CLT20: Big boys missing the action
While star players from IPL and other T20 leagues battle it out in the Champions League T20, there are quite a few big names that the tournament will sorely miss this year.
As the world, or quite a few may argue that it's just hardly a few countries, gear up for the Champions League T20 in South Africa, one is sure to witness some of the craftiest cricketers on the prowl. Though heavily laden with IPL stars which give the tournament its tag of just being a by-product of the Indian gala, it also allows quite a few other players in world cricket to be under the spotlight.
Still, the main focus is always going be the IPL boys as stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Kevin Pietersen, Lasith Malinga, Virender Sehwag - among a host of others - take on each other in a battle of T20 supremacy.
But even as these big guns keep the fans glued, there are quite a few players, without whom T20 cricket seems incomplete, will not be in action in South Africa. And their absence from the CLT20 this year is surely going to be quite a dampener. Trust us, for these are no ordinary names.
All eyes were on Chris Gayle to be the man for West Indies, and probably that was the biggest mistake Sri Lanka had made too. But cricket history was to have Marlon Samuels' name for that particular night when he struck 39 runs in 11 balls off arguably the most difficult fast bowler in death overs, Lasith Malinga, to power his team to the World T20 title. But with his IPL team Pune Warriors failing to make the cut, CLT20 will sorely miss this man in action. Â
With the purple patch he's going through, Virat Kohli is one boy who can do no wrong now. And, not only that, everything he touches will be gold. But, Indian cricket's latest pin-up boy will be missing the action in South Africa as Royal Challengers Bangalore didn't make the cut for CLT20.
Not every batsman in world cricket gets a shot coined after him. But with Royal Challengers Bangalore out of the action this year, Tillakaratne Dilshan can only nurse his World T20 scars while T20 lovers are left to miss his Dil-Scoop.
Another Rajasthan Royals boy, Ajinkya Rahane was their batting mainstay in the IPL 2012. The fourth highest run-getter of the season, he had finished the showpiece event with 560 runs. But, with his team not being there in CLT20, Rahane will be missed.
The Sri Lankan all-rounder played a pivotal role in his team's great show in the World T20. But with Pune Warriors failing to qualify after a dismal season in IPL, Angelo Mathews will have to sit at home and watch the others run around in South Africa.
With over 2700 runs in T20 cricket at a strike rate of nearly 149, Luke Wright is one of the best bet England has in the shortest format. But, neither his home team Sussex, nor the IPL team Pune Warriors have made it to this year's CLT20.
The ICC cricketer of the year, Kumar Sangakkara will not feature in South Africa this time as his IPL team Deccan Chargers haven't made the cut. Well, as for the moment, more than qualifying for the CLT20, DC is busy trying to remain in the IPL itself!
With 569 runs, he was the third highest run-getter in the IPL 2012, quite in contrast to his team's utterly disappointing show in the tournament. But then, he is a Deccan Chargers player, and can only watch all the action from distance this year.
The former Aussie T20 skipper, this Deccan Chargers all-rounder was the sixth highest scorer in IPL 2012. He had accumulated 479 runs at a strike rate of nearly 150. But, like Dhawan and Sangakkara, this quality T20 player will also be missed in the CLT20.
The former Kolkata Knight Riders man, the Aussie had joined Kings XI Punjab in the 2012 edition of IPL. A dependable run-getter, handy bowler and an outstanding fielder, David Hussey's chances of being in the CLT20 went down with KIXP's poor 2012 season.
With 19 wickets each, Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar were the joint fourth highest wicket takers in IPL 2012. While the former will be seen in Delhi Daredevils squad, Vinay will have to cool his heels back home as his other Royal Challengers Bangalore colleagues.
Well, well. Need we say anything more? A Twenty20 festival without Chris Gayle - how bad can it be! With Royal Challengers Bangalore not qualifying for the CLT20, the biggest loss to the tournament has been this big man's absence.
Now, how interesting the Champions League T20 will be without these prolific game-changers will only be answered over the next couple of weeks. But, one thing is for sure -- that it will definitely not be what it could have been if these boys were there!