Who are the very best IPL players of all time? We’ve picked our ultimate IPL legends XI – do you agree with our picks?
The Indian Premier League has seen some extraordinary performances from the best T20 players to have graced the game. Therefore, picking a balanced XI of great IPL players was no easy task, but we’ve given it a crack.
We wanted a balanced XI, so here’s who we believe are the best IPL players of all time in batting order.
David Warner has been amongst the most prolific run-scorers in the tournament, and makes a good case for being its best foreign player of all time. The left-hander is fourth on the list of all-time run scorers, having aggregated 4,706 runs at a strike-rate of 142.39. His average of 43.17 is significantly higher than the rest of the top five, the next best being Virat Kohli, who averages 37.84.
Warner led Sunrisers Hyderabad to their sole IPL triumph in 2016, becoming the third overseas captain to win the tournament. He has won the Orange Cap thrice in his career, more than any other player.
The man who transformed Mumbai Indians from a franchise desperate for a trophy to the most successful team in the tournament, Rohit Sharma has a special bond with the IPL. He has lifted the trophy five times – more than any other player – and has led MI on four of those occasions.
Rohit won his first IPL title with the Deccan Chargers, in the second edition in 2009, before claiming four titles in seven seasons with the Mumbai Indians, from 2013 to 2019. He is the third-highest run-getter in the history of IPL, scoring 4898 runs at 31.60.
Royal Challengers Bangalore might not have won the trophy so far, but their skipper remains one of the best batsmen in the competition. Kohli leads the run charts with 5412 runs in 177 matches, and is the only player in the tournament to have represented the same side in all 12 seasons.
Kohli had a freak season in 2016, smashing 973 runs at an unprecedented average of 81.08, including four hundreds. He was declared the MVP of the tournament in that season, becoming only the second Indian to win that award after Sachin Tendulkar.
An IPL monster, Raina, apart from Kohli, is the only player to have aggregated over 5000 runs. He won back-to-back editions with the Chennai Super Kings, in 2010, when he was their top scorer, and then again in 2011.
He then moved to Gujarat Lions during CSK’s two-year suspension, but returned to the yellow brigade thereafter, as CSK won the title for the third time, in 2018. Raina also holds the record of playing the most number of matches in the IPL: 193.
The only captain to have lifted the IPL trophy in consecutive years, Dhoni was a cornerstone of CSK’s tremendous success, with his astute leadership and blazing batsmanship. He has captained in 11 of the 12 seasons he’s played in, with 2017, his second season with Rising Pune Supergiant, being the lone exception.
Despite batting in the lower middle-order through most of the competition, Dhoni is the seventh-highest run-getter, with 4432 runs at 42.20. He has also smashed the third most sixes in the competition (209), only behind AB de Villiers (212) and Chris Gayle (326).
Bravo is one of the best West Indies players to have played in the league. Known for his death bowling and an impeccable slower ball, Bravo is the fifth-highest wicket-taker in tournament history, and the second among fast bowlers.
The all-rounder has snared 147 scalps at 24.60 and has won two Purple Caps, in 2013 and 2015. He is also an electric fielder and a big striker as a lower-order batsman. With fiery dance moves and an easy smile to boot, Bravo’s colourful character makes him one of the biggest fan favourites in the competition.
Another tall and burly all-rounder from the West Indies, Russell has forged his unique brand in the competition. Player of the Tournament in 2015 and 2019, the Jamaican has been one of KKR’s most important players over the years.
Russell was in extraordinary form last year, bludgeoning 510 runs at 56.66, striking at over 204. He also picked up 11 wickets in the season.
Overall, he has accumulated 1400 runs and claimed 55 scalps in 64 games. Russell also lifted the IPL trophy with KKR in 2014.
One of Dhoni’s most trusted players in the CSK outfit, Jadeja is an indispensable member of the side. With 108 wickets across 12 seasons, Jadeja is among the top 10 wicket-takers in the IPL.
However, he brings a lot more than just his left-arm. An electric fielder and a clean striker, Jadeja adds balance to a T20 outfit, particularly on the spin-friendly surface at Chepauk, the Super Kings’ home ground.
Jadeja has also claimed 63 catches in the competition. He was the winner of the inaugural edition of the IPL with Rajasthan Royals, before picking up the trophy once again with CSK in 2018.
With 122 scalps in 110 games, Narine is the most successful overseas bowler in the IPL. One of the key performers for KKR in their title wins in 2012 and 2014, he remains one of their most important players ahead of the 2020 edition.
Narine had a superb season in 2018, finishing as the tournament’s MVP. He picked up 17 wickets and smashed 357 runs that year.
Over the latter phase of his IPL career, Narine has developed into an exciting hitter at the top of the order. KKR have deployed him as an opener on multiple occasions, and he has delivered smashing starts more often than not. His 15-ball half century against RCB in 2017 is the joint-second fastest fifty in the competition.
The highest wicket-taker in the IPL, Malinga’s legacy is entrenched in the IPL record books, as well as in the hearts of Mumbai Indians fans. The Sri Lanka pacer has claimed 170 wickets at an average of 19.80, giving away just 7.14 runs per over. What’s remarkable is Malinga has played significantly lesser matches than every other bowler in the top five, and still sits above them comfortably.
Malinga put in a remarkable performance in Mumbai’s victory over CSK in the 2019 final, defending 13 in the last over to give them a record fourth title. He was also a recipient of the Purple Cap in the 2011 edition.