In this new beginning, a few IPL legends will not be a part of the world’s most popular cricket league for different reasons. Some have bid adieu to the game, some have opted out and some have been left behind in the ever progressing and extremely competitive T20 league. Whatever be the reasons for their absence, they have definitely left behind a great legacy in the league’s history.
TimesofIndia.com here highlights five such IPL veterans, who were almost synonymous with the league and gave fans a lot to cheer about over the last 14 editions. They are record breakers and trendsetters and will be missed by one and all when the action begins in Mumbai.
Teams: Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab Kings
‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle is widely regarded as one of the best T20 cricketers ever, and he has been an absolute star in the IPL too. Since joining IPL in the first edition with the Kolkata Knight Riders, Gayle has owned a foray of records in the league.
Known for his big six-hitting ability, he has smashed a record 357 sixes in 141 IPL innings – by far the most by a batter in the league. He also has the record of hitting most sixes in a single IPL innings, a record he notched up when he smacked 17 maximums enroute to a 175 not out for the Royal Challengers Bangalore against the now defunct Pune Warriors in 2013. The said score of 175*, off just 66 balls, remains the highest individual score in the league as well as in T20 cricket in general. That fateful day, Gayle also scored the fastest century in T20s, reaching the three-figure mark off just 30 balls. His penchant for big scores can be gauged from the fact that he also holds the record of most hundreds in the league – six, one ahead of Virat Kohli.
The 42-year old Gayle opted out of this year’s edition, after playing for Punjab Kings – his third team in the league, in the last edition. Last year, he played 10 games for Punjab, scoring 193 runs at 21.44 average and a strike rate of 125.32 with a best score of 46.
Overall the West Indian has a great IPL record and is at 7th in the all-time run-scorers list with 4965 runs @39.72 in 142 games. He has scored those runs at a strike rate of 148.96, hitting a record six hundreds and 31 fifties.
Chris Gayle IPL Record: M 142 | I 141 | R 4965 | Av. 39.72 | SR 148.96 | 6x100s | 31x50s | 357 sixes | 405 fours
AB de Villiers
Teams: Delhi Capitals, Royal Challengers Bangalore
‘Mr 360’ AB de Villiers is one of the most innovative batters of the game, capable of scoring runs all around the ground. He began his IPL journey with Delhi Daredevils (now rechristened Delhi Capitals) in the inaugural season in 2008 before joining Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011. De Villiers joined Virat Kohli in RCB and stitched a wonderful partnership on and off the field with the Indian star batter, which lasted till the South African announced his retirement from the game after the 2021 season.
A destructive batter, de Villiers is known for destroying the opponent’s bowling attack with an array of attacking shots and is one of only six players to have amassed more than 5000 runs in the IPL – 5162 runs in 170 innings at 39.70 average. He has the best strike rate among the top run-getters in the league (min. 2800 runs) – a whopping 151.68. He has hit 251 sixes in the league, second only to record setter Gayle’s 357. De Villiers has scored three hundreds in the IPL with a highest score of 133 not out.
In his last season in the league, the 38-year-old contributed 313 runs @31.30 in 14 innings for RCB which included two fifties.
In November last year, AB announced his retirement from all formats of the game, effectively ending his association with the IPL.
AB de Villiers IPL Record: M 184 | I 170 | R 5162 | Av. 39.70 | SR 151.68 | 3x100s | 40x50s | 251 sixes | 413 fours
Teams: Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions
IPL titles: 4 (CSK – 2010, 2011, 2018, 2021)
‘Mr IPL’ Suresh Raina is without a team for the first time since the league began. Raina, who played for Chennai Super Kings through his IPL career, barring the two years the team was banned for, was not retained by the franchise before the last mega auction and to everyone’s surprise went ‘unsold’ in the two-day bidding process.
The left-hander is 4th on the all-time list of highest run-getters in the league with 5528 runs at 32.51 average in 200 innings. Raina was the first batter to cross the 5000-run mark in IPL. He scored his runs at a good strike rate of 136.76 and notched up one hundred and 39 fifties. Raina is also 4th on the all-time list of most fours hit by a batter in the IPL, finding the fence 506 times to go with 203 sixes.
Raina, under circumstances which were never really explained in detail, returned from the UAE citing personal reasons in 2020 to miss the entire 13th edition for CSK. He returned to the ground in the last edition for the team though, but had a below-par outing for the eventual champions. The 35 year old left-hander scored just 160 runs in 11 innings, hitting just one fifty. And after a couple of years of alleged ‘cold’ relations with the four-time champions CSK, Raina was released to the auction pool.
Over the years Raina picked up the tag of ‘Mr IPL’ for being one of the most consistent players in the league, but this edition he will be seen holding the microphone in the commentary box instead of a bat in the middle of the ground.
Suresh Raina IPL Record: M 205 | I 200 | R 5528 | Av. 32.51 | SR 136.76 | 1x100s | 39x50s | 203 sixes | 506 fours
Teams: Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders
IPL titles: 4 (MI – 2013, 2015, 2017 | CSK – 2018)
Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh had a long and successful cricket career at both the international and domestic levels. One of the most successful bowlers in the IPL, Harbhajan in fact has been part of four IPL title winning teams (three titles with the Mumbai Indians & one with Chennai Super Kings), before hanging up his boots last year in December.
Harbhajan joined MI in 2008 and played for the franchise for 10 seasons, winning the coveted trophy thrice during the period. He joined CSK in 2018 and added his fourth IPL title to his CV the same year. His last team in the league was KKR, where he spent his final year as a professional cricketer.
The off-spinner ended his IPL career as the fifth highest wicket-taker in the league with 150 scalps in 163 matches. In his last IPL season, playing for KKR, he returned wicketless in three games bowling just 7 overs in total. He holds a unique record of bowling the most number of dot balls in IPL history, a total of 1268 balls – that’s as many as 211.2 overs.
The 41-year old will play a new role of being a politician soon as he is nominated for a Rajya Sabha seat from Punjab by Aam Aadmi Party, which won the recently concluded assembly election in the state.
Harbhajan Singh IPL Record: M 163 | I 160 | W 150 | BBI 5/18 | Av. 26.86 | Econ. 7.07 | SR 22.77 | 1 fifer
Teams: Delhi Capitals, Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad
Leg-spinner Amit Mishra is one of the IPL veterans who went ‘unsold’ in this year’s mega auction. Mishra has a long and fruitful IPL career, and is currently still the third highest wicket-taker in the league with 166 wickets in 154 games.
Mishra began his IPL career with the Delhi Daredevils in 2008 before joining the now defunct Deccan Chargers in 2011. He then represented Sunrisers Hyderabad for two seasons from 2013, before returning to the Delhi team in 2015. He was with the Delhi franchise since then, before going unsold in the 2022 auction.
A consistent performer, the leg spinner has a very good strike rate of less than 20 and an economy rate of just over 7 in the league. He also holds the record of the most hat-tricks in IPL overall, achieving the feat thrice.
After missing out on this year’s edition, the 39 years old wrote on his social media page that he is ‘not finished yet’.
Amit Mishra IPL Record: M 154 | I 154 | W 166 | BBI 5/17 | Av. 23.97 | Econ. 7.35 | SR 19.54 | 1 fifer