The Indian Premier League (IPL) has transformed the way cricket is played or perceived over its chequered history. It has thrown open plenty of opportunities for budding cricketers. At times it has even extended an olive branch for those players who were looking to revive their careers, lets see some of the Most Unexpected Signings In IPL History.
The eagerness to win the tournament has often made franchises err on the extreme. They have let go of quality players in search of immediate results. These players have then gone on to excel making their decision look short-sighted. But there have been many instances where certain player signings have gone on to revolutionize not just the team but the league itself.
We look at 5 such unexpected player signings in IPL history:
#5 Harshal Patel, RCB (2021)
Harshal Patel was one of the most underrated players in the IPL circuit. He was a tireless domestic workhorse who used to play every IPL season in the hope of impressing people with his performances. Patel was more than just decent for Delhi Capitals in the time he spent there during 2018-20. But in a very surprising move, RCB traded Patel ahead of 2021. And what a fine move that turned out to be. Patel is currently the purple cap holder with 17 wickets to his name. He has become a household name overnight.
#4 Glenn Maxwell, KXIP (2014)
Glenn Maxwell became a million-dollar baby in IPL 2013 when Mumbai Indians acquired him. But he hardly got a game to show his skill. In 2014, Kings XI Punjab punted on Maxwell in the mega auctions. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of the auction that year. Maxwell pummelled 552 runs at a strike rate of 187. He went on to win the MVP for the year. Maxwell was a revelation that year and he singlehandedly lit up the IPL.
#3 Andre Russell, KKR (2014)
Andre Russell is one of the most valuable T20I players in the world. But he wasn’t such a big name in world cricket back in 2014 or so people thought. Kolkata Knight Riders knew what they would get from a player like him. They bought Russell for a mere INR 60 lakhs. Russell since then has become synonymous with KKR. He has won two MVPs (2015 and 2019). KKR’s vision in acquiring Russell paid off big time.
#2 Gautam Gambhir, KKR (2011)
KKR were a team that had become a laughing stock in the first three seasons of the IPL. The management decided to revamp the entire team. They spent big bucks and acquired Gautam Gambhir. KKR wasted no time in appointing Gambhir as captain. Gambhir developed KKR into a world-beating unit. He led KKR to two championship titles (2012 & 2014) in a span of 3 years. If KKR are still a dominant side in the IPL, it is purely owing to Gambhir’s legacy.
#1 Chris Gayle, RCB (2011)
None of the teams bought Chris Gayle in the mega auctions of 2011. KKR had released Gayle post a middling couple of seasons. Teams were skeptical about his form and fitness. Royal Challengers Bangalore were in search of an injury replacement to Dirk Nannes midway through the season. Their campaign was going nowhere until then.
In an inspired move, RCB management roped in Chris Gayle as Dirk’s replacement. Gayle went on to unleash himself like never before in the IPL. He won the orange cap for two consecutive seasons (2011-12). Gayle went to become the self-appointed Universe Boss. He arguably made RCB the fans’ favorite. They continue to revel in that legacy!