The IPL has seen some of the greatest cricketing talents make a mark in the shortest format of the game. These high-profile players increase the appeal of the most lucrative sports league in the world. Australia has often been one of the biggest talent providers in the IPL, right from the first season, when 16 Australian players were picked up by the 8 franchises.
Even in IPL 2020, 19 Australian players participated, making Australia the most well represented nation after India. Australia has often dominated cricket in all 3 formats, most noticeably winning 3 consecutive ODI World Cups. Some of the best players in Australian history have also plied their trade in the IPL over the years, winning multiple titles and individual awards along the way. Let’s take a look at the top 10 Australian cricketers to have played in the IPL since its inception.
10. Pat Cummins – Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders
The most expensive player at the 2020 IPL auction, Pat Cummins is a Rolls Royce of a cricketer. Purchased for a whopping Rs 15.50 crores by the Kolkata Knight Riders, Cummins is of the finest pace bowlers of our generation and he is also a very handy lower order batsman who uses his mighty frame to strike some massive blows.
Cummins already had 17 IPL wickets to his name while playing for the Delhi Daredevils, and will be looking forward to his third full season with KKR now. In IPL 2020, Cummins did not quite hit the heights that were expected of him, however with IPL 2021 happening in India as planned, his blistering pace and test experience will back him up in tough conditions, and we expect him to dominate and fight for the purple cap next season. He still managed to take 12 wickets in 14 matches and would be aiming to improve on that next season. Cummins also displayed his batting skills on a few occasions this season, proving that he can be a very handy batsman lower down the order, with some very big but clean hitting.
9. Glenn Maxwell – Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians
Probably the biggest hitter in the current Australian line-up, Maxwell, appropriately nicknamed “The Big Show”, is definitely a huge entertainer and a firm crowd-favourite in India. The all-rounder’s talent in unquestionable, but he has suffered from a lack of consistency throughout his career. Given a break by the Delhi Daredevils in 2012, Maxwell struggled to get game time initially.
However, with his international reputation going through the roof, he turned into a one-man-army for Kings XI Punjab in the 2014 edition of the IPL. Maxwell was in the best form of his career during that season, and lit the league up with his massive sixes. In 16 innings he scored 552 runs, with 279 of them coming in the first 3 matches of the season, in just 131 balls! Across the season, his strike-rate was 187, which is incredible considering he was also one of the highest run-scorers of the season. Chennai in particular were his favourite victims as he hammered 185 runs in just 81 balls over 2 innings against them. A mighty slogger of the white ball, Maxwell’s best areas are over mid-wicket and over long-on, however he has also innovated a few of the latest trending shots, including all kinds of scoops over the keeper as well as his trademark reverse-hit / reverse sweep, which he hits with such power that more often than not the ball clears the rope!
He is also a very handy bowling option and even opened the bowling attack last season. He has 19 IPL wickets to his name and is a good 6th option. Maxwell is also one of the best fielders in the world and has taken some absolutely blinding catches in the IPL over the last 8 years.
8. Shaun Marsh – Kings XI Punjab
Shaun Marsh lit the IPL alight in the inaugural season of the league, when he entered midway through the tournament and still ended up being the top scorer of the league. He was the winner of the first ever Orange Cap, as he scored 616 runs in just 11 innings, at an unbelievable average of 68.44. Born in a family of cricketers, Marsh was joined in the IPL by his brother Mitchell Marsh, a talented all-rounder who has yet to fully establish himself in the IPL.
Shaun had another brilliant season in 2011 when he scored 504 runs in just 13 innings. Overall he has scored 2477 runs in 69 innings at a solid average of 40, with 20 half centuries and 1 century, with his highest score being 115 in that remarkable first season.
7. Shane Warne – Rajasthan Royals
One of the biggest names to have ever graced the league, Shane Warne is a legend in every sense of the word. Widely regarded as the best leg-spinner to have played the sport, Warne is the standard all spinners are measured by these days.
Warne was picked up by the Rajasthan Royals in the inaugural season of the IPL, at the age of 39, and he continued playing into his 40s. Warne took the league by storm in his first season, as he along with Shane Watson took the team all the way to the final, eventually winning the inaugural edition of the IPL. Warne finished the first season with 18 wickets, however it was his mentorship across 4 seasons which was priceless for the franchise, which has always boasted about giving ample opportunities to young players. In total he took 56 wickets in 4 seasons at an impressive average of 14 per season, but it was his leadership which was inspirational. He is one of the few players who can be regarded as an IPL legend for just one glorious season.
Warne has left an incredible cricketing legacy. Many of his famous deliveries qualify for the tag of “ball of the century”, such was his ability to bamboozle batsmen with his variations. The leg-spinner has taken more than 1000 international wickets but had surprisingly never played T20 internationals before making his IPL debut, where he proved that he can more than hold his own in the shortest format of the game as well.
6. Steven Smith – Pune Warriors, Rising Pune Super Giants, Rajasthan Royals
Steven Smith is currently one of the best batsmen in the world, especially in test cricket. Even in ODI’s, Smith has been in sublime form of late, with 3 consecutive centuries against India in 2020.
Smith made his IPL debut back in 2012, playing for Pune. He played for 2 different Pune franchises, even reaching the final with RPS in 2017, when he was the captain of the side. It was his best season in the IPL as he scored 472 runs in 15 innings In his first season, he scored more than 350 runs without a single half century, a testament to his consistency with important knocks spread across the season. He enjoyed considerable success after moving back to the Rajasthan Royals, batting across the batting order and still posting decent totals. In total, he has scored 2333 runs in 86 innings, with 11 half centuries and 1 century.
5. Matthew Hayden – Chennai Super Kings
One of the best openers the world of cricket has ever seen, Hayden was already 37 years old when the IPL was inaugurated, and hence could only play 3 seasons for CSK, but boy did he do some damage in those 3 seasons. In the first season, he only played 4 matches towards the end and still almost scored 200 runs, with 2 half centuries as he helped CSK reach the final, finishing as runners-up.
In his second season he wreaked havoc with his infamous “Mongoose Bat”, as he scored 572 runs in just 12 innings, at an average of 52, which is amazing for an opener. He won the Orange Cap for being the top scorer of the league, as CSK lost in the semifinal. In 2010, he was again at his destructive best, as he scored 346 runs to help CSK finally win their first ever title. In total, Hayden had a short but prolific career, as he ended with 1107 runs in 32 innings across 3 seasons, reaching 2 finals and winning one of them as well as the Orange Cap.
4. Mike Hussey – Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings
Appropriately nicknamed “Mr Cricket”, Mike Hussey was a one of a kind cricketer. Famous for his remarkable consistency and concentration levels, Hussey could pace his innings better than any batsman of his generation. Hussey was a late bloomer in this sport, making his IPL debut at the age of 33, playing just 3 innings in his first season, but still ended it with a century to his name.
However, it wasn’t until he turned 35 that he made a major impact for CSK. In the 2011 season of the IPL, Hussey top scored for Chennai Super Kings with 492 runs as he helped them retain their title. He was a defending champion with CSK but could only play 3 matches in 2010 due to injury. Statistically speaking, 2013 was his best season in the IPL, as he hammered a staggering 733 runs, with six 50’s and a top score of 95, as CSK finished as the runners-up that season. In total, Hussey 1977 runs in 58 innings, at a very impressive average of 38.76, with 15 half centuries and one century. Hussey also played a few matches for Mumbai Indians, but his best displays were for CSK, as he won the title twice and top scored for them twice as well.
3. Adam Gilchrist – Deccan Chargers, Kings XI Punjab
Long back when the Hyderabad franchise was called the Deccan Chargers, their talismanic captain was the legendary keeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist. Gilly is regarded as one of the greatest wicketkeepers in the history of the game, undoubtedly the most successful keeper in ODI history as well, being a huge part of a hattrick of World Cups between 1999-2007, including a classic century against Sri-Lanka in the 2007 final, where he infamously stuffed a squash ball inside his glove!
In total he scored 2069 runs in 80 innings, which may not seem very impressive, but it was his performance and leadership in the 2009 edition of the league which made him an IPL legend. In the first two editions of the IPL, Gilly scored over 900 runs, with a highest score of 109*. But it was his frequent blasts in the 2009 edition which saw Deccan reach the final and then eventually win their first ever title. Delhi Daredevils in particular faced his wrath with full force, as he scored 64 off 33 and 85 off 35 in 2 innings against them. Gilchrist is one of the most high-profile players to have graced the IPL, and retired from all forms of cricket after the 2013 IPL season, which he played for Kings XI Punjab.
2. Shane Watson – Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings
One of the best all-rounders of our generation, Shane Watson has been a class apart in the IPL ever since the inaugural season. His longevity is unbelievable, as he won the MVP award back in 2008 and then almost led CSK to the title with a blinding knock in the final 11 years later.
Picked up by Rajasthan Royals in 2008, Watson went on to score 472 runs in 15 innings, and also took 17 wickets to emerge as the biggest reason behind the Royals’ title-winning campaign. He deservedly won the first ever MVP award also. In the 2013 season he crossed the 500 mark for the first time, before a disappointing spell with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
However, he quickly got back to his best after moving to CSK at the age of 37. In the 2018 season he scored a career-best 555 runs, with 2 centuries to show that age is just a number. His best season with the ball came for RCB in 2016, when he picked up 20 wickets, though he struggled massively with the bat. In the 2018 as well as 2019 final, Watson top scored for CSK. In the 2018 final he scored a brilliant 117 against SRH as CSK marched to their 3rd title. In 2019, he again played a brilliant innings of 80 against MI, but agonizingly fell short as they lost by 1 run in the end.
In total, Watson has scored 3874 runs in 141 innings, studded with 21 centuries and 4 centuries. Only Gayle and Kohli have scored more centuries than Watson, while Warner has also scored 4 centuries. Watson also picked up 92 wickets and 40 catches over the years, for a perfect all-round record.
1. David Warner – Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers Hyderabad
Regarded as one of the greatest players in IPL history, and easily the best foreigner to grace the league, David Warner is one of a kind. The only batsman with 3 Orange Caps (he is also the current holder of that award), Warner’s consistency matched with a strike rate of above 140 is shockingly impressive. In just 142 innings, he has clocked 5254 runs at an amazing average of above 42.71, despite being an opener throughout his IPL career.
Warner exploded on the IPL stage with the Delhi Daredevils back in 2009, and was a brilliant and consistent performer for them till 2013, when he moved to Sunrisers Hyderabad. Ever since that move, Warner has evolved in to one of the world’s most destructive openers in all 3 formats of the game. He was made captain of the SRH team in 2015 and has led them by example over the years, none more so than in 2016 when he single-handedly won the title for them with his inspirational performances and leadership. In the 2020 edition, he managed to cross the 500-run mark for the 7th consecutive season, thereby proving to be the most consistent batsman in the league’s history.
Only Gayle (6) and Kohli (5) have scored more IPL centuries than Warner. He is also one of the best fielders the IPL has seen, with some tremendous catches and insane run-outs over the years. He would be looking to lead SRH to a 3rd title and also retain his Orange Cap for a record 4th award in IPL 2021.