A list of players who might be playing their last IPL in 2019.
IPL 2019: The 12th edition of the most popular T20 league – the IPL is all set to kick-off on 23 March. The BCCI assured that the 2019 IPL will be held in India in spite of the Indian General Elections, with fans showing their excitement.
However, this season may be the year we bid adieu to some cricketing legends. The Indian Premier League has given a stage to the retired players to stay in touch with the game however; the reason for their retirement can be poor form, fitness, age or any other.
But due to the intense competitiveness and high octane action, there are few players who might appear in the league for one last time.
The shortest format of the game is deemed suited for the younger generation as several young Indian as well as overseas players like Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Dubey and Sam Curran, are all set to make their IPL debuts this year
However, there are a few, who even after having retired from international cricket, managed to create magic with bat or ball. While some may leave the game for good, some may be signed by the T20 franchises as mentors to bring experience to the team.
Here’s a list of such players who would be playing their last IPL in 2019.
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings)
Former Indian captain, MS Dhoni is one of India’s great cricketing legends. Still a regular feature in Team India in the shorter formats (ODIs and T20Is), he will be an integral part in the upcoming ICC World Cup 2019.
The 37-year-old player is expected to bring the curtains down on his exceptional cricketing journey post the WC and it is also quite possible he may announce his retirement from every format including IPL.
Under his leadership, Chennai Super Kings not only won 3 IPLs – 2010, 2011 and 2018 – but have also made it to the playoffs nine times and the final seven times.
Dhoni will look to continue his supremacy and end his journey by winning yet another IPL title.
2. Murali Vijay (Chennai Super Kings)
Team India’s Test opener Murali Vijay, was expected to be released ahead of the 2019 IPL auction but CSK retained the experienced campaigner.
A star performer in his initial years of the IPL, Vijay left Chennai Super Kings after the 2013 IPL and joined Delhi Daredevils (2014) and then joined Kings XI Punjab (2015-2017) before returning to his home-franchise last season.
He, however, played only one game for Chennai in which he managed just 12 runs and was left out of the team for the rest of the games.
The Tamil Nadu star who will turn 35 on 1 April is unlikely to feature in the next edition of the IPL given his recent failures with the bat.
3. Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians)
Captain of the Sri Lankan team, Lasith Malinga is one of the very few players to have represented the same franchise over the years.
One of the finest bowlers Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in the history of IPL with 154 scalps to his name.
Once an important member of Mumbai Indians lineup, Malinga went unsold during the 2018 IPL auction. Nevertheless, he was appointed as Mumbai’s bowling mentor for that season.
This year however Malinga attracted interest during the 2019 IPL auction where the Mumbai Indians bought him at his base price.
This IPL might, however, be the speedster’s last edition, as he is likely to retire after the 2019 World Cup.
(Image: File Photo)
4. Wriddhiman Saha (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
An experienced wicket-keeper batsman from Bengal, Wriddhiman Saha holds a special record in the history of IPL.
In the 2014 IPL final, he became the first ever player to score a century in the summit-clash when he smashed 115* off just 55 balls (10 fours and 8 sixes) for Kings XI Punjab against Kolkata Knight Riders.
The 34-year-old has played 115 IPL matches representing four different franchises across eleven editions.
However, after being bought by the Sunrisers Hyderabad at the 2018 IPL auction, Saha managed just 122 runs in eleven matches.
Having been released ahead of the 2019 auction, Saha who was one of the very few Indians with a base price of ₹1 crore. He was bought back by the Hyderabad franchise for INR 1.2 crore.
5. Yuvraj Singh (Mumbai Indians)
Yuvraj Singh’s career has not been the same since he was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor. The player that was once bought for a whopping 16 crore INR by Delhi did not even manage a bidder in the first round of the 2019 IPL auctions.
Eventually, he was bought by Mumbai Indians (the only bidders) at the reduced base price of INR 1 crore.
However, with age and slow reflexes, his comeback to the international arena looks slim. That veteran could possibly call it quits after this year’s IPL.
(Image: Mumbai Indians Twitter)
6. Imran Tahir (Chennai Super Kings)
South African spinner Imran Tahir said that he will be retiring from the One-Day International cricket after this year’s World Cup.
A part of Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017, the leggie was bought by the Chennai Super Kings for ₹1 crore at the 2018 IPL auctions.
However, with too many spinners in the team, Tahir did not make it into the playing XI.
Tahir failed to impress last season and might possibly call it quits this year.
7. Chris Gayle (Kings XI Punjab)
The big man, Chris Gayle, is probably the greatest batsman in the shortest format.
Chris Gayle, who started his IPL journey with the Kolkata Knight Riders, moved to RCB in 2011 as an injury replacement.
After his seven-year stint with the RCB, he joined Kings XI Punjab last year.
However, Gayle, who will turn 40 this September, may not be fit enough for this fast game. The 2019 edition might be his last appearance in the IPL.
8. Harbhajan Singh (Chennai Super Kings)
Harbhajan Singh, also known as ‘Bhajji’, might announce his retirement post-IPL 2019.
The 38-year-old off-spinner journey at the IPL started with Mumbai Indians in 2008 until he was released and purchased by Chennai Super Kings for IPL 2017.
Harbhajan is only other player to have won the IPL on 4 occasions – 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018.
With his comeback to team India looking slim, he may choose this year’s IPL to bid adieu to the gentlemen’s game.
(Image: File Photo)