, Prithvi Shaw, Glenn Maxwell, Rishabh Pant, Kedar Jadhav, Andre Russell, MS Dhoni (c and wk) Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Navdeep Saini.