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SportsCafe's 'stat-padding' XI of IPL 2020 ft. Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and MS Dhoni

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MS Dhoni is the captain of the stat-padding XI


SportsCafe's 'stat-padding' XI of IPL 2020 ft. Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and MS Dhoni

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Deepak Yadav


Now that the glitz and glamour of the IPL is finally over, let’s take a look at the performances of players, particularly the ones who have performed well on paper but in reality, haven’t delivered the quality that their numbers express. Because, as they say, numbers do lie sometimes.

Stat-padding XI of IPL 2020

Shubman Gill - He’s got the class, he’s got the technique, he’s got the temperament, he’s got the backing of his team and he had the experience of playing in the previous seasons as well. But in spite of all this, Gill failed to make an impact this season. His numbers look great, 440 runs @ 33.85 average, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In half the matches, he played at a strike rate of less than 120, which is a bare minimum. He lacked intent in his gameplay, which meant that KKR were rarely off to a good start, and when they were, it wasn’t because of Gill. It might be the case that it was a team strategy to assign him that role and he completely justified his role, but certainly, it wasn’t beneficial for the team, and if I were a young player like him, I would want to make my mark my taking my team to wins and not have a strike rate of 117.96.

Virat Kohli - Surprised? Of course, we all saw his 90* against CSK, where he clinically took RCB to victory, but apart from that he has done more harm than good by scoring runs for his team. 466 runs in 15 matches certainly seems like an impressive campaign from the skipper, but in reality, all he did was stat-pad by scoring at a strike rate of less than 120 on 10 of those occasions with a season strike rate of 121.35. Certainly doesn’t seem like good now do they? He consistently put his team under pressure by not scoring runs quickly, which meant that there was huge pressure on the lower order to take the team to a decent total. 

Manish Pandey - Again, there was the unbeaten 83 against Rajasthan, but what about other knocks? Pandey was a proper stat-padder playing at number 3, failing to score over 120 SR or over 10 runs in 7 of the 15 innings he played this season. It did feel like he was timing the ball well and was contributing to the team’s victories, but all he did was inflated his average. Having scored 425 runs at a SR of 127.63, we had to dig a little to find out that less than 50% of his runs came in winning causes, where the only significant ones were 83* and 44*. This is not the kind of performance you expect from a seasoned Indian player. Not surprisingly, Hyderabad had to rely on their openers to rescue them all the time.  

Shreyas Iyer - The ‘magical’ captain, who led his team from the front taking them to the finals, scoring over 519 runs @123.28 SR in IPL 2020. Again, some really good numbers, but a little peek at his knocks this season shows that he has struggled to score over 120 SR on 9 of the 17 occasions. He scored only 290 runs in winnings causes and out of those majority of runs came from his brilliant innings against Kolkata, where he scored 88* of 38 balls. In fact, the innings against KKR is the only reason his SR isn’t below 120. This is not the Shreyas Iyer we know and certainly Delhi would have been much better if their captain played much more impactfully rather than inflating his own statistics. 

Rishabh Pant - Iyer’s partner in crime, Pant, played only one useful innings in the final, and rest all of his innings were anything but helpful for his team. He struggled the way he has never before with occasional aggressive shots here and there. I mean come on! He was supposed to be the one accelerating for the team but in complete contrast, he played at a strike rate of 113.95 in IPL 2020. If anything his 343 runs for Delhi were as useless as he has been when playing for the Indian team in the limited-overs format. He is the one player we didn’t even have to dig deeper to include him in the stat-padding XI as throughout the season, all his runs were not-so-useful and all he did was weaken the middle order of Delhi. 

Nitish Rana - In a turn of events, Rana along with his age had also hidden his skills this season as he failed to score over the SR of even 100 in 7 innings, which includes three ducks. But according to his season numbers, he seems to have a decent IPL with 352 runs @138.58 SR. Apart from 81, 87, and 58, two of which ended in losing causes, he failed to provide consistency batting at number 3. All his numbers are inflated by these three innings without which he would have looked like a failure on paper as well. Credits to KKR for giving a long rope to Rana but seems like they forgot it was a T20 tournament and not an ODI competition. He was supposed to be the dependable batsmen for the team, and he fulfilled that by consistently being bad at his job. 

MS Dhoni ( wk & c) - Isn’t it nice to see the former captain of Indian and the current captain of India on the same list? In 11 innings he got to bat for Chennai or rather was forced to bat for Chennai, he couldn’t score over the strike rate of 100 on 6 of those. None of his innings were useful when it came to the context of the game as all he did was increase his own runs at a pace that he liked. He is certainly the most deserving person to be on this list as he contributed to the team’s losses more than their rare victories. Remember the massive out of the park six at Sharjah? Yeah, that too came when they had lost the match. What’s the point of scoring runs at your own pace when the required rate is over 12 or even 15? It is painful to watch the last days of Dhoni's career unfold like this.  

Pat Cummins - The most expensive foreign player in IPL history tag had to be justified with above-par performances, but that was nowhere to be seen as Cummins struggled to fit in initially. But even once he did, he could deliver only two match-winning performances, where he took 3 wickets against and 4 wickets against Rajasthan and Delhi respectively, one of which was the wicket of Kagiso Rabada. Hence, if you look at it half of his wickets were inconsequential to match results. Way to prove the value for money. This was certainly not the Australian bowler who, in the recent past, has been on a purple patch, destroying opposition with his brilliant bowling. His numbers certainly don’t do justice to the kind of failure he has been on the field. 

Rahul Chahar - Having taken 15 wickets in 15 matches, he was one of the contenders to receive the emerging player award, but good that he was not given the award, or else it would have been rather controversial to keep such an awardee on this list. With the kind of attack Mumbai had, he was an almost-weak link in their setup, where opposition batsmen had no option but to target the leg-spinner. In all honesty, he did bowl well at times, but got freebie wickets many a time, making his numbers look much better than they actually should have been. Out of his 15 wickets only 4 seemed consequential to the outcome of the game as the rest of his wickets were either of out of form batsmen or of tailenders. He played a good supporting role to the fantastic Mumbai bowling lineup but to consider him as highly as his numbers demand would be an injustice. 

Khaleel Ahmed - 8 wickets in 7 matches - look quite decent for the young pacer but when it comes to seeing the quality of bowling and the quality of the wickets he has taken, he falls way below in the pecking order of quality pacers this season. He was anything but good this season, where he himself must be surprised with his numbers at the first glance. Only 3 out of his 8 wickets were of genuine top-order batsmen, making him the perfect tailender destroyer or rather stat-padder. This is not the kind of performance that is expected from an Indian team pacer, who promised a lot but failed to deliver on any of them. No wonder he sat out for more than half of the season. 

James Pattinson - Talk about benefitting from the deadly duo of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, Pattinson tops the list as bowling from the other end of the two bowlers, he got 11 wickets in 10 matches, which certainly do not make him a bad bowler by any stretch. In fact, these are some good numbers put up by him in his debut season. However, out of his 11 wickets only 4 were crucial to the context of matches, with the rest just inflating his numbers as they hardly mattered to the outcome of the game. We suspect anyone, even Ashok Dinda, would have performed well with such good support. Perhaps his ER of 9.01 is a giveaway that he wasn't thaaaat good.

Stat-Padding XI:- Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Nitish Rana, MS Dhoni (wk & c), Pat Cummins, Rahul Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, James Pattinson 

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