IPL Team of the Tournament

As in the the competition itself, our Indian Premier League Team of the Tournament is limited to just four international players. The rest is left to local Indian talent. Given the restraints and the need for balance, here are our finest XI.

As in the the competition itself, our Indian Premier League Team of the Tournament is limited to just four international players. The rest is left to local Indian talent. Given the restraints and the need for balance, here are our finest XI…

<B>1. Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Shikhar Dhawan (Deccan Chargers)</I><BR>Striking a whopping 39 more sixes than anyone else in this year's competition to finish with a chart-topping 733 runs from 14 innings, the big-hitting West Indian had no rival this year. A little bit more follow-through from Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers around him, though, would have been appreciated.

<B>2. Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders, captain)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Ajinkya Rahane (Rajasthan Royals)</I><BR>Carrying his franchise to their maiden title, the veteran left-hander led by example with the bat in amassing a tally second only to Gayle. His ballsy approach to the bigger calls, like okaying the selection of Manvinder Bisla ahead of Brendon McCullum for the final, typified Kolkata's audaciousness in general.

<B>3. Jacques Kallis (Kolkata Knight Riders)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore)</I><BR>While Bisla's knock in the final came as an isolated triumph, fans must not forget the contribution of the South African all-rounder through the round-robin. Unwavering in his contribution, Kallis has done his chances of securing a World Twenty20 berth a great deal of good.

<B>4. Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Ambati Rayudu (Mumbai Indians)</I><BR>Unlike the Gambhirs and Rohits of the tournament, Raina didn't sport one big knock to largely define his 2012 campaign. Instead, the left-hander enjoyed telling 30s and 40s with great regularity throughout the round-robin. He saved his best for last, but Sunday's 73 ultimately proved in vain.

<B>5. Robin Uthappa (Pune Warriors, wicketkeeper)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Naman Ojha (Delhi Daredevils)</I><BR>The Pune outfit at least have the impressive showing of Uthappa to show for an otherwise lame, stone-last finish in their second IPL campaign. Often needing to pick up the slack left by Jesse Ryder and Sourav Ganguly's inadequacies, the right-hander dutifully delivered. The part-time wicketkeeper also held his own among the tournament specialists.

<B>6. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Mahela Jayawardene (Delhi Daredevils)</I><BR>Requiring a big series to truly set himself apart from the host of India's new school, in Twenty20 cricket at least, Sharma cashed in this year. His cavalier century against the eventual champions won't be forgotten when it comes to penning the World Twenty20 squad. Pivotal to his Deccan Chargers berth in the past, his part-time spin was hardly required at Mumbai.

<B>7. Ravindra Jadeja (Chennai Super Kings)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Steven Smith (Pune Warriors)</I><BR>Recruited for a hefty sum, many questioned the addition of Jadeja to the Chennai fold. He promptly answered his critics, not stealing the show but digging in consistently around the bigger names. The only Indian to challenge in both the batting and bowling charts, one wonders why MS Dhoni opted not to bowl him in the final…

<B>8. Umesh Yadav (Delhi Daredevils)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Vinay Kumar (Royal Challengers Bangalore)</I><BR>There were many pretenders among the Indian seam ranks this year, but only two truly came to the party. It was neck and neck between Kumar and Yadav, but ultimately the latter takes the spot. Key to Twenty20 cricket is partnerships, not just in batting, as attested by Yadav and Morkel's consistent alliance.

<B>9. Morne Morkel (Delhi Daredevils)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians)</I><BR>Only the Delhi brains trust can answer for why the South African seamer was snubbed for Friday's all-important qualifier, but Morkel finished the tournament's top wicket-taker regardless. His 25 scalps included a fine four-for against the Kings XI Punjab and a string of figures that defied the beating most seamers took across the small grounds in India.

<B>10. Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Muttiah Muralitharan (Royal Challengers Bangalore)</I><BR>600,000 American dollars and other rich royalties received for his Player of the Tournament performance, the West Indian can look back on his choice to forgo a potential Test debut against Australia or England as a decision well made. With his bank balance brimming, he can now focus on more limited-overs action in the United Kingdom.

<B>11. Iqbal Abulla (Kolkata Knight Riders)</B><BR><I>Close, but no: Ravichandran Ashwin (Chennai Super Kings)</I><BR>The Ying to Narine's Yang, Iqbal wrestled a stranglehold over the run-rate while his partner in spin sniped the wickets from the other end. His cheap figures and dismissal of Mahela Jayawardnene in the first qualifier effectively put his side straight into the final.