Ten days into IPL 5, and there are a number of players who haven't pulled above their weight. Here's a look at how some of the costliest players have performed in the tournament so far.
Yusuf Pathan – Five matches, 23 runs, avg 5.75, 0 wickets
After a solid IPL in 2010 in which he cored a memorable 37-ball hundred against Mumbai Indians - an innings Shane Warne called the best he had ever seen – Yusuf Pathan was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for $2.1 million in January 2011. He had an average IPL 4, failing to score a half-century but taking 13 wickets to finish as KKR's second-highest wicket-taker. In season five, however, Yusuf has been very ordinary.
The 29-year-old, who recently recovered from a knee injury and is determined to work his way back into the Indian limited-overs team, has managed 23 runs in five innings – one of which was 15 in one outing – and hasn’t taken a wicket while conceding runs at 8.71 an over. In Kolkata's defeat to Delhi Daredevils he walked out at No. 5 with his team struggling at 30 for 3 in the third over and was out for a four-ball 0. Yusuf's dismissal was an odd one; trying to duck what he thought was a short delivery, Yusuf misjudged the bounce and gloved to the wicketkeeper. In the second match, another defeat to Rajasthan Royals, Yusuf gave away 28 runs in two overs before scoring 15 off 14 balls. In the next game he came out at No. 4 and made 1, caught at point of all places. Yusuf was not called on to bowl as KKR beat Royal Challengers Bangalore. In the second game against Rajasthan he was at the crease when Kolkata won a tense encounter, having steered a much-needed boundary in the penultimate over, but a four-ball 0 against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday was a real blob.
Brendon McCullum – two matches, 11 runs, avg 5.50
Yusuf's top-order team-mate Brendon McCullum has been a disaster in IPL 5. Purchased for $900,000 in this year's auction after the Kochi franchise was terminated, McCullum opened in two matches this season before he was dumped for the last match as KKR chose to field just three foreign players, a strong message to the New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman. In both matches he was dismissed by a left-arm spinner; against Delhi he made 9 before he rapped on the pads by Roelof van der Merwe when going back in his crease, and against Rajasthan repeated the same shot to Ankeet Chavan and was gone for 2.
The man whose brutal 158 in the inaugural IPL match was recently rated as the best innings of the tournament by a cricket website, looks a pale imitation of that swashbuckler in his second innings with Kolkata.
Murali Vijay – five matches, 31 runs, avg 6.20
Murali Vijay was one of four players retained by Chennai Super Kings ahead of the 2011 IPL auction, on the basis of his success for the franchise in seasons 2 and three. He rewarded that decision with a strong IPL 4 and Champions League Twenty20 performance, but since fading out of the reckoning for India’s Test team the Tamil Nadu opener has been a flop. In three matches Vijay has failed to bat out the Powerplay overs.
Against Mumbai Indians he batted 17 balls for ten runs, chipping an easy catch to mid-on; against Deccan Chargers he was bowled in the first over by slow left-arm spinner Ankit Sharma; against Delhi he was run out without facing a ball; against Bangalore he made 11 off 15 balls before popping a catch back to Muttiah Muralitharan; and against Pune Warriors India Vijay pottered around the Powerplays for 8 of 10 before hitting his 11th ball straight to a fielder in the deep. Certainly not what Chennai's owners were banking on when they invested good money in one of their star home-grown talents, and after Yusuf he remains the biggest flop so far of IPL 5.
Suresh Raina – five matches, 112 runs, avg. 22.40, one wicket
Suresh Raina has a superb Twenty20 pedigree, but in IPL 5 he has struggled to express himself. Its not that he hasn’t been able to get starts; he has got into double-digits in every innings but figures of 36, 16, 17, 23 and 20 cut a sorry return for such a reliable player.
In the IPL 5 opener Raina looked pristine while sashaying his way to a 26-ball 36 before slapping Lasith Malinga out to sweeper cover. That wicket cued a collapse as CSK ended on a disappointing 112 in 19.5 overs. Then against Deccan he played a crude hoick across the line for 16; against Delhi he smoked two sixes only to call for a non-existent single; he turned in another brief appearance against Bangalore, smacking 23 from 14 balls; and against Pune he got to 20 before needlessly attempting a big shot.
As one of Chennai's most expensive and experienced players, Raina's poor run of form is a continuation of his recent form for India. Clearly something is amiss.
Sourav Ganguly – four matches, 55 runs, avg. 13.75
His team sits currently at second place on the points table, but that owes little to Sourav Ganguly's form with the bat. In four innings he has looked out of shape, out of touch and – keeping with tradition – a hopeless runner between the wickets. In the first match he was stumped having missed the ball by a mile; against Punjab he failed to read a slower ball which he lobbed to mid-off; against Punjab he first sold Jesse Ryder down the river and then, after hitting two tasty drives, got a leading edge to point; and against Chennai he was run out even after putting an a dive, something very un-Ganguly like.
As long as Pune keep winning, the team’s owners may not make a fuss about Ganguly's indecisive running and lack of runs. But knowing the combatant the former India captain is, his poor run of form will rankle. After all, some part of the $400,000 that was spent on him was surely about contributions from the bat.
Parthiv Patel – two matches, 21 runs, avg 10.50
The requirement for a reliable wicketkeeper-batsman prompted Deccan's owners to fork out $650,000 for Parthiv Patel whose base price had been set at $200,000. Perhaps they were swayed by the fact that he had been a part of India's ODI squad for much of the past year, or maybe it was because they were just desperate. But in two matches so far, Parthiv has scores 21 runs – 20 in one innings – and failed to effect a dismissal from behind the stumps.
Against Chennai he missed a slog-sweep and against Mumbai he steered a catch to first slip. With the gloves, his 'keeping has been generally reliable but two leg-byes in the 20th over of each game, apart from an underarm throw that needed to hit the stumps, were glaring errors.