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IPL ’22 not so good for WI players

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THE 2022 EDITION of the Indian Premier League (IPL), a league in which Caribbean players have been very successful over the years, has not been as rewarding, apart from fees, for the 17 players from the region contracted to participate. Just over half of their number actually played in more than half of the 14 matches played by each team.

Best performers from the region were the aggressive Andre Russell, whose fitness held up allowing him to have an injury-free campaign. As a result, he excelled with both bat and ball, emerging as the outstanding all-rounder in the tournament, with 335 runs at a strike rate of 174 and 17 wickets, best in both categories for the Caribbean players. His efforts were not enough to get his Kolkata Knight Riders, a traditional powerhouse in the IPL, to reach the final four stage.

Recently appointed West Indies white-ball captain, Nicholas Pooran, scored 306 runs at a strike rate of 144, second best to Russell in runs scored by Caribbean batsmen. Unfortunately, his team, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, did not make the final four either.

However, the performances of two of the Caribbean stars, with bat and ball, played a significant part in their team, the Rajasthan Royals, not only making the final four but emerging in the No.2 spot, ensuring at least two attempts to reach the finals. Vincentians will beam with pride as left-armer Obed McCoy, though playing in only 4 matches, acquitted himself well and played a key role in two of his team’s victories, earning rave reviews. In the batting department, Shimron Hetmeyer overcame the problems which have kept him out of the West Indies team, and his 297 runs at an average of 59 and a strike rate of 163 were instrumental in the Royals’ success.

Two other players from the Caribbean will also appear in the playoffs this week. Former skipper, Jason Holder was prominent in his team’s (Lucknow Super Giants) third-place finish, bagging 14 wickets with an economy rate of 9.4, while fellow-pacer Alzarri Joseph contributed towards the success of the No 1 team, Gujarat Titans, delivering some express deliveries, topping the 150kph mark on occasions. The Titans are now through to Sunday’s final.

A third player, Sherfane Rutherford, could count himself unlucky to be part of a strong Royal Challengers line-up including Virat Kohli, Faf du Plessis, Glen Maxwell and Dinesh Karthik which kept him on the substitutes benches, but he will be delighted to at least be in a contending team.

Of note is the recurring manifestation of once mystery spinner, Sunil Narine, in decline as a strike bowler. His 14 spells brought him only 9 wickets, But he was as miserly as ever topping the bowling economy rate table at 5.57 per over.

Of the others, Lewis, Shepherd and Odean Smith had limited appearances, while Dominic Drakes and Kyle Mayers saw no action. It is to be hoped that satisfaction would be not only in the fees received by our players, but in what they would have learnt from the world’s leading T/20 tournament.