IPL 2021: 5 Stat padders in the tournament

For most of the franchises, the players aim to play attacking cricket to ensure that their team gets the upper hand. But sometimes, the players try to improve their stats without benefiting their team.

Vijay Shankar
Vijay Shankar. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

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The Indian Premier League is well known for its action on the field. With multiple T20 records being set in this league, most of the fans level up their expectations. Adding on, the teams give it their 100 percent on the field to make sure that the competition rises. This is the main reason why IPL is one of the finest T20 leagues in the circuit.

For most of the franchises, the players aim to play attacking cricket to ensure that their team gets the upper hand. This approach to cricket is widely followed in most of the international and domestic leagues all well. It all started with the inaugural game of the IPL, and players like Chris Gayle continue to do so. But, there is another side of the game that hampers the team’s chances in a match.

Sometimes, the players try to improve their stats without benefiting their team. This is known as stat padding. Recently, Manish Pandey has been under the radar for underperforming during chases. Well, this leaves the finishers with very few balls to work with at the end. Adding on, the batsman at the other end faces the burden of playing rash shots.

Here are 5 stat padders in IPL 2021

5. Andre Russell (as a bowler)

Andre Russell is one of the biggest names in T20I and franchise cricket. And it is no doubt that he has been successful over the years. Russell has been KKR’s go-to man since his association with the squad. Although he played only a couple of games for Kolkata during that season, the tides changed for him in 2015. 

In 2015, Russell scored three fifties and 326 runs and he had a phenomenal strike rate of 192 during that year. Adding on, he picked up 14 wickets and was adjudged as the most valuable player of the tournament in 2015. Since then, he has been playing some breathtaking innings for Kolkata. And apart from his batting, he has been a bowler who can bowl his full quota of four overs. 

However, during the 14th edition of the IPL, Russell took 5 wickets against the Kolkata Knight Riders. During that game, the fans witnessed an instance of stat-padding as he picked up wickets during the final overs. Apart from that, three wickets were of the tail-enders. During his batting, he failed to score quickly as a result, KKR lost an easy game against the Indians.

4. Vijay Shankar

Vijay Shankar has been unable to perform as per his standards for quite some time now. After he made it to the Indian World Cup squad, everyone was shocked as he was picked ahead of Rayudu. But, his injuries never helped him to cement his place in a strong Indian line-up. He was eventually dropped. 

Even though he has been a decent performer with the ball, he has not impressed the selectors lately with his performances. In 42 IPL games, Shankar has scored 668 runs with a low strike rate of 127.48. This showcases that he is unable to rotate the strike during the crucial phases of the game. Adding on, he has scored only 3 fifties till now in the IPL.

Vijay has been able to make it to the squad because of the four overseas rules. Talking about his performances, he has not been up to the mark. During the recently concluded game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he scored 3 off five balls. And the harsh reality about his batting is that he takes a lot of balls to settle. This makes it difficult for the lower order to make an impact.

3. Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill is the next big thing in Indian cricket. His stellar efforts after Shaw was unable to provide starts to the team Down Under impressed everyone. Currently, he is Team India’s Test match opener along with the modern-day giant: Rohit Sharma. Because of his talents, he is seen as the future of the Kolkata Knight Riders. 

Gill has been the opener for the Knight Riders for the last two seasons. In 43 IPL matches, he has scored 987 runs so far. With a healthy average of 32.9, he holds on to one end of KKR’s innings. Apart from that, he has scored seven half-centuries so far. But, his inconsistency and inability to convert those starts to big scores have been hammering KKR’s progress.

He plays with a mediocre strike rate of 125.41. Just like most of the batsmen, he takes some time to settle in. But, as he fails to score, there is a lot of pressure from the other batsmen who have to come in a slog from the word go. Therefore, Gill is slowly turning into a stat padder, which might hurt KKR later.

2. Manish Pandey

Manish Pandey has been the anchor of the SRH middle order for over two seasons. Although he is a talented batsman and a superb fielder, his approach to the game has been questionable. He was the first Indian to score a century in the IPL. As he scored 114 off 73 balls, he became a popular name in the league. 

With an experience of 148 games, Pandey has scored 3367 runs. He was a phenomenal performer for the Knight Riders. During the 2014 final, he scored a sparkling 94 from 50 balls to provide a solid base for his team. As a result of which, Kolkata won the IPL in 2014. 

But for SRH, his performances have been mediocre. During the first game against Kolkata, Pandey scored 61 from 44 deliveries. As he was set, he should have taken the team over the victory line. But, he remained not out and SRH lost. This neutralizes all his efforts. In the match against RCB, Pandey scored 38 from 39 balls. And this was another instance of stat padding from the IPL veteran.

1. KL Rahul

Lokesh Rahul has been “Mr. Consistent” for the Punjab-based franchise since he has taken over the role of captaincy. Most of the fans will be hoping that KL Rahul will guide the team to their maiden IPL trophy this time. With a power-packed top order, there is a huge chance for Punjab to get their hands on the toughest T20 league. And with a veteran like Chris Gayle, it is their best chance to destroy the bowling attacks of various teams. 

KL Rahul has been the run machine for Punjab Kings. In 82 IPL matches, he has scored 2783 runs. An outstanding average of 45.63 makes him one of the most important players in the Punjab squad. Adding on, his wicket-keeping has been decent. Well, it looks like he will be captaining the Kings for some seasons to come. 

However, his intent while batting does bring some pressure on the other batsmen. In 14 IPL games in 2020, he scored 670 runs. Although he had a stellar average of 55.83, he was unable to up the ante. A strike rate of 129.34 is mediocre for a batsman like KL Rahul.