IPL 2021 Auction is fast approaching as the cricket universe preps for the 14th edition of the world’s grandest T20 league. As always, the franchises have declared their lists of retained and released cricketers ahead of the new season.
While some expected names featured on both lists, the franchises had to release a few players as they opted out or retired from league cricket.
Last year, several legendary cricketers missed the IPL because of various reasons. However, this year, the fans expect lesser withdrawals as the world has normalized a bit now. Also, live audiences have gradually returned to the stadiums.
Unfortunately, three established superstars will not be present in IPL 2021. Here are the names of those three legends.
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson is one of the most successful cricketers in IPL history. He played a vital role in the Rajasthan Royals’ only title win in 2008. While Watson missed the 2009 season, he featured in every IPL tournament from 2010 to 2020.
Although Watson called it a day on his international career in 2016, he continued to play for multiple franchises. The Aussie all-rounder played his last three IPL seasons for the Chennai Super Kings.
In IPL 2020, Watson aggregated 299 runs in 11 innings for the Chennai-based franchise. He recorded his only half-ton against the Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium.
The 39-year-old veteran announced his retirement after CSK’s disappointing exit from the tournament.
We use the expression “end of an era” too loosely sometimes. But with the release of Lasith Malinga by @mipaltan, an all-time #IPL great, it is that. The chants of “Maal-lin-gaa Maa-lin-gaa” at the Wankhede are part of IPL folklore
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 20, 2021
Unlike Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga did not play IPL 2020. The Mumbai Indians had retained their Sri Lankan star. However, Malinga skipped the tournament owing to some personal reasons.
Malinga ended his career as the highest wicket-taker in IPL history. He played 122 IPL matches, scalping 170 wickets at an economy rate of 7.14. Many batsmen found his yorkers and slower deliveries unplayable in the final overs.
Lasith Malinga remains one of the few players who made his IPL debut in 2008 and stayed with the same franchise until his career ended. He won many matches for the Mumbai Indians with his fast-bowling skills.
Ahead of IPL 2021 Auction, Lasith quit franchise cricket. On the final ball of his IPL career, Malinga had dismissed Shardul Thakur to help Mumbai capture the IPL 2019 championship.
Cricket tweet 🏏
Just a short message to let everyone know that I’ve made myself unavailable for RCB at this years IPL, I’m also not planning on playing for another team, just taking some time off during that period.
Thank you to RCB for understanding.
No I’m not retired. 🤙
— Dale Steyn (@DaleSteyn62) January 2, 2021
Dale Steyn played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2019 and 2020. He picked up five wickets in five games across the two seasons. While many fans expected him to receive another IPL contract, Steyn decided to pull out of the 2021 season.
Unlike Lasith Malinga and Shane Watson, Dale has not retired from franchise cricket. He will play for the Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League.
It will be interesting to see if Dale Steyn, who has taken 97 wickets in 95 IPL matches, ever returns to the tournament again.