Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most widely followed T20 leagues around the globe. However, the staging of IPL 2020 continues to be a mystery with growing concerns due to Coronavirus‘s widespread effects. With a 21-day lockdown imposed in India, it is highly likely that IPL 2020 is in line to be canceled this year.
This would be a great loss to some of the players who are nearing the twilight in their careers. With IPL, a lot of players get an opportunity to spend two months of rigorous cricketing action in India. IPL cancellation would also mean that some of the players might even not get any further opportunities in IPL 2021.
Let's take a look at 5 players who might have featured in their IPL match in 2019:
1. Harbhajan Singh
The veteran Indian off-spinner, Harbhajan Singh has had his fair share of success in IPL over the last 12 years. Harbhajan has been a part of four IPL title-winning teams. He has won three IPL titles with Mumbai Indians in 2013, 2015, and 2017 before he shifted bases to join Chennai Super Kings' winning outfit in IPl 2018.
However, after playing 160 IPL matches, it seems curtains for the experienced off-spinner as far as his IPL journey is concerned. With a mega-auction scheduled to take place in IPL 2021, it will be no surprise if Singh fails to induce any bid in the auction for the next year's IPL.
2. Lasith Malinga
Lasith Malinga has been the most successful bowler in IPL history. A champion in T20Is, Malinga has been a vital cog for Mumbai's in each of their IPL winning campaigns. However, the road ahead seems difficult for the Sri Lankan legend. Despite playing a match-winning role in IPL Final 2019, it seems that Malinga will have to relinquish IPL bowling duties next year.
The 37-year old is a liability in the field and has witnessed a considerable dip in his bowling speed. With time, batters have figured out ways of playing his variations, reducing his effectiveness in the shortest version. While it looks highly unlikely that Mumbai will bid again for Malinga in IPL next year, it would be really tough for him even if he manages to put up a great show in the T20 World Cup 2020 for Sri Lanka.
3. Imran Tahir
The Purple Cap winner in IPL 2019, Imran Tahir was a real hit for Chennai Super Kings in IPL last year. With 25 wickets in IPL 2019, Tahir played a pivotal role in guiding CSK to the IPL final. However, it seems that Tahir might have had his role to offer in the tournament. With an IPL 2020 cancellation almost on the cards, it would be nearly impossible for Tahir to induce a bid in next year's mega-auction in 2021. With age not being on his side, teams might prefer and consider young leg-spinners who can be further groomed for the next three years.
4. Chris Gayle
One of the most devastating T20 players around the globe, Chris Gayle has been highly successful even in the IPL. Gayle, who saw the IPL on fire earlier with RCB, has been associated with Kings XI Punjab for the last two years. There's no doubt that with his muscular strength, the southpaw still happens to be one of the most powerful hitters in the cricketing world.
Despite his hitting abilities, it is much obvious that Gayle might have no further role to play in IPL next year. This simply means that IPL 2019 was definitely his last IPL in the tournament history.
5. Dale Steyn
The fearsome South Africa pacer, Dale Steyn is one of the appreciated bowlers of all-time. His pace and ability to bowl consistently is a captain's delight in any format. However, in the recent past, Steyn has gone off-color, especially in the limited-overs format. He has been made an easy target and has leaked runs. Even in the last IPL, Steyn joined RCB for a couple of matches and couldn't continue further due to his injury.
If IPL 2020 gets canceled, it can be assumed that IPL 2019 was the last IPL that he played for RCB. It will be a herculean task for the Proteas' bowler to feature in the league further in the next season.