5 IPL 2021 retentions that have raised quite a few eyebrows

Adam Zampa

Jaydev Unadkat

Chris Jordan

Josh Hazlewood

Rinku Singh

The IPL 2021 auction is set to take place on February 18, and each team will be busy scouting young talents as well as plotting strategies for snapping up big-name players going under the hammer.

While teams like Mumbai Indians (MI), Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC) have shown faith in their core, others like Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have looked for a revamp.

January 21 was the last date for IPL teams to announce the list of the retained players ahead of the IPL 2021 auction.

While some star players like Steve Smith, Chris Morris and Glenn Maxwell were let go by their respective franchises, some players that were retained have left many scratching their heads.

On that note, let’s have a look at five such players.

Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa was roped in by RCB as a replacement for pacer Kane Richardson, who pulled out of the IPL last year due to personal reasons.

It seemed to be a smart move by the franchise, as the IPL 2020 season was scheduled be played in the UAE where the pitches generally suit the spinners.

The 28-year-old Zampa previously played a couple of seasons for the Rising Pune Supergiants in the IPL, where he had picked up 19 wickets in 11 games. However, he wasn’t as effective for RCB. 

In Zampa’s first IPL game last year, he was clobbered by the likes of Kieron Pollard and Ishan Kishan, and the leg-spinner never really recovered. He picked up just a couple of wickets in three games at an economy of 8.36.

After releasing star players like Chris Morris, Aaron Finch and Moeen Ali, it was a surprise to see the IPL franchise retaining Zampa.

It will be interesting to see if the leg-spinner can repay the faith shown in him.

Jaydev Unadkat‘s journey in the IPL has been one of sensational highs and depressing lows. The left-armer had a phenomenal IPL 2017 campaign with Rising Pune Supergiant, picking up 24 wickets in just 12 matches to help his team reach the final.

Unadkat was undoubtedly a hot property in the IPL 2018 auctions, where he was bought by the Rajasthan Royals (RR) for a whopping INR 11.5 crores.

A lot was expected from the 29-year-old who became renowned as a T20 specialist. However, he hasn’t lived up to expectations during his three seasons with the IPL franchise.

He had economy rates in excess of nine in each of his next three IPL campaigns, with Unadkat also losing his place in the XI midway through the IPL 2020 season.

Thus t was expected that RR would release Unadkat ahead of the IPL 2021 season. However, the franchise pinned their hopes on the left-armer to come good in the next edition of the competition.

It remains to be seen what the 29-year-old conjures in his fourth IPL season with the Royals.

Kings XI Punjab had a horrible start to their IPL 2020 campaign, losing six of their first seven games. They won their next five games on the trot but failed to reach the playoffs.

One of the biggest issues afflicting them during the season was the profligacy of their bowlers, especially at the death. The likes of Sheldon Cottrell and others proved highly expensive and ineffective. However, what hurt the IPL franchise the most was the inconsistency of England’s Chris Jordan.

The 32-year-old was bought by KXIP for INR 3 crore in the IPL 2020 auction as a death-overs specialist. However in his very first game for the franchise, he was carted all over the park by Delhi Capitals’ Marcus Stoinis during the death overs. 

Although Jordan picked up 9 wickets in as many matches last season, he had a high economy rate of 9.65. The writing appeared to be on the wall for the all-rounder ahead of the IPL 2021 auction.

With the likes of Chris Morris and possibly Mitchell Starc, who could be available in the IPL 2021 auction, ahead of Jordan in the Kings XI pecking order, the franchise unexpectedly retained the Englishman.

It remains to be seen if Chris Jordan lives up to his reputation as a death-overs specialist in IPL 2021.

Josh Hazlewood is surely one of Australia’s most accomplished bowlers in red-ball cricket. However, he hasn’t been able to replicate that success in the shortest format of the game.

The 30-year-old was bought by three-time IPL champions CSK at his base price of INR 2 crore in the IPL 2020 auction. However, he could only pick up a solitary wicket in three games that season.

With Lungi Ngidi present in the squad and the likes of Morris and Starc likely to be available in the auction pool, the CSK think tank seemingly inexplicably decided to retain the Australian pacer.

The fact that CSK now have only one overseas slot available makes the decision to retain Hazlewood even more perplexing.

Nevertheless, the 30-year-old could also prove his critics wrong with a strong IPL 2021 campaign.

Having decent Indian batsmen in the lineup is always key for any IPL team, as it allows four foreign players – mostly all-rounders and bowlers – to be played.

However, there are a few Indian batsmen who have not quite taken the IPL by storm; yet, they retain the backing of their IPL franchises. One such player is Rinku Singh, who was surprisingly retained by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

He has scored only 77 runs in 11 matches in the IPL since his competition debut in 2017. Last season, he played just a solitary game for the IPL franchise, scoring 11 runs.

Thus, it made little sense for KKR to retain the 23-year-old. It remains to be seen if Rinku Singh can take off in the IPL 2021 season for KKR.

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