A total of 71 players have been released by eight franchises during the 2020 IPL trading window. Some big players have been traded. Both Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals have released 11 players each. Royal Challengers Bangalore have released 12. Capitals have released nine players and Kings XI have offloaded seven. Even defending champions Mumbai Indians have parted ways with 10 players. CSK and Sunrisers Hyderabad have released six and five players respectively.
Both Capitals CEO Dhiraj Malhotra and CSK chief executive Kasi Viswanathan agreed that management rejig in some franchises is a reason for such manic movements. Kings XI have appointed Anil Kumble as their director of cricket operations. Mike Hesson has become his RCB counterpart. Andrew McDonald is the new head coach of Royals, while Brendon McCullum has replaced Jacques Kallis as the KKR head coach.
This is pretty akin to a football-style overhaul – new coaches bringing in fresh ideas and those who didn’t feature in their scheme of things have been offloaded. Of course, the franchises can buy back the released players at the auction. But there they have the option to spend judiciously, as selections would be need-based.
Will Iyer remain skipper?
Shreyas Iyer is set to be retained as Delhi Capitals captain despite the high-profile arrivals of Ajinkya Rahane and Ravi Ashwin. Rajasthan Royals traded Rahane to Capitals, while Ashwin came from Kings XI Punjab. But the franchise will continue with Iyer as their captain, with an eye to the present and the future. “As of now, Shreyas remains the captain,” Capitals CEO Dhiraj Malhotra told The Indian Express. He exuded confidence that Rahane and Ashwin’s presence in the dressing-room will hasten the development of the youngsters, as the two India stars, along with Shikhar Dhawan, will also help Iyer grow into the job.
Then again, Rahane’s arrival makes Capitals batting further top-heavy. They have a set opening combination in Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw, followed by Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Incorporating Rahane at No.3 will push Iyer down at No. 4. How will the franchise address the issue? “We will leave that decision totally to our chief coach. (Ricky) Ponting’s experience and expertise will help take care of that. He and Shreyas might take a call in every game depending on the situation,” Malhotra said.
CSK’s go-to man
A CSK tweet on Thursday – “Relea5ing tomorrow” – was cryptic enough to take a peek at MS Dhoni’s future; if he would recuse himself. CSK chief executive Kasi Viswanathan, however, had doused the speculation saying: “No way would we let Dhoni go.”
On a day, when CSK’s captain fantastic had his first net session after the World Cup, the three-time IPL champions announced the release of six players. Dhoni obviously wasn’t in the list. At 38 years of age and out of competitive cricket at the moment, the veteran ‘keeper-batsman still remains CSK’s main player. “Yes, he is our go-to man. Dhoni is still fit. He is still playing good cricket. He is still fit to play for the country again. We have absolute confidence in Dhoni’s abilities, not only as a captain but as a batsman and a wicketkeeper. He is an allrounder for us,” Viswanathan said. The CSK official isn’t even ruling out Dhoni’s participating in the next year’s T20 World Cup in Australia. This IPL will allow him to get into the groove and send a reminder that he isn’t retired yet.”
In a young man’s game, CSK have done wonderfully well with the old guards. “A little bit of experience is needed in high-pressure games. T20 being a high-pressure game, I feel that experience also plays a very vital part. And in that, with a captain of the calibre of Dhoni being there, he is able to extract the best out of those players,” Viswanathan observed.
High wage, low output
Royals had bought back Jaydev Unadkat for Rs 8.4 crore at the last year’s auction. The left-arm seamer finished the 2019 IPL with just 10 wickets from 11 matches and an economy rate north of 10. Similarly, Kings XI Punjab had forked out Rs 7.2 core for Sam Curran. With 95 runs from nine matches and 10 wickets at an economy rate of 9.78, the allrounder didn’t prove value for money.
Kings XI had also spent a staggering Rs 8.4 crore for Varun Chakravarthy; the mystery spinner who played just one game. RCB had bought leg-spinner Prayas Ray Barman for Rs 1.5 crore, nearly eight times his base price. The teenager conceded 56 runs in four overs in the only game he played. The trading window showed the franchises have learnt from their mistakes.
With regards to KKR releasing Robin Uthappa and Kings XI offloading David Miller, their best years are behind them.