The Indian Premier League is inarguably the most decorated and successful T20 League in the World of cricket.
Cricket fraternity rates IPL as a Mini T20 World Cup and for all the right reasons. Firstly, it provides a platform for both budding cricketers and many T20 greats to compete together in such an electrifying atmosphere.
Secondly, both the sets of players get to learn immensely among each others’ company and under the guidance and supervision of legendary cricketers who have now turned as coaches and mentors. That contributes significantly to a cricketer’s development.
In the last twelve editions, we, the cricket fans have been fortunate to witness many modern day cricketing greats stamping their authority in the cash rich tournament.
Be it batting, bowling or fielding, there have been players who have been instrumental in taking the Indian T20 tournament game on a completely different horizon with their cricketing prowess.
On that note, let’s have a look at the players who make it to the greatest XI in IPL history.
Top Order – David Warner, Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli
Three-time orange cap recipient and the leading run-scorer among the foreign cricketers, David Warner becomes a dominating force at the opening slot. Since 2014, Warner has struck 34 half-centuries and 2 centuries. Not to forget, he even led the Sunrisers to an IPL title win in the 2016 edition.
To accompany him at the top and ensure the evergreen left-hand right-hand combination, one certainly can’t think of any player other than Rohit Sharma.
Hitman, as people call him, is the most successful captain in IPL and has led the Mumbai Indians to titles on four occasions (2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019). And thus, it comes naturally for him to be appointed as the captain of an All-Time IPL XI.
At No 3 comes Virat Kohli, the king of limited overs cricket, someone who has so far scored 5412 runs and sits atop the highest run-getters tally in IPL.
His insatiable hunger for runs coupled with his dedication has made him one of the legends of the game. He was on a rampage in the 2016 season, aggregating 973 runs in 16 games at a strike rate of over 150.
Middle Order – Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya, and Andre Russell
Suresh Raina or Mr IPL would handle the No 4 spot in All-Time IPL XI. Chinna Thala, as the fans from Tamil Nadu call him by, has been one of the most consistent run-getters in IPL.
The southpaw holds 38 fifties under his belt and with 5368 runs, he ranks second on the list of highest run-scorers in the history of IPL.
Now comes the wicket-keeper batsman for All-Time IPL XI and who better than the captain Cool – Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It won’t be wrong to say that he’s the sharpest mind in limited overs cricket.
A terrific game reader and an intuitive person, MSD has on spot with his wicket-keeping and batting abilities. Averaging 42.20 in 170 Innings and a strike rate of 1327.82, Mahi has been the core contributor to many of CSK’s wins in IPL.
He has affected 133 dismissals behind the stumps and can be dubbed as one of the greatest wicket-keepers in the shortest format.
The Indian Premier League has contributed a lot to Hardik Pandya’s rise as a cricketer in T20 cricket. Known for his big-hits and finishing abilities for Mumbai Indians in the death overs, Hardik’s inclusion comes naturally into the greatest IPL XI.
He would be an ideal pick at No 6, a spot which has brought out his best as a batsman in the Indian T20 tournament. In 18 Innings, the Baroda lad has scored 437 runs at an average of 43.70 and a jaw-dropping strike rate of 186.75.
With the ball, he has been a partnership breaker on a number of occasions and has scalped 42 wickets to date.
Caribbean muscle Andre Russell looks like the most valuable player in T20 cricket at present. A monstrous strike rate of 186.42 and the tally of 120 sixes give a glimpse of how lethal he can be when playing in IPL.
Moreover, he takes wickets at regular intervals and so far has scraped 55 wickets to his name.
Spinners – Harbhajan Singh and Rashid Khan
Harbhajan Singh and Rashid Khan would be the perfect spin duo for this All-Time IPL XI. The off-spinner has been an integral member for both Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, and third on the list of highest wicket takers with 150 wickets and averaging a decent 26.42.
He can bat on occasions, with his knock of 64 vs Kings XI Punjab in 2015 edition being a testimony to the same.
Meanwhile, Rashid is already rated by many as the greatest leg-spinner in history of T20s. Talking about his record in IPL, he averages around 21, and has bagged 55 wickets in 46 appearances.
The Afghani spinner bowls at an economy of 6.55 and is notorious for troubling the batsmen a lot in his allotted overs. His leg-breaks and googlies have got the better of well-set cricketers on numerous occasions in the limited-overs format.
Pacers – Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Lasith Malinga
At No 10, comes the Indian swing sensation – Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The right-arm medium pacer won purple caps in 2016 and 2017 editions for picking up 23 and 26 wickets respectively, making him the go-to man of Sunrisers Hyderabad in crunch situations. Mind you, he knows the art of late swing which he has used time and again to dismiss lower-order batsmen.
Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga’s inclusion into the All-Time IPL XI comes as a no-brainer.
Fondly called by the cricket fans as Slinga-Malinga, the pacer has played a key role for Mumbai Indians from the first edition of IPL and has led them to victories on numerous occasions.
With his swinging yorkers and unorthodox bowling action, Malinga has managed to grab 170 wickets in 122 Innings and has averaged just 19.80 with 6 four wicket hauls to his name. He is the highest wicket taker in IPL to date.
The bowling maestro had a dream run with the ball in 2011 edition, where he ended up with 28 wickets at an average of 13.39.
And who can forget, the final delivery of IPL 2019 wherein he dismissed Shardul Thakur for an LBW!
No wonder why he is called as the greatest bowler to have played IPL.
All Time IPL XI
David Warner, Rohit Sharma ©, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Andre Russell, Harbhajan Singh, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Lasith Malinga