In the last few days, we’ve seen a lot of players being released prior to the 2015 IPL. In past seasons, this releasing window has been a usually uneventful time, where franchises release a few random low-price players to free their roster a bit. However, this time we’ve seen a massive movement, with some really big names hitting the released list. I made a playing XI out of these released players, fitting in the biggest names.
1. Murali Vijay (DD): Vijay had a pretty lean run for Delhi in the 2014 season, with a paltry 207 runs at an average of 18.81. That, and his massive price tag of 5 crore rupees, is what probably led to the franchise letting him go. However, his scores of 53 and 99 in the first test Down Under indicates that the Daredevils might have missed a trick by letting him go.
2. Aaron Finch (SRH): Finchy had a lukewarm run this IPL, with 309 runs at an average of 28.09. Nonetheless, he was never quite the impact player that the Sunrisers wanted, as they ended up slipping to 6th place.
3. Jacques Kallis (KKR): Well, to be completely honest, we cannot say that we didn’t see this one coming. KKR pretty much gave up on Kallis 8 matches into the tournament, and preferred to run in with Ryan Ten Doeschate as the fourth overseas player along with Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine and Shakib Al Hassan. Injuries to other players meant that he got a few games in the Champions League, where he played a memorable knock against the Hobart Hurricanes to take KKR into the final, but I think that the Golden Era of Jacques Kallis in IPL is pretty much over.
4. Kevin Pietersen (DD): Cricket is a lovely game, but can have a terrible twist. Kevin Pietersen’s fate is just another example of that. Prior to IPL 7, he had been dropped by the English side, but offered a massive Rs. 9 crore deal from the Delhi Daredevils, and made their skipper shortly after. It was the perfect chance for Kevin Pietersen to lash the whip at the ECB. However, this story turned out to have a rather naturalistic twist to it, as his side finished at the bottom of the table, and Pietersen himself scored only 294 runs. And now, come the reformation era, he’s been released, and will most likely be up for grabs in the IPL Auctions 2015 (where the Daredevils may seek to buy him back at a cheaper price).
5. Yuvraj Singh (RCB): In the ICC World Cup 2011, Yuvraj Singh was India’s hero, as he seemed to be able to score runs and take wickets by the sheer power of his will. Now, with the 2015 World Cup just a few months away, things are very different for the Prince of India. He’s was not included in the Indian World Cup Probables’ list, and has now been dropped from the RCB roster. Despite starting off the 2014 IPL with a blazing half century, he had a lean period that stretched through most of the tournament, before he finally brought out some fireworks that brought some light to what was otherwise was a dismal exit for the Royal Challengers. I’m guessing that it was not poor performance that caused the RCB management to make their decision as much as the fact that he consumed 14 crores of their auction money, which means that they may well try and buy him back in the auction.
6. Brad Hodge (RR): Since his acquisition in IPL 2012, Brad Hodge has undoubtedly been one of Rajasthan’s most valuable players. Nonetheless, last season Steve Smith showed much more potency that he did, and that is why I think they dropped him. Still, I think it’s a queer option, as Shane Watson’s dastardly form last year showed that RR would be well advised to have a backup batsman on the side. He is still one of the best T20 batsmen in the world today, and I’m sure that some team will be willing to pay big bucks for him, even if it isn’t the Royals.
7. Dinesh Karthik (DD): I think that Dinesh Karthik’s sacking was probably the saddest decision of the lot, along with Yuvraj. This is perhaps because of the fact that he was one of the few batsmen who did something for Delhi. He was the only batsman to cross 300 runs apart from JP Duminy, and while he was understandably not his 100%, he did more than most of the other batsmen. Like in the case of Yuvraj, I think that this is more related to the fact that he cost the franchise 12.5 crores to hire that led them to their harsh decision, and I’m sure they will try and get him back ahead of IPL 2015.
8. Darren Sammy (SRH): In 2013, it was Sammy’s two sixes that pulled the Sunrisers into a semifinal berth in their debut season. In IPL 2014, he managed to hit just six more sixes than that in the 108 runs he scored. He was dismal in this season, and failed to make the impact that inspired the Sunrisers to fight to buy him back in the 2014 Auctions. It was probably just the fact that Shikhar Dhawan was a lousy captain and Moises Henriques’ indifferent form that kept him in the playing XI for most of the tournament. Overall, Sammy will need to buck up and try to redeem himself with his new franchise in 2015.
9. Irfan Pathan (SRH): Yusuf had a bit of a blast towards the end of IPL 2015, but it was rather lean for the other Pathan. Irfan barely managed to make an impact with the bat, and was barely trusted with the ball. This is undoubtedly the awakening period in IPL, and the fate of Irfan confirms it. Franchises are no longer willing to express sympathy to a player because they’re Indian; if you don’t perform, you’re out. Hopefully this is a wakeup call for Irfan, and a reminder to some other players.
10. Amit Mishra (SRH): I must admit that I never saw this one coming. Amit Mishra had a terrible season last year (7 wickets from 10 games with an E/R of 9.06), not to mention this hilarious incident. Again, I think it’s a wake up call for players who’ve been coasting on IPL contracts just because they’re capped Indian players. It’s a blunt reminder that talent, not nationality is what matters in the world of cricket.
11. Pragyan Ojha (MI): The irony of MI releasing Pragyan Ojha is just so sweet that I cannot help but post it. MI picked Ojha with their RTM card, which they could have used on Glenn Maxwell or Dwayne Smith (who finished first and second on the MVP list respectively). Then, he ends up bowling so terribly (4 wickets in 12 matches, E/R 8.26) that they throw him out. It’s just so sad for MI (more for their fans). Nonetheless, Ojha was pretty bad, so we must say that MI were justified in throwing him out.