Each team in the IPL played a minimum of 14 matches over a period of three months and everyone was equipped with experienced starters, in-form players, and few wild cards. After these categories come the fringe players, the ones despite being proven performers, are unable to find a place in the playing XI. There is the case David Warner who was sidelined because of his form, while a quality player like Quinton de Kock had to be benched to give others a chance while some were sidelined due to fitness issues. There are always questions about why certain players are not playing, but sometimes these players do not even get a single game even when there's nothing to lose. We take a look at the unused XI from IPL 2021.
N. Jagadeesan: It’s a testament to CSK’s squad depth that an India probable like Jagadeesan had to sit out for the entire season. The keeper-batter is already an established name within the state team and has played for CSK previously. He is still a bright prospect for the future, probably the successor to MS Dhoni behind the wickets in the near future.
Aditya Tare: Tare’s best moment in the Mumbai shirt came when he hit a six off his first ball in IPL 2014 against Rajasthan Royals to power his team to the playoffs. After playing 14 matches in that year, Tare's appearances fell and he never made it to the playing XI since 2018. The emergence of Quinton de Kock and Ishan Kishan and Mumbai’s star-studded middle-order meant he was just present in the team roster.
Karun Nair: After being sold for his base price of Rs 50 lakh, Karun Nair was unable to find a place in KKR’s playing XI for a number of reasons. He came off a lackluster domestic season for Karnataka in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he scored 93 runs from six matches. The management kept their faith in Nitish Rana to deliver which paid off quite well, while the cemented positions for Sunil Narine, captain Eoin Morgan, and Andre Russell in the middle order meant Nair was out of contention.
Sam Billings: After looking at his superb performances in the Hundred and Vitality Blast, Sam Billings was expected to feature in Delhi Capitals' squad, especially ahead of Steve Smith. However, the England international was unable to find a way through to the four overseas spots with DC fixated on Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada, Shimron Hetmyer and Steve Smith for the majority of the UAE leg.
Shreevats Goswami: Assured, if not spectacular, performances from Wriddhiman Saha in the opening role meant Shreevats Goswami was going to stay away from playing XI. Goswami had a decent 2021 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy where he scored 158 runs from five innings. However, the team management decided against playing Goswami despite being out of playoffs race and their bottom place confirmed, which could be a lack of mistrust in the Bengal batter.
Hari Nishaanth: The year 2021 has been a great one for Hari Nishaanth. The 25-year old finished as the top scorer of Tamil Nadu Premier League with 368 runs and scored 246 runs for the state in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. CSK went for the talented left-hander in the 2021 auctions and despite not playing a single game for the entire season, he holds a lot of promise for the future of the franchise.
Mitchell Santner: Santner had too much competition among a team of eventual champions. Moeen Ali and Ravindra Jadeja for the role of a spin-bowling all-rounder, the experience of Dwayne Bravo and the form of Sam Curran for the all-rounder spot, and the consistency of Faf du Plessis for the overseas spot. However, the New Zealand southpaw will be content with the IPL trophy in his kitty.
Oshane Thomas: Over the past few years, Oshane Thomas has built a reputation as a connoisseur of the slow ball which has consistently fetched him wickets, including five from four matches in IPL 2020. The performances from last season and a decent season with Barbados Royals in CPL 2021, earned him a call-up from Rajasthan Royals for the UAE leg. The left-armer was unable to pip another slow-ball expert Mustafizur Rahman in their lineup. Including him in the playing XI would have been an overload of the same skillset, but could've been helpful on a track like Sharjah where they played their crucial last two group games.
Umesh Yadav: Despite being a consistent performer on the international front and 119 wickets to his name in the IPL, Umesh Yadav’s prominence has somehow escaped the minds of many. After playing just two games for RCB last season, Yadav returned to the Delhi dressing room among familiar faces. However, the lethal combination of Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, and Kagiso Rabada worked so well, that the team couldn’t fit in the 33-year old.
Basil Thampi: Ever since arriving at SRH in 2017 where he claimed 11 wickets in 12 innings, Thampi’s IPL career nosedived with every passing season. After being used sparingly in 2018 and 2019, the Kerala speedster played just a single match last season and was kept out of the playing XI for the entirety 2021 edition. After a torrid season for the team and for himself, Thampi is most likely to find a new team in the next season.
Dushmantha Chameera: The Sri Lankan pacer has been in sensational form since the beginning of the year, claiming 15 T20I wickets from 12 matches at an economy of 6.5. RCB quickly made a move for him as a replacement for Daniel Sams for the second leg. However, with Virat Kohli going for a fixed combination of Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj and George Garton meant Chameera never got a chance to play an IPL match.