The IPL 2021 Auction is set to take place in a few weeks. Ahead of the mini-auction, all the eight franchises have declared their respective lists of retained and released players. Several big names lost their contracts before IPL 2021.
The franchises clarified that performance mattered more than star power in the IPL. Some big-name Indian players such as Harbhajan Singh, Piyush Chawla, Murali Vijay, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, and Karun Nair have returned to the auction pool.
Some extraordinary overseas talents are also likely to play for a new franchise in IPL 2021. Here are the top five foreign players whom franchises have released prior to the the 14th edition of the IPL.
Last year, Australian T20I captain Aaron Finch created a unique record of playing for eight different IPL franchises, when he suited up for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
He had previously represented the Rajasthan Royals, the Delhi Capitals, the Pune Warriors, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Mumbai Indians, the Gujarat Lions, and the Kings XI Punjab, prior to RCB signing him.
Unfortunately, the Aussie opener could not play with consistency for RCB in IPL 2020. Finch played 12 matches for the Bangalore-based franchise, aggregating 268 runs at a disappointing strike rate of 111.20.
Youngster Devdutt Padikkal had better numbers in his debut season than the experienced Finch.
Hence, RCB decided against retaining the 34-year-old batsman. If the Kolkata Knight Riders or the Chennai Super Kings sign Finch in the IPL 2021 Auction, he could become the first player to play for nine franchises.
Another Australian batsman to appear on this list is former Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith.
The Jaipur-based franchise finished in last place in IPL 2020. Naturally, the team management was not satisfied with the performances of its players, and have made the decision to release their leader. The Rajasthan Royals named Sanju Samson as their new captain.
Steve Smith made several puzzling calls in the previous IPL season. Despite having multiple specialist openers in the squad, the 31-year-old used himself and all-rounder Ben Stokes as the team’s opening batsmen.
It will be interesting to see if the Royals prefer to sign Smith for a lower price in the IPL 2021 Auction.
Glenn Maxwell returned to the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 2020. The Aussie all-rounder’s fireworks had taken the Mohali-based franchise to their only IPL final in 2014.
As IPL 2020 took place in the UAE, many fans expected similar performances from Maxwell. Unfortunately, the Australian star could not live up to the expectations.
The Kings XI Punjab had splurged ₹10.75 Crores to sign the 32-year-old in last season’s auction. However, Maxwell aggregated a meagre 108 runs in 13 innings.
Although Maxwell recently fired on all cylinders against the Indian cricket team, KXIP released him before IPL 2021. Given how talented he is, Maxwell is likely to earn another hefty contract in the upcoming auction.
CRICKET – Afghan cricket player Mujeeb Ur Rahman becomes youngest player to pick 100 T20 wickets at 18 years and 271 days, Rashid Khan was the previous youngest to reach 100 wickets, having achieved the feat in 18 years and 360 days. pic.twitter.com/EftQqXwmkJ
— Ayan khan (@AbdAryan1) December 30, 2019
Mujeeb ur Rahman has wreaked havoc with his leg-spin bowling in T20 leagues across the world. In the ongoing Big Bash League, Rahman has scalped 14 wickets in eight matches for the Brisbane Heat.
Overall, the 19-year-old has picked up 145 wickets in 132 T20s at an economy rate of 6.64.
The Kings XI Punjab could not use him properly in IPL 2020. They already had Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi in their leg-spin ranks.
Hence, Mujeeb received only two opportunities to play, where he failed to dismiss a single batsman.
Since Mujeeb has an excellent record in the game’s shortest format, the Afghan will surely receive a deal from another franchise in the IPL 2021 Auction.
RCB have decided to release Chris Morris from #IPL2021.
After a successful season with them last year, this seems very odd to me
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) January 20, 2021
Perhaps, the most surprising name to appear on the IPL 2021 released players’ list was that of Chris Morris.
The all-rounder missed a few games because of injury last year. However, following his recovery, he was exceptional with the ball for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Morris scalped 11 wickets in nine matches at an excellent economy rate of 6.63. For the first time in his IPL career, the South African ended a season with a bowling average of less than 20. He also scored 34 runs at a blistering strike rate of 161.90.
Still, RCB did not consider Morris worthy enough to receive another contract. Many IPL franchises will be keen to sign the 33-year-old in the IPL 2021 auction.