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The Forgotten Foreign XI of the IPL

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IPL_Forgotten_Foreign_players_CricketThe Indian Premier League is a hotbed of power-packed performances from the world’s finest limited-overs cricketers. While unearthing new Indian talent is unquestionably an objective of the IPL, it is the foreign players who have played a major role in making the league one of the hottest properties in sport. Indeed, it is impossible to imagine the IPL without the breathtaking pyrotechnics of an A.B. de Villiers or the relentless sledgehammering of a Chris Gayle.

In fact, many overseas players have established themselves into the consciousness of India’s cricket-mad public to such an extent that they now enjoy more support in India than back home. Even lesser lights have had their chance to shine in front of packed houses, whether they grabbed it or not is a different story. As the IPL completes a decade, here is a look back at eleven such forgotten foreigners who played in no more than one season. How many of them can you recall?

Adrian Barath (Kings XI Punjab, 2010)

Having earned international recognition following a spunky hundred on Test debut at the Gabba in November 2009, the 19-year-old Barath was pouched by Kings XI Punjab for $75,000 outside the auction. An opening batsman, the talented Trinidadian found it difficult to break into the packed Kings XI top order, what with the presence of Kumar Sangakkara, Yuvraj Singh, Ravi Bopara and Mahela Jayawardene. He played in three games, and opened only once, scoring 33.

Michael Klinger (Kochi Tuskers Kerala, 2011)

One of the two new franchises for the 2011 edition, Kochi Tuskers Kerala invested their faith in 30-year-old Klinger, a stalwart of the Australian domestic cricket scene, purchasing him for $75,000. He had an ordinary debut, getting out in the second over to Delhi Daredevils’ Morne Morkel for 2, as the Tuskers went down by 38 runs. He played in three further matches and finished with an average of 18.25. Like Klinger, the Tuskers too lasted for just the one season.

Morne van Wyk (Kolkata Knight Riders, 2009)

With the 2009 IPL shifted to South Africa at the last moment due to the Indian general election, it seemed that the Kolkata Knight Riders had a valuable local resource in the form of Morne van Wyk. He held the Knight Riders’ innings together on debut, scoring 43* in defeat to the Royal Challengers at Durban. His highest score of 74* also came in a losing cause, while opening the batting against the Daredevils at the same venue. He tallied a creditable 167 runs in five matches.

Dominic Thornely (Mumbai Indians, 2008)

New South Wales’ Thornely was part of the Mumbai Indians eleven in the franchise’s first IPL game, at home against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. He had an unfortunate outing, as he was forced to retire hurt for nought after receiving a nasty blow on the helmet from Zaheer Khan. He returned to field two weeks later, and struck an enterprising 30 from number three against the Daredevils, besides taking the key wicket of Virender Sehwag. He played six matches in all.

Travis Birt (Delhi Daredevils, 2011)

Birt’s aggressive batting for Tasmania in Australian domestic cricket, particularly in the T20 format, earned him a deal worth $20,000 with the Daredevils. The 29-year-old left-hander had a scratchy stay at the crease on his debut, at Delhi against the Knight Riders, scoring eight from number five in his team’s 17-run defeat. He gave a better account of his hitting prowess in the next few games, but his experience at the IPL totaled up to no more than five appearances.

Lee Carseldine (Rajasthan Royals, 2009)

In line with their policy of selecting unheralded specialist players, 2008 winners Rajasthan Royals netted Carseldine, a left-handed batsman from Queensland who also bowled medium pace, as one of the replacements for their Pakistani players, who were disallowed due to political reasons. He top-scored for the Royals on debut, with a vital 39 from number three against the Deccan Chargers at Port Elizabeth, but did not do much of note in his following five matches.

Graham Napier (Mumbai Indians, 2009)

Napier made headlines in the summer of 2008 with one of the most astonishing T20 innings. The Essex all-rounder blitzed 16 sixes in an unbeaten 58-ball 152 that buried Sussex at Chelmsford. Not surprisingly, IPL franchises took note of this effort, and come the 2009 edition, it was the Mumbai Indians who roped him in. He however made a solitary appearance for the Sachin Tendulkar-led outfit, scoring 15 and taking 1/27 against the Knight Riders at East London.

Tyron Henderson (Rajasthan Royals, 2009)

An intriguing selection at the 2009 edition was Henderson, for whom the Royals shelled out $650,000. A fast-bowling all-rounder who played in South Africa’s inaugural T20 international in 2006-07, Henderson had a reputation of being a consistent performer in the shortest format, both in South Africa and in English county cricket. He eventually played only two games – separated by a month – for the Royals, from which he scored eleven runs and took one wicket.

Johan van der Wath (Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2011)

An all-rounder suited to the T20 format, van der Wath was bought by the Royal Challengers for $50,000 at the 2011 auction. The 33-year-old had made his debut for South Africa back in 2005-06, and had performed well for the Knights at home and for Northamptonshire in England in the years leading up to his IPL entry. It was a short-lived affair though - he could muster only 18 runs and take three wickets, at a steep economy rate of 10.75, in the three matches he played.

Ashley Noffke (Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2008)

Noffke had a late entry into the Royal Challengers squad as a replacement for his fellow Australian Nathan Bracken, who was ruled out due to a knee injury. Noffke, a pace bowling all-rounder who made his debut for Australia in 2007-08, played in the first IPL match, at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. He returned figures of 1/40 and scored nine as his team was walloped by the Knight Riders by 140 runs. This was the only IPL game he ever played.

Dillon du Preez (Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2009)

A rising 27-year-old South African fast bowler who had starred for the Eagles on the domestic circuit in the preceding couple of years, du Preez was signed up by the Royal Challengers with a view to bolster their pace attack. In his first match, against the Mumbai Indians at Johannesburg, he collected 3/32 in a winning cause, including the prized scalp of Sachin Tendulkar. He played only once thereafter, taking 1/24 against the Rajasthan Royals at Centurion four days later.

 

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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