CLT20 2013: Top-10 players who will be missed
Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Aaron Finch and Lasith Malinga are expected to be missed the most during the fifth edition of the Champions League T20.
Some of the most entertaining players will miss out this edition of the Champions League as their teams have not qualified or they are not in the squad. Here is a look at the top-10 'unlucky' players.
Chris Gayle: It's sheer pity that the world's most destructive Twenty20 batsman is not part of the Champions League T20. His IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore failed to make the playoffs and his home team Jamaica Tallawahs are not the Caribbean entry this season. Despite scoring over 700 runs for the second time in a row in a single IPL edition, Gayle failed to take Virat Kohli and his red- and-gold brigade into the cash-rich continental championship. Interestingly, Gayle wasn't at his explosive best back home during the inaugural Caribbean Premier League, scoring 234 runs in 9 matches at an unusually low strike-rate of 105 for the eventual winners Jamaica. The burly left-hander will surely be missed!
David Warner: If Gayle's absence takes the sheen out of CLT20, David Warner's failure to be part of qualifying team is quite unexpected. Warner has been the tournament's highest run getter, with 556 runs in 13 games at an average of 55.60 and a strike rate of 156. In one of the two editions he played for the New South Wales, Warner was in top form during the 2011 CLT20, hammering 2 hundreds, each against Chennai (135*) and Bangalore (123* in a losing cause). Warner's IPL side Delhi Daredevils struggled to avoid the wooden spoon this season, so his chances from playing from there were knocked out. Warner plays for the Sydney Thunder team in the Australian T20 Big Bash League, but his side failed to reach the finals of the 2012-13 edition.
Virender Sehwag: Warner's Delhi Daredevils teammate Virender Sehwag too misses out. Sehwag's form like his team did not hit the right notes in the 2013 IPL where he struggled to score 295 runs in 13 games, barring a 95 against the Mumbai Indians at Delhi. Sehwag's followers had been frustrated with his failing footwork and lackadaisical approach to fielding as he fell out of Indian selector's scheme of things when he was overlooked for the 2013 Champions Trophy. But the true Sehwag fan shall always pay a fortune to go and watch him play at his best.
Virat Kohli:Sehwag's Ranji teammate and Indian cricket's rising superstar Virat Kohli will not be seen during the CLT20. Kohli's only failure this entire year has probably been his inability to take the Royal Challengers Bangalore through to the last-4 of the 2013 Indian Premier League. If the matter of sheer numbers, ability and talent goes, it is quite surprising that India's best-ranked batsman in ODIs (4th) and T20Is (6th) is not playing the continental T20 event. Kohli extended his international batting exploits into IPL this year, by registering a personal season best of 634 runs in 16 matches with 6 fifties including two scores in the 90s. To go with it an average of 45 and a strike-rate of 139, Kohli was in a zone of his own. Perhaps his oppositions in the IPL were far superior from the ones he faced in Zimbabwe in July earlier this year. For the record, the 24-year-old strokeplayer is the most successful Indian batsman in CLT20 history - 424 runs in 15 matches, 39.54 average, 150 strike-rate and two fifties.
Ricky Ponting: The curious case of Ricky Ponting! The former Australia skipper, who retired from Test cricket late last year, tried his hand at professional T20 in 2013 and failed quite miserably. Ponting has been quite hesitant in playing T20s outside Australian Big Bash previously and understandably so. If you remove his international t20 record, what is left is not worth to be written alongside one of the most dominating batsmen international cricket has seen over the past decade. Ponting, who was named Mumbai Indians captain ahead of the IPL, amassed 52 runs in 5 innings for this year. He went and signed with Antigua Hawksbills to play in the inaugural edition of the Caribbean Premier League last month but his numbers didn't improve - 41 runs in 4 innings out of 7 matches. Ponting announced after the IPL that this year's Champions League will be his last professional tournament, playing for Mumbai. The IPL champion team instead did not include Ponting's name in the team for 2013 CLT20 and named Rohit Sharma the captain. Indeed, a sad end to a glittering career.
Lasith Malinga - Lasith Malinga not playing the CLT20 does make a big dent in the tournament's oomph factor. Malinga opted out of the event due to family reasons as he expects his second child late in September. Not just the CLT20, Malinga will not be part of next month's tour of Zimbabwe for the same reason. The slinging fast bowler from Sri Lanka leads the bowling charts in the 4-year history of CLT20. He has 24 wickets from 14 games at an astounding bowling average of 13. Malinga, during the IPL, became the first bowler in the tournament's history to notch up 100 wickets. His tow-crushing yorkers, deceptive slower balls and bouncers will be missed and Mumbai Indians will have a huge hole to fill in his absence.
Aaron Finch - Yes, international cricket's latest overnight T20 star Aaron Finch is not part of any Champions League team. His IPL side Pune Warriors India ended last and his home team Down Under, Melbourne Renegades, did not finish in the top-2. The burly right-handed opener almost single-handedly took Australia to their first win in international cricket after 200 days when he hammered a whirlwind 156 from just 63 balls against England in a T20I - the format's best individual score in international cricket. Finch followed up that record knock with a 148 against Scotland in an ODI earlier this month. Blessed with brute force and strong front hand while batting Finch can decimate any bowling attack and it will be a pity that Pune's lone bright spot with the bat this season will not be visible in CLT20. For the record, in 4 CLT20 games in 2010, Finch hit a whopping 197 runs for the Victoria Bushrangers with a best of unbeaten 93.
Brett Lee -The Australian fast-bowling superstar got the Indian Premier League off to a rollicking start this year by picking up a wicket off the first ball of the tournament. He does still hit the mid-140 kmph mark but did not derive the success in the little T20 he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders and last CLT20 winners Sydney Sixers. Brett Lee could only take 4 wickets in 8 games for the Sixers last season of the Big Bash and struck 4 times in the three matches he played for KKR in 2013. The retired 36-year-old has a decent record in CLT20 - 16 wickets in 15 matches at a tremendous economy rate of 5.71.
Jacques Kallis - One of the most dependable operators with both bat and ball in international cricket, Jacques Kallis misses out on playing the CLT20 this season. Perhaps the only signs that the 37-year-old veteran all-rounder was ageing were seen in the IPL this season, where he scored 311 runs in 16 games for the Kolkata Knight Riders at a lowly strike-rate of 95. However, Kallis was KKR's second best bowler after Sunil Narine, picking up 16 wickets at an economy of less than 7.50. In the Champions League T20 though, the player with more than 25000 international runs and over 550 wickets has been a consistent contributor. Playing for CB and KKR, Kallis has 380 CLT20 runs from 14 games at an average of 54.28 and three fifites to his name. Along with that, he also has 13 wickets in the tournament.
Doug Bollinger - Australia's left-arm fast bowler might have been away from the national side for quite some time, but it looks as if there are no takers for Doug Bollinger. With a base price of USD 200,000 Bollinger went unsold in this year's auction. One of the few players to have played all the editions of the Champions League T20, Bollinger is the third-highest wicket-taker in Champions League history, scalping 22 wickets in 20 games. The 32-year-old played a vital role in title triumphs of New South Wales in 2009 and Chennai Super Kings in 2010.