Discarded-Retired-Forgotten (DRF) XI
This list comprises of performers in the IPL but whom we havent seen representing their countries by their own will or are discarded by the selectors. What a formidable XI, can beat any IPL side!
My D-R-F XI in batting order is: (Criteria: good performance in IPL for players who have either officially retired from T20 internationals or havent been selected by their team for any match in the last 12 months. It ignores the chances of anyone here who may play for their national team in the future)
1. Mathew Hayden: For his aggressive batting abilities and sharp fielding still, he can walk into many international teams. Whether he uses a mongoose, snake or a crocodile in his hand, or the simple cricket bat, he is still dangerous for any international bowlers.
2. Adam Gilchrist (WK): The way he attacks any bowling effort and the way he leads his Deccan Chargers side amazes one and all. He is loved by all for his friendly attitude too. And yes, he too is a player who can walk into any international side on his current form. I reckon, even if he has retired from Test and ODIs which require more physical fitness, he is still superior to Brad Haddin or any other Aussie wicket keeper batsman.
3. Sachin Tendulkar: Its a pity that we wont have him in the Indian T20 World Cup team! I think even a strong Australian side will select him in their team, if possible! I dont need to say more about this man.
4. Rahul Dravid: The way he has played in IPL1 and 2 and the way he has improvised, this once referred to as "Test Only" material has proved to all and sundry how important he is in any starting XI whether its ODI or T20I. He can still walk into India's ODI side, but I dont know the philosophy of Indian selectors. He had only one opportunity this IPL to show his batting prowess thanks to Kallis's solidity at the top, but he remains the key link in the success of RCB this IPL too. I am expecting some knocks from Jammy especially if law of averages catches with his other performing RCB mates. And if anyone had a doubt about his fitness, just keep watching his fielding efforts and that catch to dismiss his state mate R.Sathish (playing for Mumbai Indians) last weekend.
5. Andrew Symmonds: A talented allrounder, a must have in any team, but not playing due to his conduct and behaviour. We are seeing an in-form, reformed looking cricketer in this IPL. He is a great finisher whether with the bat or ball. and he continues to be safe in catching and rock solid in fielding.
6. Fervez Maharoof: He last played for a T20 international for Sri Lanka in 2008 and in that match, he gave 22 runs in his 4 overs taking a wicket. His economical bowling is well known and in helpful conditions, his accurate swing bowling gives early wickets too. And he has time and again proved as to how useful he is with the bat in the late order, whenever required to up the scoring rate.
7. Chaminda Vaas: He hardly showed any effectiveness in the last two IPL editions, at a time when his effectiveness for SriLanka was on the decline. He was promptly dropped from all versions of the game by his country, but see the amazing turnaround he has scripted this IPL! He is no doubt the phoenix in this DRF team.
8. Shane Warne: He is the eternal trump card for any team and even though his one-dimensional but full of turn leg break is slowly waning with age, he still has a few tricks up his sleeve to offer. Moreover, he brings with him a lot of tactical ability that makes him a strong captaincy candidate in any team. One is yet to see his aggressive batting ability and I am expecting some better performance from him in IPL3.
9. Anil Kumble: One who saw that googly last saturday to dismiss the in form left hander Saurab Tiwari and the kind of respect every batsman gives to him, Anil bhai still has a lot to offer on the field. Though humbly he concedes that his pace is going down by age, I reckon that to be an achievement in T20 cricket, as I always felt that lesser pace is difficult to score off and a leg break or a googly would turn more if bowled slowly with a loop.
10. Murali Karthik: Time and again this lad has proved his efffectiveness in limited overs cricket, he is on top of his game for Kolkata Knight Riders and he is much wanted by the English counties Lancashire and Middlesex, but one wonders what he has to do to find a place in the Indian side! Among all the eleven players in this team, he may be considered as the most unfortunate to not to have played more cricket for his country.
11. L. Balaji: He has a IPL hattrick to his name, he has made a commendable comeback to cricket and but hasnt yet played for India in T20 internationals. Knowing him, he may play for the country soon. Though his bowling appears easy to face, his subtle movement and variation in pace are good enough to pose problems for batsmen who like to hit the ball that comes on the bat off the pitch. His infective smile remains though his bowling action might have changed. And in batting, I havent forgotten his sixers off Shoaib Akhtar in that 'Balaji series in Pakistan a few years back.
There are 3 candidates for captaincy and my vote would go to Shane Warne, though Gilchrist and Kumble are equally competent to lead the side.
And the last word: this may not be the perfect eleven, but among a small group of performing guys who are unwanted by their countries or have opted out themselves, this was the best that came to my attention.
Readers are welcome to suggest any other name that might have escaped my attention.