After a series of Ball Difference based posts on IPL2014 it is time to find a Playing XI objectively. First a set of rules:

  • No more than 4 overseas players
  • At least 1 uncapped player
  • At least 4 bowlers, 2 fast and 2 slow
  • At least 1 allrounder
  • A wicketkeeper who kept wickets during IPL 2014
  • A captain who captained a team during IPL 2014

Playoff performances are not considered. 152 players participated in the double round robin phase. 60 overseas players compared to 92 Indians out of which 44 were uncapped.

Let us take a look at the most valuable players to pencil in those who select themselves.

IPL14MVP

Uthappa, Smith and Maxwell select themselves, We note that 2 of these are overseas players that means the selection of Duminy, Shakib and Warner is unlikely. Yuvraj and Jadeja are the contenders for allrounder spot. Akshar Patel selects himself as the uncapped player. There is little to separate Narine and Bhuvnesh who will fill two of the four spots reserved for bowlers.

Uthappa kept wickets for KKR so we don’t have to look for another wicketkeeper. Let use see who else would have been in contention.

IPL14-Wkt

Dhoni could make the cut as Captain and specialist wicketkeeper but his figures this season are not outstanding. He still remains in contention though.

IPL14-Capt

Captains did not lead by example. In case Watson is chosen for the Captain and Allrounder spot then we can’t select any other overseas player. Rohit Sharma was consistent in his average performances which is clear from the short black box. See this for details about G & µ and how a shorter difference between these 2 averages indicates the absence of few very good performances vis-a-vis multiple failures. Kohli is a case in point with a very tall black box. Even though the pool is very small, Dhoni still doesn’t make his case. This spot is still open.

We already found an uncapped player but we must take stock of how others performed.

IPL14-IUPG20

An uncapped batsman would have been welcome because 3 bowler spots are already taken. The fourth spot would ideally go to a genuinely fast bowler hence we can’t consider Karn Sharma, Chahal, Tambe, Rishi Dhawan, Bhatia or Sandeep Sharma. Only Karun Nair remains in contention.

Only 1 spot open for an overseas player. Let us look for an outstanding overseas allrounder.

IPL14-OvAl

Maxwell has selected himself. Shakib is a bowling allrounder and we are short on batsmen. Watson could fill the spot for Captain, batting all-rounder and a faster bowler. Faulkner does well as a late order batsman able to chase very quickly . Alas there aren’t enough berths. He has a faint chance to make the cut.

That means a lot of open spots for local players. Let us take a look at allrounders first.

IPL14-ICAl

Yuvraj and Jadeja are the only genuine contenders. Yuvraj wasn’t consistent. Jadeja was consistent but more so with his bowling hat. One or both could make it in the last XI due to lack of quality performances from domestic players.

We will first take a look at overseas players for the last bowling spot.

IPL14-OvBw

Sunil Narine is an automatic choice. Steyn, Starc and Malinga could all be considered as the sole really fast bowler. Malinga left early hence his tally of total points is lower but his average performance per match is higher than both Steyn and Starc. Malinga gets the nod for his band for µ – G which is both higher and narrower than the other two.

We now take a look at Indian bowlers to confirm who will fill the four berths.

IPL14-ICBw

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the best Indian bowler. Narine, Akshar Patel and Malinga meet the selection requirements. Ashwin was extremely consistent. Harbhajan was the star performer for Mumbai and would have earned more individual points had MI fared better collectively. They must consider themselves unfortunate as spots are open in the batting department only.

No more place for another overseas player but we must take a look at all overseas batsmen.

IPL14-OvBa

Dwayne Smith was an automatic choice. Warner could be considered for the #3 spot if another place was available. Lendl Simmons impressed in the few innings he played but both the openers are already selected.

We are still looking for at least 2 and a maximum of 3 players for their batting skills. Let us see how the Indian Capped Batsmen performed relative to each other.

IPL14-ICBt

Uthappa need not be discussed as he has spoken loud and clear with his bat. Kohli could be considered for the #3 spot but he failed more often than he succeded. Both Rayudu and Rohit Sharma performed at or below par and MI would have finished higher with better contibution from these two. Raina’s performances also went up and down. Dhoni’s performances discussed already. Sehwag had a decent series considering he does not represent India on an international stage at this point. Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan disappointed their fans. Uthappa upstaged Dinesh Karthik. Gambhir started miserably but lifted his performance to achieve moderate levels.

It will be selector’s decision as players have failed to select themselves by the sheer weight of numbers. Karun Nair, the uncapped player, after careful consideration was deemed not to make the cut. Rohit Sharma will be the captain and Rayudu will bat at #6. Both Yuvraj and Jadeja get the nod; one as batting and other as bowling allrounder.

The final Ball Difference Playing XI will be:

  • 4 overseas players: Dwayne Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Sunil Narine and Lasith Malinga.
  • 1 uncapped player: Akshar Patel
  • Bowlers: Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Malinga (fast) and Patel/Narine (slow)
  • 2 allrounders: Yuvraj Singh and Ravindra jadeja
  • Wicketkeeper Batsman: Robin Uthappa
  • Captain: Rohit Sharma
  • Remaining Player: Ambati Rayudu

Six teams find representation. No players from RR and DD. Fantasy XI rules dictate that at least one member from each team and no more than 2 players from any team are selected. In that case, Shane Watson would replace Rohit Sharma as captain and Mohammad Shami would replace Malinga as the fast bowler.

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