Picking an All-Conquering T20 XI from Players Outside IPL
Not everybody is going crazy for the Indian Premier League. In fact, this hypothetical team of players would probably beat most of the actual IPL sides despite none of its XI wanting any part in this year's Indian extravaganza.
But to be fair, under different circumstances, most of them would, of course, have thrown their names (and wallets) into the ring. Indeed, some of them did initially—only to change their minds or be ruled out through injury.
Anyway, this team has aggressive batsman, experienced middle-order campaigners, a fearsome pace attack and even multiple match-winning options in the slow bowling department and would take some beating.
Read on to see the Bleacher Report Players Outside the IPL XI.
*Statistics courtesy of espncricinfo.com unless specified.
1. Michael Lumb
Strike rate: 141.45
Michael Lumb is one of cricket's sweetest timers of the ball and is a regular feature in the Big Bash League as well as playing a key role in England's 2010 Twenty20 World Cup triumph.
However, the South African-born batsman skipped this year's IPL draft telling espncricinfo.com that he'd already ticked that box and preferred to focus on the upcoming English domestic season with Nottinghamshire instead.
2. Mohammad Hafeez
Strike rate: 129.23
In the shortest form of the game, the 33-year-old often opens the innings with both bat and ball, and according to the current ICC rankings, he is ranked as the No. 1 all-rounder in the world.
3. Kumar Sangakkara
Strike rate: 124.42
Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara decided not to enter the auction this year in order to spend time with his family during the midst of a hectic international schedule and to prepare for his country's forthcoming tour of England.
However, the IPL's loss is the All-Conquering Non-IPL XI's gain as the vastly experienced 36-year-old takes the crucial position of No. 3 in the line-up.
4. Michael Clarke
Strike rate: 108.22
Aussie skipper Michael Clarke hasn't played much T20 cricket in his career, and as evidenced by his statistics, he has a fairly poor record in the few games he has played.
But a cricketer of Clarke's class could surely adapt to the format if he was given a decent run, and any player that averages over 50 in Test cricket make him worthy of a middle-order spot here.
5. Eoin Morgan
Strike rate: 130.59
In a strange turn of events, gifted shot-maker Eoin Morgan, who in the past has forsaken the longer forms of the game to focus on his white-ball endeavours, entered the 2014 IPL auction but later withdrew.
The move was clearly influenced by England's Ashes meltdown and the Irishman's intent to secure a place in the next Test XI. Until then, Morgan's match-winning skills further complement this team's gifted middle-order.
6. Shahid Afridi
Strike rate: 153.11
Economy rate: 6.55
If any cricketer seems a perfect match for the IPL, then it's Shahid Afridi, and surely any of the IPL teams would love to add the man known as "Boom Boom" to their line-up.
Sadly, politics prevent the fans from seeing that spectacle for now (although Afridi did play for Deccan in 2008), but the 33-year-old's all-round skills would be more than welcome in this team.
7. Brad Haddin
Strike rate: 119.79
Ashes hero Brad Haddin pulled out of the 2014 IPL auction due to personal reasons, but as England found out this winter, the 36-year-old is a dangerous hitter lower down the order.
The Australian glovesman would also take on the wicketkeeper duties full-time, allowing Kumar Sangakkara to concentrate on his batting.
8. Chris Morris
Strike rate: 143.16
Economy rate: 7.46
South African all-rounder Chris Morris shot to fame at last year's IPL auction when, despite being almost unknown, he was sold to the Chennai Super Kings for a staggering $625,000 and went on to take 15 wickets.
Unfortunately, the giant paceman and big-hitting late-order batter will miss the 2014 edition due to an ankle injury, but that enables him to fit perfectly into this team at No. 8.
9. Stuart Broad
Economy rate: 6.98
Another player whose high-profile image and aggressive approach to the game would suit the IPL to a tee is Stuart Broad, but the 27-year-old's international commitments, including his England T20 captaincy, take priority.
The bowling all-rounder's skills with the ball at the start and end of an innings, combined with a knack for picking up wickets in bunches, would likely make him a sought-after commodity.
10. Trent Boult
Economy rate: 8.09
Similarly to Michael Clarke, Trent Boult hasn't had much exposure to T20 cricket, only playing a handful of domestic games alongside three internationals and primarily saving himself for the longer formats.
But the paceman's stock continues to soar in the cricketing world, and the 24-year-old New Zealander would be a handful for the IPL's batsmen.
11. Saeed Ajmal
Economy rate: 6.22
The numbers say it all. Saeed Ajmal would be one of the first picks if Pakistan's players were allowed in the IPL. It's not a great leap to suggest his presence would dramatically increase a team's chances of winning the title.