The Three Biggest IPL Underperformers

Every year there are some players who do not quite live up to their expectations in the IPL. Indeed, the tenth season of IPL has already provided some thrills and stunning performances, yet there have been some players who have failed to really get going. This article looks at three players who have not reached their potential so far.

Ajinkya Rahane
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Indian international Ajinkya Rahane found form in India’s recent Test series against Australia, after looking abysmal against England. However, Rahane has not been able to maintain his form but has failed to deliver in this year’s IPL so far. At the time of writing, the Rising Pune Supergiant opener has played seven matches and only managed 159 runs. His top score of 60 came in his first match, as he gave Pune a strong platform to go on to beat Mumbai. Yet, since that game Rahane has been averaging a feeble 16.5 and hasn’t crossed the fifty mark again.

Another concern for Rahane has been his particularly low strike rate. Ajinkya has been scoring at a rate of around 127, which is the lowest out of any of the top 25 run scorers. He has been taking time to get set, but has failed to press on and convert these beginnings to fifties and larger scores. This will be a major concern for the Rising Pune Supergiant, and while they will be extremely reluctant to drop Rahane, there is a slight chance that they may give another opener a chance later in the competition.

Shane Watson
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Australian all-rounder Shane Watson has featured in most seasons of the IPL, with his ability to both bat and bowl well making him a very attractive player. At the start of the season, when Virat Kohli was ruled out with injury, Watson was chosen as the replacement captain for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Many fans thought this would be a good move, with Watson usually being a very consistent player. This has not been the case this year. Watson has looked completely out of sorts, failing repeatedly with the bat and leaking runs with the ball. When AB de Villiers returned from injury, Shane Watson found himself axed from the first choice starting XI having played only five matches.

In these five matches Watson made very little impact with the bat, struggling to a total of 61 runs at an average of just over 15. Last year Watson’s batting was equally weak, as he scored 179 runs in 16 games averaging a similar amount. Yet, in 2016 it was his bowling that kept him in the side, but he has failed to be effective with the ball this year. Watson only managed to take to two wickets in five matches. He has also been extremely expensive, with his economy of over 10.5 being one of the worst in the competition. It has been an extremely poor run of form from Watson and it is unlikely he will have much of a chance to rectify it in the remainder of the season.

Dhawal Kulkarni
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The Gujarat Lions side is weighted extremely strongly towards their batting, with all four of their overseas players typically being batsmen. This, though, paved the way for an all-Indian pace attack which at the start of the season was thought to be led by Dhawal Kulkarni and Praveen Kumar. Medium pacer Kulkarni had a prolific season last year, in which he claimed 18 wickets, the highest for the Gujarat Lions. Moreover, his economy rate of around 7.4 was a key part to Gujarat’s successes as he was very efficient in limiting teams to modest totals.

This season has been a completely different story. Kulkarni has just taken one wicket in the season so far, when Kohli holed out to long on off his bowling. While he hasn’t been a strike bowler, he has lost the ability to bowl economically as he has conceded a remarkable 119 runs in the four matches he’s played. Overall his economy this season has been just short of 11, which when compared with his IPL career economy rate of 8 is appalling. This has been a huge disappointment for not only his fans, but for Gujarat who now have statically the worst bowling attack in the tournament.