Ever since the first edition of the Indian Premier League, the rule regarding number of foreign players has been that teams can include four foreign players in their playing XI. In 2011, Mumbai Indians were the exception to the norm as they picked five players to win the Champions League Twenty20 tournament. However, in the game between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings at the Feroz Shah Kotla, a rare sight was witnessed. Delhi Capitals chose to bat and during the announcement of the teams, the hosts made one change with Trent Boult being left out and Chennai Super Kings announcing an unchanged squad.
MS Dhoni’s side had fielded just three foreigners in their opening game but Delhi Capitals’ omission of Boult also left them with just three foreigners. For Chennai Super Kings, the foreign players were Australia’s Shane Watson, former West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and South Africa’s Imran Tahir while for Delhi Capitals, their foreign players were South Africa duo of Colin Ingram and Kagiso Rabada as well as West Indies pacer Keemo Paul.
This was not the first time that teams had fielded less than four foreign players. The previous instance also took place at the Feroz Shah Kotla in 2017 in the game between Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in which both sides fielded three foreigners each. In the Royal Challengers Bangalore side, the three foreign players were Chris Gayle, Travis Head and Watson. For Delhi Daredevils, the three players were Marlon Samuels, Corey Anderson and Pat Cummins.
The 2011 encounter between Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders was also unique in that MS Dhoni’s side fielded four foreigners but Kolkata Knight Riders included only two foreigners. In the encounter at Chepauk, Kolkata Knight Riders included only Eoin Morgan and Jacques Kallis but Chennai Super Kings won the game by two runs.
As the IPL has progressed, teams need not rely on foreign power to help them balance the composition of the squad. The amount of talent available among the Indian contingent is good enough and teams are confident to include more Indian players in the Indian Premier League.