The Indian Premier League (IPL) certainly holds the pole position among the multitude of cricket leagues in the world. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) organizes this extravagant T20 spectacle every year for about 7 weeks, generally in the summer months of April and May.
Apart from top Indian superstars, the league has witnessed many overseas behemoths plying their trade in the league. Over time, the IPL has also proven to be the cradle for new talent to bloom.
A number of icons have participated in the league and given fans fond memories that will stay with them forever. These legends have now walked into the sunset of their careers, but their exploits will forever remain eternal.
Let’s Look at the Best Retired XI in IPL History:
1. Shane Watson
The man who retired from the IPL after the 13th edition is a bonafide legend of the game. Shane Watson is an all-time IPL legend, and his stats stand as testimony to the same. The Australian all-rounder featured in 145 IPL matches and scored 3874 runs at an average of 30.99. Watson scored his runs at a strike rate of 137.91, making him a dangerous attacking threat.
On the flipside, the man was skilled with the ball as well. The right-arm pacer took 92 wickets in his career. Watson took the IPL by storm in its very first season in 2008, where he won the Player of the Tournament. The right-hander scored a whopping 472 runs with the bat for the Rajasthan side in the 2008 edition. With the ball, Watson picked up 17 wickets to propel Rajasthan towards victory.
With such an impressive record and with his calibre to turn matches on their head, Watson will open the batting in the all-time retired IPL XI.
2. Parthiv Patel
He was rightfully called ‘the pocket-sized dynamo’. He could rip through any bowling attack at the top of the order, and his capability to pick the gaps in the powerplay made him a valuable asset for whichever IPL side he played for. Parthiv Patel was a batsman who could disrupt opposition plans with his efficiency.
In his IPL career, Parthiv Patel played for a total of 6 teams. And, at the conclusion of his career, he can look back at his journey with a sense of contentment. He has scored 500 or more runs for three different teams in IPL cricket (911 for Mumbai, 731 for Bangalore, and 516 for Chennai).
Parthiv played a total of 139 matches in the IPL and scored 2848 runs at an average of 22.60. He played his final match on 4th May 2019. And, in December 2020, Patel announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.
3. Gautam Gambhir (C)
It is unthinkable to have a retired IPL XI without this man’s name in it. Gautam Gambhir amassed magnificent numbers in his IPL career that lasted a decade. The southpaw played 154 matches in the IPL and scored 4217 runs at an average of 31.01. He is the 10th highest run-getter in the history of the league.
Gambhir began his IPL career with the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals), but eventually shifted to the Kolkata Knight Riders. It was during his period as the Kolkata captain that Gambhir showed the world what a poignant leader he was. The left-hander led the Kolkata franchise to two IPL wins in 2012 and 2014.
Gambhir then switched back to the Delhi franchise in the 2018 IPL season where he played his final IPL game. Gambhir will be the captain of this all-time retired IPL XI.
4. Michael Hussey
One of the most reliable batsmen in the IPL, Michael Hussey produced sparkling numbers. The Australian star played 59 IPL matches and scored 1977 runs at an average of 38.76.
Hussey also won the Orange Cap in the 2013 season of the IPL. Turning out for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Hussey accumulated a whopping 733 runs with the bat at an average of 52.35 in the 6th edition.
The southpaw played his last IPL match on 24th May 2015 against the Mumbai Indians. There were few players in the IPL who could strike the cricket ball with as much elegance and flamboyance as the batsman from down under.
5. Subramanian Badrinath
Badrinath might not appeal to you at first glance. He did not play the most audacious of strokes with the bat. But, as far as sheer effectiveness is concerned, he could hang with the best right at the top.
Subramanian Badrinath scored his runs in a structured manner and boosted his team with the bat exactly when the situation demanded. The right-hander played 95 matches in IPL cricket and scored 1441 runs at a decent average of 30.66. He was also a part of the Chennai Super Kings side that won the IPL on two successive occasions (2010 and 2011).
Apart from his skills with the bat, Badrinath was also very sharp on the field. The Tamil Nadu batsman played his last game in IPL cricket in 2013 against the Mumbai Indians.
6. JP Duminy
At No.6 comes a man who could switch modes as and when the situation demanded. JP Duminy was a player who could rotate strike, pick gaps scoring ones and twos, and at the same time, unleash himself and launch an attack on the opposition.
Duminy has an amazing record in the IPL. The South African played 83 matches in the IPL and scored 2029 runs at an average nearing 40 (39.78). He also scored 14 half-centuries in his IPL career.
In his IPL career, the southpaw provided his services for 3 sides. He began his career with the Mumbai Indians, shifted to the Deccan Chargers, then switched to the Delhi franchise, before ultimately concluding his IPL journey in the same place where he started, with the Mumbai Indians. He played his last season in the year 2018.
7. Irfan Pathan
At No.7, we have a player who was highly effective with both the bat and ball in hand. Irfan Pathan played 103 matches in the IPL and picked up 80 wickets at a strike rate of 25.54. With the willow, Pathan was a skilful hitter and scored 1139 runs at an average of 21.49.
Pathan kept shifting from one franchise to another in his IPL career and played for 5 different teams. He began with Kings XI Punjab, then switched to the Delhi franchise, spent a year each with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rising Pune Supergiants, before eventually concluding his career with the Gujarat Lions in the year 2017.
In his last IPL season, he appeared in only one match for the Gujarat Lions franchise.
8. Zaheer Khan
His action was smooth. His leap was eye-candy, and his ability to make the ball obey his command marked him out as a magician. Zaheer Khan was a player who delighted cricket fanatics with the ball for more than a decade.
In the IPL, the left-arm seamer delivered some breathtaking moments for fans to enjoy. Zaheer played for 3 teams in his IPL career. He began with the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise, shifted to the Mumbai Indians, returned to the Bangalore side, before eventually concluding his career with the Delhi Daredevils.
Zaheer’s stats in the IPL are remarkable. The former Indian seamer appeared in exactly 100 matches in the IPL and picked up 102 wickets. He averaged 27.27, and his strike rate was superb too, at 21.57. The Indian left-arm seamer last played in the IPL in 2017.
9. Anil Kumble
The lead spinner’s position in this retired IPL XI is occupied by the legendary Anil Kumble. The leg-spin wizard has a good record in IPL cricket. Kumble appeared in 42 matches and took 45 wickets. But then, what made him a lethal weapon was his prowess to choke up the opposition’s run-rate.
Kumble’s economy rate in his IPL career was only 6.58. He played in the IPL for 3 seasons, and in all 3 editions, he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In the 2009 season, Kumble emerged as the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, taking 21 scalps. His achievements with the ball propelled his side to the runners-up position in the second IPL season.
The Indian spinner played his final IPL game in 2010. Even in his last game, he harried the opposition to the end. Kumble took 4 wickets, conceding just 16 runs in 3.3 overs, and helped the Bangalore side defeat the Deccan Chargers by 9 wickets.
10. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga occupies a pedestal of his own. One that no bowler can reach in IPL cricket. The Sri Lankan bowling star has a massive sum of 170 wickets against his name and is the highest wicket-taker in the IPL. He also took 6 four-wicket hauls with the white ball in hand. Malinga featured in the IPL for more than a decade yet remained a one-team man. He only represented the Mumbai Indians. He was a part of the triumphant Mumbai franchise on 4 occasions. Malinga could bowl the yorker with precision, and when he was in his groove, batsmen found it hard to escape from his tight line and lengths.
The Mumbai seamer played his final IPL match in the year 2019. Of the last ball of his IPL career, Malinga dismissed Shardul Thakur to help Mumbai defeat the Chennai side by a single run and win the trophy.
11. RP Singh
The last name who makes it to the coveted retired IPL XI is RP Singh. Singh could make the new ball move to his will and was a crafty bowler to handle upfront. The left-arm pacer amassed impressive numbers in his IPL career.
He featured in 82 games and took 90 wickets. But then, it was the consistency with which he took his wickets that made him the ‘go-to’ man for his side. Singh’s strike rate of 19.72 certifies the same.
Singh played for 5 franchises in his career. He started off with Deccan Chargers, then switched to the Kochi Tuskers, and spent one year with Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and the Rising Pune Supergiant. Singh enjoyed his most successful phase with the Deccan Chargers. He won the Purple Cap in the 2009 IPL season, taking 23 wickets, and helping the Adam Gilchrist-led side to the trophy.
He played his final IPL match on 10th May 2016 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).