After 12 seasons since its inception in 2008, the Indian Premier League stands as one of the most cash-rich and the toughest cricketing leagues around the globe. Every year, eight teams take the field to battle it out for the coveted IPL trophy. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings remain the most successful teams of the tournament.
The reason for their consistency has been faith in the core team. Moreover, Mumbai Indians also have a strong talent-scouting team, which has brought up the likes of Rahul Chahar, Panda brothers, Mayank Markande – just to name a few. In such a star-studded team, it is always hard to find a place in the playing XI.
This has been the case with many players. Even some known foreign faces have failed to get a chance to represent the franchise. As we would see, these talented players were valuable additions to other teams. On this note, let us take a look at few such players, who could never play for MI, despite being in the squad.
1. Josh Hazlewood
Josh Hazlewood was bought by Mumbai Indians for IPL 2014 for a sum of Rs 50 lakhs. However, the Australian didn’t get a single game since he wasn’t a big face at that time. His rise to fame was in December that year when he returned with impressive figures against India down under.
After warming the bench in 2014, Hazlewood was again retained by the franchise for IPL 2015. But destiny did not want him to play this time as well. To manage his workload for heavy international fixtures ahead, the pacer pulled out of the competition.
He was replaced with Colin Munro, who did not play any game either. The fact of the matter is that Hazlewood is yet to make his IPL debut, even after years of excellent performances for his national team.
2. Phillips Hughes
The late Phillips Hughes was once a part of the cash-rich league with the most successful IPL franchise Mumbai Indians. He was picked up by the Akash Ambani’s franchise in 2013 at his base price of Rs 60 lakhs but did not play any game.
This was primarily because he wasn’t a specialist T20 batsman, and found it hard to find a place in star-studded har-hitting MI batting lineup. The next year, he was released by the franchise.
Unfortunately, this was the year of his demise due to a Sean Abbott bouncer, which stuck him on the head. Expressing his grief on the tragedy, Harbhajan Singh, who was his teammate at the Mumbai Indians had talked about his connections with the MI team and that he would be dearly missed by all.
3. Nathu Singh
Nathu Singh stole the limelight in 2016 when he was picked up by Mumbai Indians for a whopping 3.2 crores. His ability to clock the ball at 140+ kmph constantly was something that made him special. Moreover, he had an impressive outing in the first-class cricket in the lead up to that auction.
However, the presence of an already strong bowling attack made it difficult for him to find a place in the playing XI. He could not feature in any of the games and was released in the following season.
He was picked up by Gujarat Lions, but again played only two games, where he scalped a solitary wicket. The 24-year-old has never played an IPL game since then but has been a consistent performer for Rajasthan in first-class cricket. One would hope that he gets back his rhythm soon, which might help him to fetch a bid in the IPL 2020 auctions.
4. Krishnappa Gowtham
Krishnappa Gowtham was one of the emerging prospects in 2016. He scalped 27 wickets in 8 games for Karnataka in Ranji Trophy 2016. This helped him gain a place in the India-A team. All this caught the eyes of Mumbai Indians, who bought him for 2 crores in IPL 2017 auctions, which was 20 times his base price of 10 lakhs.
Unfortunately, the all-rounder was made to warm the bench throughout. In 2018, he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals, who showed faith in him. He sank his former team with an 11-ball-33 that helped him become a match-winner.
Since then, the 30-year-old has been a senior member of the Royals. He recently grabbed the headlines when he scored 134 and scalped 8 wickets in a single game in the Karnataka Premier League 2019.
5. Nicholas Pooran
The West Indian batsman, who is the future of cricket, has impressed everyone in his short career. Pooran scored 367 runs in the recently concluded World Cup, at a strike rate above 100 and an average above 50. He also impressed while playing for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL 2019.
However, only a few know that he was a part of the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2017. He was picked up by the franchise for 30 lakhs. He wasn’t a known face that time and made to warm the bench throughout the season, before being released in the next edition.
The southpaw was a hot pick in IPL 2019 auctions, where RCB and KXIP wildly engaged in a bidding war to grab him, with KXIP eventually grabbing him for whopping 4.2 crores.