The Indian Premier League (IPL) marked its beginning after India won the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007. BCCI decided to capitalize on the interest generated in T20 cricket as they launched an eight-city franchise-based tournament with the teams being Mumbai Indians (Mumbai), Chennai Super Kings (Chennai), Rajasthan Royals (Jaipur), Kings XI Punjab (Mohali), Royal Challengers Bangalore (Bangalore), Kolkata Knight Riders (Kolkata), Deccan Chargers (Hyderabad) and Delhi Daredevils (Delhi).
In 2008, each team was given a chance to pick an icon player and a majority of the teams picked their home state’s stars. Mumbai Indians went for Mumbai Indians while Royal Challengers Bangalore picked Anil Kumble. Likewise, all the teams decided to pick their state-based players so that they could easily market their franchise.
Unfortunately, because of the competitive nature of IPL, many home stars were later released by their franchises because of their below-par performances in IPL.
Here’s a look at the top 5 legends who were released by their home franchises in IPL:
1. Virender Sehwag – Delhi Daredevils
The explosive opening batsman from the northern part of the country, Virender Sehwag was picked as the marquee player of Delhi Daredevils in 2008. He was the star performer of the team in 2008 as he led them to the semifinals with 406 runs 14 matches. He maintained his consistency till 2012 however, he failed miserably in 2013.
Opening the innings for Delhi in 13 matches, Sehwag could score only 295 runs at a disappointing average of 24.58. 95 of those runs came in just one match which means that Sehwag scored only 200 runs in the other 12 games.
Since he had a mega-contract from the franchise, the Daredevils did away with him soon. Kings XI Punjab roped him in next year and he returned to form with 455 runs in 17 matches. His career ended in the year 2015.
2. Sourav Ganguly – Kolkata Knight Riders
In a bizarre turn of events, the Shahrukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders released the Prince of Kolkata before IPL 2011. Sourav Ganguly, who captained the team, had scored 493 runs in 14 matches of IPL 2010. The third season of IPL was the best of Ganguly’s career still he was released from the team.
The team management reportedly wanted to build a fresh squad with Ganguly thus, they released him from the squad. They later invested their funds in Gautam Gambhir who took the team to two IPL championships.
The legendary player, Ganguly went unsold in the 2011 auction but Pune Warriors India saved his career by signing him as a replacement. He played two seasons for Pune but could not make much impact with the bat.
3. Yuvraj Singh – Kings XI Punjab
The hero of the Indian team in the 2007 T20 World Cup, Yuvraj Singh was the prime pick of Kings XI Punjab in 2008. The team picked Yuvraj ahead of Harbhajan Singh but the franchise officials terminated the left-handed all-rounder’s contract in 2010. Yuvraj could not bring his ‘A’ game to the table during the three seasons he played for Punjab.
He scored 299 runs in 2008 while in 2009 the number went up to 340 runs. His 2010 performance led to his exit from the team as the all-rounder could score only 255 runs and take 5 wickets in 14 matches.
Pune Warriors India signed him in 2011 and he emerged as a match-winner for them. He had led India to the ICC World Cup victory that year and in the IPL played later, Singh smacked 343 runs and picked up 9 wickets.
4. VVS Laxman – Deccan Chargers
Unlike all the names present on this list, the right-handed middle-order batsman, VVS Laxman was never known for his big-hitting abilities. Laxman was popular for his sweet timing and he achieved more success in red-ball cricket than the limited-overs format. His IPL numbers showcase the same. Laxman played for two franchises in his career namely Deccan Chargers and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
The Chargers roped him in their icon player because he hailed from the same region. He was even nominated as the skipper of the team. However, the team finished at the last position in 2008.
After a disastrous outing in 2008, Adam Gilchrist replaced Laxman as the captain and led the team to the trophy. Since Laxman’s average and strike rate were below par, Deccan Chargers released him from the team in 2011.
5. Rahul Dravid – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Perhaps, the most heartbreaking name on this list is of the former Indian skipper, Rahul Dravid. Royal Challengers Bangalore signed him in 2008 and he was even the captain of the team. But just like VVS Laxman’s Deccan Chargers, Dravid’s RCB failed to make an impact in IPL 2008. His team finished in the bottom two of the points table.
Dravid was still retained as a player but the franchise named Kevin Pietersen as their new captain. Even Pietersen was replaced by Anil Kumble as the captain as the leg-spinner led RCB to the runners-up position in 2009.
The right-handed batsman was known to be a Test specialist but he aggregated over 250 runs in every season. Bangalore released him from their squad in 2010 as the era of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle began. Dravid, on the other hand, unearthed a lot of new talent while playing for Rajasthan Royals.
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