IPL Auction 2014: Picking the Best XI from Unsold Players
Second only to the Oscars in terms of pomp and circumstance, the dust has settled on another Indian Premier League auction and the creme dela creme of T20 cricket have been carved up among the various teams.
Or have they? For various reasons such as age, budget and lack of form an astonishing array of talent has been left behind on the shelf.
So the Bleacher Report selectors have stepped in to pick a team from the unsold list that would give any of the established franchises a run for their money.
Please note the unwanted XI is not selected to match the IPL restrictions of having four overseas players etc.
*Statistics taken from espncricinfo unless specified.
1. Alex Hales
Strike rate: 140.00
Whether it was Alex Hales' slightly disappointing Big Bash campaign (he still scored 175 runs at a rate of over 150.00) or just the general IPL aversion to English players, the world's No. 2 ranked T20 batsman remained on the shelf.
The bad news for the 25-year-old is that he missed out on a huge pay day and the chance to enhance his reputation even further. The good news is that he will be available for Nottinghamshire's first County Championship fixture on April 6.
2. Cameron White
Strike rate: 130.56
IPL veteran Cameron White must have been more surprised than most that he wasn't able to secure a contract, especially considering the recent form that has seen him blast three half centuries in 2014 alone.
The powerful all-rounder led the Melbourne Stars to eight consecutive wins in the Big Bash League, scoring 207 runs in the process and also regaining his international place much to England's detriment.
3. Luke Wright
Strike rate: 145.17
Luke Wright started like a runaway train in the Big Bash League before entering a slump in form that infuriatingly coincided with England's T20 triple-header against the Aussies.
But when you factor in the all-rounder's more-than-useful bowling skills with his ability to hit 70 off 32 balls, then it's hard to believe the Sussex man couldn't have played an integral role for one of the Indian giants.
4. Mahela Jayawardene
Strike rate: 129.63
Mahela Jayawardene is one of the most successful cross-format players in the world and, as evidenced by his recent scoring run of 129, 47, 46, 203* and 72 in Test cricket, is still going strong.
The Sri Lankan's calm presence is the middle order could have been vital in the cauldron-like atmosphere of the IPL, but surprisingly nobody was interested in the 36-year-old's prolific services.
5. David Hussey
Strike rate: 133.92
David Hussey may be 36 years old, but he remains one of the most capable and calm middle-order batsmen in the game, as evidenced by the recent Big Bash League where he was dismissed just three times in the entire campaign.
And if you check out the bigger picture, you'll find the Victoria and Nottinghamshire legend has racked up more than 5,500 runs and is the third-highest T20 scorer of all-time.
6. Tillakaratne Dilshan
Strike rate: 119.58
The 37-year-old Sri Lankan has one century and 23 T20 fifties to his name while an economy rate of 6.96 from more than 170 overs provides a useful second string. But these statistics have deemed him surplus to requirements.
7. Craig Kieswetter
Strike rate: 123.14
Standing out among a number of strong candidates to take the gloves is South African-born England international Craig Kieswetter who played a crucial part in his adopted nation's 2010 T20 World Cup success.
The 26-year-old is one of those players who, when he gets his eye in, can be a destructive match-winner and it's these abilities that convinced Brisbane to sign him for the latest Big Bash.
8. Azhar Mahmood
Batting Average: 25.79
Strike rate: 135.54
Economy rate: 7.58
One of the few genuine all-rounders in T20 cricket, Azhar Mahmood is a sought-after talent as evidenced by the 13 different teams he has represented over the years.
With the bat, the Pakistani's big hitting can be deadly towards the end of an innings, while with the ball, he is currently the third-highest wicket-taker in the format's history.
9. Brad Hogg
Economy rate: 6.69
On the back of a successful Big Bash League campaign where he bowled with skill, enthusiasm and, crucially, a miserly economy rate to help Perth win the competition, it's surprising that an IPL side wasn't prepared to take a chance on the crafty veteran.
10. Brett Lee
Economy rate: 7.23
There are few finer sights in world cricket than Brett Lee running in to bowl at full pace and, despite his advancing years, to this day his box-office appeal helps fill cricket stadiums around the world.
Besides, the 37-year-old showed in the Big Bash League that he's still more than a handful for opposition batsmen, never conceding more than 36 runs in an innings and taking 10 wickets overall, including 4/28 against the Scorchers.
11. Praveen Kumar
Economy rate: 7.30
While the amount of overseas players in each team is limited, there's plenty of space for Indian players in every squad, which makes it even more surprising that Praveen Kumar was overlooked.
Maybe his base-rate price was too high, but last season he was the Kings XI's most economical bowler and it wasn't too long ago that he was a major part of India's international plans.
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