In the early days of IPL, an icon player category was there to draw local support for city/state-based teams. In this arrangement, some of the biggest names in Indian cricket were asked to play for their respective city/state teams. The initial inclusions in the category were Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab), Rahul Dravid (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians) and Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders). Later, Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils) and VVS Laxman (Deccan Chargers) were also included at the insistence of their respective teams.
With time, the icon player category has gone out of the window but teams still buy local talent. That means most established IPL stars have played for their respective city/state teams at least once in their IPL career. While some like MS Dhoni don’t have a state team, a handful of players who belong to participating city/state teams are yet to represent them. Here’re the 5 of them.
1. Virat Kohli:
Virat Kohli was born and brought up in Delhi. But the current India captain was never a part of Delhi Capitals, formerly Delhi Daredevils. Instead, he has played his entire IPL cricket for Royal Challengers Bangalore. As a captain, he is yet to lead RCB to a title win. But, as a player, he has set standards. In 192 outings for RCB, King Kohli has amassed 5878 runs, averaging 38.16 and striking at 130.73. Add to it 39 half-centuries and 5 centuries, the records become outstanding.
2. Dinesh Karthik:
Dinesh Karthik has hopped from one team to the other in 14 years of his IPL career. The wicketkeeper-batsman played the initial three seasons for Delhi Daredevils before shifting to Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) for one edition in 2011. Mumbai Indians picked him in 2012 for two seasons. Karthik returned to Delhi Daredevils in 2014 and joined Royal Challengers Bangalore a year later. He had a stint with Gujarat Lions before representing Kolkata Knight Riders. Despite playing for 6 teams, the Tamil Nadu player is yet to play for Chennai Super Kings, his city team.
3. Harbhajan Singh:
Harbhajan has been a standout performer in international cricket as well as IPL. With 160 dismissals in 160 matches, Bhajji is one of the leading wicket-takers in IPL history. Though he was born in Jalandhar, Punjab, he never played for his state team in IPL. Harbhajan made his IPL debut for MI in 2008 and shifted to CSK in 2018. In the 2021 edition, he’ll be playing for KKR.
4. Jasprit Bumrah:
One of the best pacers on the international and IPL circuits, Jasprit Bumrah makes life hell for batsmen with a lively pace, pinpoint accuracy and in-dipping yorkers. He hails from Punjab and brought up in Gujarat. However, he never featured in either of the state teams, even when Gujarat Lions was a part of IPL. Bumrah was bought by MI in 2012 and has persisted with him ever since.
5. Shreyas Iyer:
The Indian middle-order bat has represented just one team in his entire career. And, that’s not his home team Mumbai Indians but Delhi Capitals. In six IPL editions, he scored 2200 runs in 79 outings at a decent strike rate of 126.07. Since he took over the captaincy from Gautam Gambhir in 2018, Delhi Capitals had a turnaround, from a struggling team to a title contender.
Representing the home team in the Indian Premier League is an honour and responsibility. And these players are beloved by their fans.