There were quite a few big names who were released by their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises on Tuesday ahead of the next month’s auction.
Sunrisers Hyderabad released captain Kane Williamson, who had spent eight years at the franchise. While the franchise did not wish to comment immediately and indicated that a formal statement will be issued in due course of time, it is believed that the decision was taken in a bid to rejig the set-up and go into the auction with a substantial purse.
Williamson, who skippers New Zealand in international matches, has turned up in the Sunrisers’ colours on 76 occasions, scoring 2101 runs at an average of 36.22 and a strike rate of 126.03. However, under his captaincy, SRH finished eighth last season.
Ahead of the mega-auction in February this year, the Sunrisers spent Rs 14 crore – the highest price paid to retain an overseas player in the IPL – on Williamson. But a dismal show forced the team management to explore other options.
Sportstar, though, understands that the franchise may keep its options open about buying back Williamson at the auction if ‘there is a scope’.
The Hyderabad franchise also released Nicholas Pooran and now has a purse of Rs 42.25 crore remaining and it needs to fill in four overseas player slots. Among the Indian players, SRH released Jagadeesha Suchith, Priyam Garg, Ravikumar Samarth, Shreyas Gopal, while retaining Abdul Samad, Umran Malik, T. Natarajan and Kartik Tyagi.
Punjab Kings was the other franchise to release its erstwhile captain Mayank Agarwal.
After yet another disappointing campaign last season, the Punjab outfit had overhauled its coaching staff led by Anil Kumble and handed over the responsibility to Trevor Bayliss. Earlier this month, the franchise named Shikhar Dhawan as the captain, leading to speculations that it could release Mayank, who was named the captain last season.
Mayank is the only big name to have been released by the franchise. Among the Indian recruits, Vaibhav Arora, Benny Howell, Ishan Porel, Ansh Patel, Prerak Mankad, Sandeep Sharma and Writtick Chatterjee have missed out.
‘Looking at the future’
Over the last few months, there were speculations about Chennai Super Kings parting ways with Ravindra Jadeja. But the Chennai outfit has retained the all-rounder along with Ambati Rayudu, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Moeen Ali, Devon Conway, Deepak Chahar and Shivam Dube among others.
The franchise, however, has released its old war-horse Dwayne Bravo and Robin Uthappa, who retired from all forms of cricket recently.
“The team management took the decision to release Bravo, looking at the future,” CSK CEO K.S. Viswanathan told Sportstar.
Asked whether the franchise plans to use Bravo in some other capacity, Viswanathan said, “It depends on what he wants to do. We haven’t heard from him.”
CSK now has a purse of Rs 20.45 crore and there are two overseas slots remaining.
While it would be interesting to see whether Bravo actually registers for the auction, his compatriot Kieron Pollard announced retirement from the IPL and took over as the batting coach of Mumbai Indians.
MI released 13 players following its disastrous outing last season. However, it has retained Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Dewald Brevis, Tilak Varma, Tristan Stubbs, Ramandeep Singh, Tim David, Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer, Hrithik Shokeen, Kumar Kartikeya Singh and Arjun Tendulkar among others.
The franchise has an available purse of Rs 20.55 crore and needs to fill in three overseas slots.
No surprises from RR
Last season’s finalist Rajasthan Royals released Anunay Singh, Corbin Bosch, Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Karun Nair and Nathan Coulter-Nile, while retaining the core group.
Under the leadership of Sanju Samson, the team reached the final of the tournament for the first time since 2008 and keeping that in mind, the franchise retained all its top guns – Yashasvi Jaiswal, Shimron Hetmyer, Devdutt Padikkal, Jos Buttler, Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag, Prasidh Krishna, Trent Boult, R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal.
“The team that we have had has been extraordinary in each department, and we are delighted at the prospect of retaining the core group which has contributed immensely to the success of this franchise. At the same time, as a high performance team, you have to keep evolving and looking for squad enhancing opportunities in order to stay at the top,” Kumar Sangakkara, the director of cricket, said.
“Our ambition is to go that extra mile in IPL 2023, and hence some decisions have been made which give us greater flexibility in the auction to compete with other teams and go for players who we feel can add value to this squad.”
RR has a purse of Rs 13.2 crore remaining.
Kolkata Knight Riders will have to pick some players from the auction after Pat Cummins, Sam Billings and Alex Hales pulled out of next year’s IPL.
The franchise, meanwhile, released Shivam Mavi, Mohammad Nabi, Chamika Karunaratne, Aaron Finch, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Indrajith, Rasikh Salam and Sheldon Jackson among others.
Though it has Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rinku Singh, Venkatesh Iyer, Shardul Thakur, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Umesh Yadav in its ranks, the Knights have three overseas slots available and have a purse of only Rs 7.05 crore remaining.
GT, RCB, LSG play it safe
Defending champion Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants did not make too many changes to its roster.
After trading Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Lockie Ferguson to KKR, Gujarat Titans released Dominic Drakes, Gurkeerat Singh, Jason Roy and Varun Aaron.
Lucknow, too, retained most of its campaigners, but let go of Jason Holder, Andrew Tye, Ankit Rajpoot, Dushmantha Chameera, Evin Lewis, Manish Pandey and Shahbaz Nadeem. With Rs 23.35 crore available in its purse, Lucknow needs to get in four overseas players.
Even Royal Challengers Bangalore retained all its big guns, and released Aneeshwar Gautam, Chama Milind, Luvnith Sisodia and Sherfane Rutherford. With Virat Kohli in form, the team will be hoping to start afresh.
Delhi Capitals managed to hold all its star campaigners and has a remaining purse of Rs 19.45 crore. The franchise released Tim Seifert, Mandeep Singh, KS Bharat and Ashwin Hebbar, while it traded Shardul Thakur to KKR.
When the auction gets underway in Kochi on December 23, the franchises will be hoping to pick the right candidates to fill in the remaining slots.