IPL 2021 resumes on Sunday with a clash of the titans, as the two most successful teams in the tournament in Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in Dubai.
IPL 2021 had first started in April in India but the horrific second wave of COVID that tore through most parts of India, particularly the capital Delhi, led to its postponement in May.
When things supposedly cooled down, the BCCI announced that the biggest franchise tournament in cricket will resume in September and will be held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), that hosted the 2020 edition as well.
The Big 5 That Won’t Be Part Of IPL 2021
While fans will be looking forward to some daily cricket, there will be some big names missing the action in the UAE.
Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The world’s top fast bowler will not make it to the current edition, while his team Kolkata Knight Riders are currently at the bottom of the points table, having won just two matches out of seven.
The Australian pacer was KKR’s top wicket-taker thus far, with nine scalps at an economy rate of 8.83. New Zealander Tim Southee has been announced by KKR as Cummins’ replacement.
Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals):
Arguably the best all-rounder in the world currently, Ben Stokes will not be starting for the Rajasthan Royals. The England star has taken an indefinite leave of absence from cricket to prioritise his mental health and recover from a finger injury, which he had picked up in the Royals’ first match of IPL 2021. Stokes sat out of the India-England test series as well.
Jos Buttler (Rajasthan Royals):
Stoke’s English teammate in the Royals, the explosive wicketkeeper-batsman is another big name absentee from the roster for the UAE. Buttler comed his second child earlier this year and is staying with his family.
The 31-year-old was Rajasthan’s second highest run-getter in IPL 2021 and has the ability to change games on his own.
Jofra Archer (Rajasthan Royals)
Rajasthan Royals can’t seem to catch a break and adding to their long list of woes is the continued absence of pace express Jofra Archer. The England quick didn’t take part in the India leg as well, nor the bilateral series in England just like Stokes and will miss out on the UAE leg as well.
Down with an elbow injury, he seems unlikely to return for the T20 World Cup either.
Jonny Bairstow (SunRisers Hyderabad):
SunRisers Hyderabad made a nightmare start to their IPL 2021 campaign, winning just 1 off their seven games. SRH’s dreadful showing cost David Warner his captaincy and he was replaced by Kane Williamson before the tournament was suspended. Before the UAE restart, SRH were dealt another blow as England star Jonny Bairstow pulled out of the tournament.
The Englishman is the top-scorer for SRH this season with 248 runs in seven matches, boasting a strike-rate of 141.71. SRH have added West Indies batsman Sherfane Rutherford to their squad following Bairstow’s withdrawal.
While all eight teams are still pretty much in reckoning, Gautam Gambhir feels defending champions Mumbai Indians have a significant advantage over others due to the fact that they will return to a country where they tasted the glory of IPL last year.