IPL 2019: Players who could be playing their last season

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The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set foo begin from March 23 onwards. With each passing moment, the excitement is building up as teams have gathered to start their pre-season preparations. This is the final week to sort everything out before the season opener gets underway in Chennai. IPL 2019 is set to continue from where it left off last season.
The tournament has delivered the entertainment in every season without any fail. And that has been the hallmark. Over the years several legends graced the IPL and with time, they took a call on their career to bid farewell from the coveted T20 league. IPL 2019 has several veterans plying their trades. And many of them could be in for a final showdown in this tournament.
This makes the season interesting as players will be looking to make the most out of everything before the swan song. Here we figure out 7 players who might be playing their last season in the IPL.

Harbhajan Singh – Chennai Super Kings

Harbhajan Singh of Chennai Super Kings celebrates fall of Lokesh Rahul’s wicket during an IPL 2018 match between Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings (Image: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

Harbhajan Singh has been one of the most decorated players of the IPL. The veteran, who made his IPL debut in 2008, has gone on to win four IPL titles. His statistics in itself is a testament to his character. Bhajji was a driving force for Mumbai Indians over the years. He joined CSK in 2018 and had instant success. He also won the IPL trophy in 2017.
After a decent show in IPL 2018, CSK retained his services. The veteran player has taken 134 scalps from an astounding 149 IPL matches. He has been a go to player.  However, with age and fitness issues nearing, one might see him calling curtains on his career. Bhajji is 38 years old and one may see him give his all for CSK this year. He was recently seen doing commentary stints.

Yuvraj Singh – Mumbai Indians

Yuvraj Singh plays a shot for KXIP In IPL 11. (Image: cricketaddictor.com)

The famed southpaw flopped badly for Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2018. Yuvraj managed just 65 runs from eight matches. The senior cricketer seemed to have lost his touch and the flair he once had. Yuvi found no takers initially in the IPL 2019 Auction. The celebrated cricketer was given a lifeline after Mumbai Indians decided to get him.
With age catching up and Yuri not being mobile on the field, time could be running out for the former Indian cricketer. Post IPL 2019, one could see him retire from the game altogether. He has been contemplating on the same. Fans will hope that the 37-year-old star goes out with a bang and pays off MI’s trust. He has scored 2,652 runs from 128 matches.

Lasith Malinga – Mumbai Indians

Lasith Malinga in action for MI. (Image: cricpics.wordpress.com)

Lasith Malinga is preparing for one final shot in the IPL. It was strange to see him making himself available as a player in the auction. Last year he worked as a mentor for Mumbai and didn’t play. So coming back as a player means that IPL’s all-time leading wicket-taker could show his mettle for one last time.
Malinga will represent Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup 2019 and perhaps the IPL will help him get much needed practice. Although, it remains to be seen how many games he gets to play. MI have a pool of pacers and Malinga doesn’t has lost pace considerably. He isn’t that lethal anymore. He has 154 IPL wickets from 11o matches.

Shane Watson – Chennai Super Kings

Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson scamper for a run in IPL 2018. (Image: Sportzwiki)

The well-built Australian all-rounder could call it a day after the upcoming edition of IPL 2019. Watson has played non-stop T20 cricket across global leagues and it will be an important decision for him given the workload and the necessity to maintain the fitness levels. He was the hero for CSK, when they knocked out SRH in IPL 2018 final. This year his influence will be immense.
Although, Watson can deliver the goods pretty often, fitness concerns could ideally make him hang his boots. His reflexes on the field has slowed down and the Aussie is injury-prone as well. Skipper MS Dhoni will not risk him with bowling workload. Watson will be wanting to have a big say in CSK’s fortunes this season. He has scored 3,177 runs in 117 IPL matches.

Chris Gayle – Kings XI Punjab

Chris Gayle plays a shot against England in the first ODI. (Image: Twitter @ICC)

Chris Gayle has been in solid form in recent times and his boundary hitting abilities makes him a dangerous prospect. Gayle, who is set to retire from ODIs post the World Cup, could also move away from the IPL. He is approaching 40 and he is no more the runner, who can rotate the strike and take important singles and twos.
The Universe Boss has achieved everything in the IPL and a trophy is what eludes him. Perhaps, this could be his year with KXIP.  He was also a last-minute buy in IPL 2018 when Preity Zinta bagged him for his base price of INR 2 crores. However, he repaid them brilliantly by knocking it on a regular basis. Gayle has scored 3,994 runs in 112 matches.

Wriddhiman Saha – Sunrisers Hyderabad

Wriddhiman Saha in a training session for India. (Image: circleofcricket.com)

The experienced wicket-keeper batsman from Bengal has represented four different franchises across eleven editions. Saha, who won his only IPL title with the Chennai Super Kings back in 2011, has amassed 1,679 runs at a strike-rate of 129.85. Last season, the veteran keeper was dismal for SRH and hardly got going.
Injuries and poor form have taken a toll. He has lost his place in the Indian Test team as well and a return looks unlikely. Last  season he managed just 122 runs in eleven matches for Kane Williamson’s men. Saha was released ahead of the 2019 Auction, but was bought back by the Hyderabad franchise for INR 1.2 crore. Age, fitness and not much game time could signal his end.

Murali Vijay – Chennai Super Kings

M Vijay during a press conference for CSK. (Image: alhubeco.com)

Murali Vijay has endured a difficult time with the bat in the Test circuit for India. He has lost his place once again after a dismal Australia series. The veteran is no more agile with the bat and poor form could signal the end for him in international cricket. As far IPL is concerned, Vijay is a back-up option for CSK.
With the likes of Watson, Ambati Rayudu and Fat du Plessis above him in the pecking order, Vijay may hardly get a game. Last season, he played only one game for Chennai in which he managed just 12 runs. The Tamil Nadu star who will turn 35 on April 1, is unlikely to feature in the next edition of the IPL given both his age and form.
 
 

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