Indian Premier League has been a platform on which many established players became legends over the years.
In the last decade, many Indian and foreign players have served the IPL teams will distinction and have created records that are the envy of many. Many other players’ careers got a second wind thanks to IPL and extended their international careers as well. Some players used their performances in IPL to make international comebacks.
However, as it is with time, form and age have deserted some of the players and we might not see them playing in the IPL next season.
Here are five such players who are probably playing their last season of Indian Premier League.
(All the stats are updated until May 4, 2018)
MITCHELL JOHNSON (KKR)
Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson was picked up by KKR in the IPL 2018 auction as a backup for Mitchell Starc. He wasn’t supposed to play many games, and despite injuries to Starc and Nagarkoti, Johnson has still played only 5 games for KKR this season, picking 2 wickets.
Johnson has played a total of 53 matches in IPL and taken 61 wickets with a best of 3/26 and he has his best seasons with 24 and 17 wickets in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Johnson has shown that the pace is still there, but since retiring from the international cricket in 2015, his only exploits in cricket have been in Big Bash League, and there too, his performances have only dropped and wickets have dried. He has not had the same impact that was expected of him in IPL 2018 and given his performance; we might have seen the last of Mitch Johnson in IPL for the last time.
HARBHAJAN SINGH (CSK)
Harbhajan Singh has had a stellar career in Indian Premier League so far with 131 wickets from 143 matches with a best of 5/18 and an economy of 6.97. Before being bought by Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2018 auction, Harbhajan had spent a decade playing for Mumbai Indians.
A veteran of 103 Tests and 236 ODIs, Harbhajan has been part of two World Cup winning teams in WT20 in 2007 and ICC World Cup in 2011. He has 417 wickets in Tests and 269 wickets in ODIs, a record that makes him one of the best off-spinners ever to play the game.
However, Harbhajan last played for India in 2016 in a T20I, and since then, the 37-year-old has struggled to make a comeback into the Indian team and has seldom played in domestic cricket. This year too, he has 4 wickets in 7 matches for CSK in IPL 2018, a performance that displayed though the guile and experience are keeping him afloat, the wickets have dried up for the off-spinner and time has come for him to hang up his boots.
BRENDON McCULLUM (RCB)
New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum lighted up the Indian Premier League on its first night ever, with a then-record 158* for KKR against RCB in 2008. The 36-year-old opening batsman changed the way openers batted in the power plays in T20 cricket and along with Chris Gayle, is regarded as one of the greatest T20 players of all time.
The only Kiwi batsman to score a Test triple hundred, McCullum has scored 9114 runs in 334 T20 matches with a best of 158* and 7 centuries with a strike rate of 137.79. In the IPL, McCullum has scored 2876 runs in 108 matches with 2 centuries at a strike rate of 131.56 and 130 sixes to his name.
McCullum has however struggled to score runs consistently in all the T20 leagues he has played in recently. He even had to let go of the captaincy of Qalandars in the PSL 2018 season due to his poor form, resulting in losses for the team.
And, the time has come for the basher to hang up his gloves for good, as he is playing on reputation alone since the form has deserted him long ago.
GAUTAM GAMBHIR (DD)
Gautam Gambhir has had a stellar career in IPL for someone who is not known for hitting huge sixes of playing quickly. He is amongst the top 5 highest run-getter in IPL with 4217 runs in 154 matches with 36 fifties and a best of 93m a strike rate of 123.88.
He is a handy opener, but more so, an inspirational leader in IPL, leading Delhi Daredevils in two different stints and leading Kolkata Knight Riders to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014, turning the fortunes of the franchise.
He was bought by Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2018 auction amidst much fun fare and nostalgia. But all the bubbles of hopes for DD were burst as Gambhir managed just 85 runs in first 6 matches including a fifty. Delhi managed to win just one match out of first six matches in which Gambhir led and this led to Gambhir leaving the captaincy and also stepping down from the playing XI.
This has been a sad end for Gambhir, as his replacement, Shreyas Iyer has led DD with gusto and DD have won more matches under Iyer and are in contention for a top-four finish.
Gambhir had hoped for a fairytale return to his home franchise and ending the season on a high, but it has all gone wrong for the former India opener and given his lack of form and the fact that he is no longer in contention for Indian team, we may have seen the last of the man, who played memorable innings in finals of India’s two World Cup wins in WT20 in 2007 and World Cup in 2011.
YUVRAJ SINGH (KXIP)
One of the most charismatic batsmen in limited overs cricket in the world, Yuvraj Singh has always played an exciting brand of cricket. He was the most expensive player sold in IPL auction for two straight years in IPL 2014 and IPL 2015.
So far, Yuvraj has scored 2637 runs in 126 IPL matches with 12 fifties and strike rate of 130.02. His best season was IPL 2014 with 376 runs for RCB. But for some reason, Yuvraj’s IPL career has been lackluster to say the least. He has never set the IPL stage on fire, as was expected from a player of his caliber.
He has seemed out of touch whenever he has played in IPL and it was evident in his price at which he was bought by KXIP in the auction. From once being the most expensive player in the auction twice, Yuvraj was bought by KXIP in IPL 2018 auction from a single bid for his base price.
He has played 6 games so far, scoring 50 runs and seemingly the writing is on the wall for Yuvraj Singh, who has battled cancer and form to make comebacks after comeback into the Indian team, that his career has come to an end, despite him stating that he wants to play until 2019 before considering retirement.