There is a lot that happens in the IPL apart from the cricket that is played on the field. Auctions, player swaps, retentions and other things related to the players. Players tend to get big money in the auctions and a lot of new talent comes up as well.
Over the years, there have been multiple retentions and player releases. Some work and some don’t. But there are some where teams regret their decisions. For instance, when they release a player and that player plays well and consistently for another team, it does hurt.
Thus, here are five such instances/players who became a part of the worst player releases in the history of the IPL. They were released by a certain franchise and they found a lot of success for their new team once they were released by the old one.
1. Chris Gayle by KKR
Christopher Henry Gayle is a T20 superstar and the ‘Universe Boss’. There is hardly any T20 batting record that Gayle doesn’t own. And some of them have come through the IPL and that was when he was with the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
The Jamaican opener made his IPL debut in 2009 for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). He scored 463 runs at an average of 30.87 and had a strike-rate of 141.59. However, KKR decided to let him go ahead of the auctions in 2011. Gayle went unsold. But RCB decided to bring him in as an injury replacement for Dirk Nannes and as they say, the rest is history.
Gayle went on to smash hundreds and fifties for fun. For three years in a row, he scored more than 600 runs and won the Orange Cap twice. After a slump in 2014, he was back to his best in 2015. He changed the complexion of the RCB batting line-up. He played seven seasons for RCB and amassed 3163 at an average of 43.33 and a strike-rate of 152.73. Hence, it may have become one of KKR’s biggest regrets.
2. David Warner by Delhi
Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) picked David Warner when he was relatively unknown. For the first couple of years, Warner wasn’t consistent but showed a lot of promise which prompted the Delhi management to retain the Australian ahead of the likes of Gautam Gambhir and others in 2011.
Warner had a decent season in 2011 but improved and got a lot better in 2012 and 2013. Both his average and strike-rate were much better. However, that wasn’t enough as Delhi decided to let him go. He was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in 2014 and since then, he hasn’t looked back.
The New South Wales lad has become a beast in the IPL. He’s churned out runs for fun. In each of the last five seasons he’s played, Warner has aggregated more than 500 runs in a season. In fact, for SRH, the left-handed opener has scored 3271 runs at an average of 55.44. His strike-rate is 146.88 and he is scoring fifty-plus once every two games (34 half-centuries and 2 tons in 71 matches). Hence, Warner’s release was one of the worst-ever. Just when he was starting to get into the groove, Delhi let him go.
3. KL Rahul by RCB
For a long time, there was a perception that KL Rahul was a single-dimensional player. However, that changed in 2016 when he blasted 397 runs at an average of 44.11 and a strike-rate of 146.49 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The majority of those runs came in the middle order and he was RCB’s unsung hero in their run till the final that season.
However, a shoulder injury meant that he had to skip the 2017 edition. Ahead of the 2018 Auctions, RCB decided not to retain the Karnataka lad. Moreover, they didn’t even use the Right To Match (RTM) card for him as Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bought him for a stunning sum of INR 11 crore.
Ever since he moved to KXIP, Rahul has become the star batsman. Batting at the top of the order, the India international has hit 1252 runs at an average of 54.43 over the last couple of seasons (2018 and 2019). Moreover, these runs have come at a strike-rate of 146.60. He has scored 12 fifties and a hundred. At the same time, RCB have struggled to find someone consistent. Thus, Rahul’s release and the decision not to retain him despite getting two chances was a bad choice by RCB.
4. AB de Villiers by Delhi
There are two icons for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). One is Virat Kohli and the other is AB de Villiers. Any RCB line-up seems incomplete without the South African star. Since 2011, he has been a consistent performer for the franchise and in fact, along with Kohli, he’s been carrying the burden of the batting line-up.
For the first three seasons, De Villiers was with the Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals). He amassed 671 runs at an average of nearly 32 but featured in a full season only once (2009). In 2011, RCB bought him through the auctions and it was indeed a master-stroke.
For years now, Mr 360, as they call him, has become the backbone of RCB’s batting line-up. He’s flexible with his batting number and has batted all around and has still been successful. In fact, he’s won many games single-handedly. Hence, de Villiers’ release proved to be costly.
5. Yuzvendra Chahal by MI
The first time Yuzvendra Chahal was seen in the IPL, it was in the Mumbai Indians (MI) colour. In fact, before making his IPL debut, Chahal played a few Champions League T20 games for the Mumbai franchise. In 2013, he made his IPL debut and had a very sedate start.
He played just one game and in 2014, he was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) during the auctions. Since then, he has become their lead spinner. Moreover, he did well too and has dwelled under the leadership of Virat Kohli.
In 2015 and 2016, he took 45 wickets across two seasons at a strike-rate of 12.8. He was one of the reasons for RCB’s success during those two editions (in 2015, they finished third while in 2016, they lost in the final). Hence, MI have struggled to find a consistent spinner since then. Hence, it was one of the worst releases in the history of the IPL.
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