2016 IPL Team of the Year: Warner, Kohli, De Villiers, De Kock all make the cut
Osman Samiuddin picks out his 11 best players of the 2016 Indian Premier League.
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DAVID WARNER, SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
In any other season, David Warner would have been the season’s headline player and a shoo-in for the player of the season award. But this has not been any other season. Still Warner has been immense, scoring a fifty every other game and leading with considerable maturity and nous.
VIRAT KOHLI, ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
No-brainers do not come less taxing than this. Just give him all the awards already. Before the final, Virat Kohli was in touching distance of a 1,000 runs for the season, with four hundreds. Those are truly mind-boggling numbers. It is arguably the finest sustained stretch of batting the format has ever seen.
AB DE VILLIERS, ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
The other half of T20’s dream batting pair, AB de Villiers has been a paper-thin margin behind Kolhi as the season’s pre-eminent batsman. Everyone knows what he can do and he showed us all once again this season: the outrageous shot-making, the ability to control a game as he deems fit. Genius, pure and simple.
QUINTON DE KOCK, DELHI DAREDEVILS
Though Quinton de Kock would normally play as an opener, such is the strength of top-order options in this team, it is impossible to squeeze him in there. But such is the strength of his season that you have to play him, especially as the team will need a wicketkeeper. The season should confirm his position as one of the game’s finest young talents.
YUSUF PATHAN, KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
The transformation of Yusuf Pathan over the past two seasons has been remarkable. Once he was just a big hitter. But now, without shedding any of the monstrous ability to hit a cricket ball, he has added a layer of game-sense and understand hitherto absent. He bailed Kolkata out several times this season, as a middle order rock.
KL RAHUL, ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
KL Rahul was originally retained by Hyderabad but Bangalore poached him after the auctions. At US$166,000 (Dh609,742) he came pretty cheap, too, though that was the result of a poor 2015 IPL. In a batting order in which he hardly gets enough balls to face, he has still hit nearly 400 runs this season, with four fifties.
SHANE WATSON, ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Strange to see Shane Watson down this low? It is, but then this has been a strange, though not unsuccessful season for Watson. He has not scored the runs he should be scoring but he is the third highest-wicket taker for the season. He has been crucial in an attack that has made hard work of defending the feats of their batsmen.
ANDRE RUSSELL, KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Let’s get over the shock of Andre Russell playing in a T20 tournament and not ending up with a winners’ medal first. Then acknowledge that it has not been for want of his effort. Had the world’s foremost T20 all-rounder not picked up a leg injury at the business end of the tournament, who knows how Kolkata would have fared?
CHRIS MORRIS, DELHI DAREDEVILS
It would have been easy to crumble under the pressure of being a million-dollar signing. But close watchers will know that Chris Morris is made of pretty solid material and this season provided further evidence. Always bristling with the ball, he had the second-best economy rate of the top 15 wicket-takers. He did not succeed often enough with the bat but did provide glimpses of his brute strength.
BHUVNESHWAR KUMAR, SUNRISERS HYDERABAD
A wonderful return to prominence for a bowler who, like so many in India before him, had seemed to slip away after an encouraging start. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has bowled with better pace than in recent months, has bowled smartly at all stages through an innings and is, deservedly, the highest wicket-taker in the league. A big factor in Hyderabad’s run.
YUZVENDRA CHAHAL, ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
The young leg-spinner, who counts chess as among his leading sporting passions, was one of the bowlers of the season in 2015 and one of Bangalore’s picks of this season. He came at a snip and has paid back every paisa and more on the investment. It has earned him a call-up to the India squad.
Updated: May 29, 2016 04:00 AM