The Indian Premier League auctions are usually interesting. When the eight franchises get together to pick the ‘right players’ for a particular season, they follow a thumb rule of business – a player’s value is decided by the market and there is no place for non-performing assets.
And ahead of the 2021 auction, the franchises once again proved that they are looking at consistent performers and not necessarily at misfiring big names.
In the players retention on Wednesday, three top Australian cricketers – Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch – were released by their respective franchises because of their inconsistent show in the previous edition of the tournament.
While the contract of Smith – who led Rajasthan Royals in 2020 edition – expired last year, the franchise decided to let him go for the new season and promoted wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson as the captain.
While the franchise officials remained tight-lipped about the reason behind Smith’s ouster, Sportstar understands that the side’s disastrous outing last year – where it finished at the bottom of the table – prompted the franchise to take the tough call.
And having been in the system for years now, Samson has a clear understanding about the Royals’ way of operating things and that, many feel, will help in the longer run. “With the mega auction lined up next year, the franchises want to have a clearer picture as to where they stand and this is the perfect opportunity,” one of the market experts said.
With the auction set to be held in the second week of February, the franchises like Kings XI Punjab – which has a remaining purse of Rs 53.2 crore – have some time to get the house in order.
Despite having some of the biggest names in its ranks, Punjab, too, had a disastrous outing and that’s why the management decided to release a total of nine players – including two of its most expensive buys Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell. Among foreign players, it has also released James Neesham, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Hardus Viljoen, Karun Nair among others.
Senior players let go
The franchises like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians released its old guns – Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga. Both the players, who have been quite successful in the tournament, skipped the 2020 edition in Dubai citing personal reasons. And one of the franchise officials confirmed that in a bid to look at younger options, it was important to look beyond the relatively older cricketers.
Along with Harbhajan, Kedar Jadhav, Piyush Chawla and Murali Vijay were also let go by Chennai – which surprisingly retained Suresh Raina.
It is believed that the three-time winners decided to continue with Raina in order to bolster the batting order – an area that hurt it the most in the United Arab Emirates.
Window of opportunities
Royal Challengers retained most of its core members, even though it parted ways with Finch and Chris Morris. But the industry experts believe that it was an opportunity for the Virat Kohli-led franchise to look at young and untapped talents.
It’s a similar story for Delhi Capitals – which retained 19 players – and Kolkata Knight Riders – which has 18 players in its roster. Knights released Tom Banton and Chris Green among the foreign players and Siddhesh Lad, Nikhil Naik and M Siddharth among the Indians. But with Rs 10.85 crore remaining in its purse, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise certainly has some options to pick a few utility players from the auction.
Total purse remaining
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Rs 35.7 crore
Slots Remaining:13 (4 overseas)
Delhi Capitals: Rs 12.8 crore
Slots remaining: 6 (2 overseas)
Rajasthan Royals: Rs 34.85 crore
Slots remaining: 8 (3 overseas)
Kings XI Punjab: Rs 53.2 crore
Slots remaining: 9 (5 overseas)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Rs 10.75 crore
Slots remaining: 3 (1 overseas)
Kolkata Knight Riders: Rs 10.85 crore
Slots remaining: 7 (1 overseas)
Chennai Super Kings: Rs 22.9 crore
Slots remaining: 7 (1 overseas)
Mumbai Indians: Rs 15.35 crore
Slots remaining: 7 (4 overseas))