Now, when the word IPL is uttered, the immediate correlating phrase that a cricket fan would probably utter is the word auction. The hammer will be brought out in February 2021, and the various IPL franchises would be looking to bolster their respective squads. All the 8 IPL franchises have released and retained their set of players ahead of the auctions.
Now, some really big names were released by the franchises ahead of the auctions. The likes of Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Chris Morris and Aaron Finch were all let go by their respective franchises. It will be interesting to see if they get any bids in the auctions.
Also, while the Royal Challengers Bangalore side released a whopping 10 players, the Kolkata and Hyderabad sides were more prudent, releasing only five players each. On that note, let us rank the various IPL teams based on the retentions that they made ahead of the 2021 edition of the IPL.
8. Royal Challengers Bangalore
They have been perennial underachievers. While they have always got some marquee names, they are yet to win the IPL title. And, in a desperate bid to strengthen their squad so to say, RCB have released as many as 10 players ahead of the auctions.
Now, yet again, the bowling appears to be the weakling here for RCB. They do not have any experienced pacer who can be effective at the death, a passage of play where RCB have a habit of leaking heaps of runs. They have retained just three pacers- Mohammad Siraj, Navdeep Saini, and Kane Richardson.
And, Saini endured a disastrous tournament last year. In the 13 matches that the pacer played in the 2020 IPL edition, he could pick up just 6 wickets, at an abysmal average of 63.17 and an economy rate of 8.30. Kane Richardson did not feature in even a single match last year. And, even though Mohammed Siraj’s heroics in the Test series against Australia are highly talked about, he is a bowler who has not been tested enough. In fact, the two bowlers who can be a real asset to the side and have been retained are Yuzvendra Chahal and of course, the ever-improving Washington Sundar.
Even if RCB have their regular batting heavyweights like Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers and a highly promising batsman in Devdutt Padikkal, the bowling might once again prove to be their Achilles heel as far as the retentions are concerned. RCB should really look to bolster the bowling department in the upcoming auctions.
7. Kings XI Punjab
At the seventh place, we have the Kings XI Punjab outfit. In spite of KL Rahul blazing away to 670 runs at the top of the order in the 2020 edition and winning the Orange Cap, the side once again continued with their ‘underachievers’ tag and failed to qualify for the playoffs.
And, before the IPL auctions, Punjab have released some big names. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell, Mujeeb ur Rehman and Jimmy Neesham were some of the big foreign recruits that were let go by the Punjab franchise.
One look at the Punjab squad can help us understand that their middle order is a little weak. While they are indeed top-heavy, with the likes of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Chris Gayle, the middle order needs to be bolstered. Apart from the mercurial Nicholas Pooran, Punjab does not have a reliable finisher as far the batting department is concerned. Even on the bowling front, they do not have many experienced heads.
While Mohammed Shami is a seasoned campaigner and Chris Jordan can be handy with the ball, the other names in the Punjab squad on the bowling front are inexperienced. It remains to be seen what tactics the KL Rahul led side will adopt in the auctions.
6. Chennai Super Kings
Disaster. Well, that is the word that would come to mind when someone is asked to describe the performance of the Chennai side in the 13th edition of the IPL. For a team that had made it look as if making it to the playoffs was the easiest thing to do in the world, the MS Dhoni-led side got a harsh reality check in the 2020 IPL edition in the UAE. The ‘yellow brigade’ failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time, and finished at sixth place.
They had a lot of ‘aged’ players in the squad who turned out to be liabilities for the franchise. And ahead of the auctions, they have made some sweeping changes. Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, Piyush Chawla, Murali Vijay, Monu Kumar and Harbhajan Singh have been released by the franchise.
And, even after releasing as many as 6 players, the Chennai side is still not a formidable one. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is at the evening of his illustrious career, and possibly has only the reputation that allows him to keep going. The iconic cricketer endured his worst ever IPL season with the willow last year, where he managed to aggregate just 200 runs at a poor average of 25. Dhoni could not even score a single fifty in the whole of IPL 2020.
While Faf Du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and MS Dhoni are still big names, they are definitely not getting younger. Also, it remains to be seen how much of an impact Suresh Raina will have in the upcoming edition. While Raina’s overall IPL numbers put him in the pantheon of greats in IPL cricket, Raina missed an entire IPL season last year, has now retired from international cricket and is 34 years old. Chennai surely has some work to do, ahead of the 14th IPL edition.
5. Rajasthan Royals
Ahead of the 2021 IPL edition, Rajasthan Royals had a massive announcement to make. They decided to release their skipper, Steve Smith, and have now handed over the captaincy reigns to talented and upcoming batsman Sanju Samson. It remains to be seen if the gamble will work.
Rajasthan decided to release as many as eight players ahead of the auction. With Steve Smith being the biggest name on the list, the likes of Varun Aaron, Tom Curran and Oshane Thomas are also some known names that the franchise has decided to let go.
Rajasthan has a decent batting order that can give a scare to any side. The likes of Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson and last edition hero Rahul Tewatia are names that can make any opposition captain worry. While they have the menacing Jofra Archer, left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat, Andrew Tye and Stokes himself who can roll his arm over, Rajasthan need to add a little more firepower to their bowling department in the upcoming auctions.
4. Delhi Capitals
The Delhi Capitals experienced an extremely successful campaign last year. Under the dynamic leadership of Shreyas Iyer, the franchise finished as the runners-up in the previous edition and sent a message that they are a side that is not to be taken lightly.
The Capitals have decided to release six players. Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Tushar Deshpande and Jason Roy are the names that have been let go by the franchise. Having said that, the Delhi Capitals is a side that is bubbling with youth. The likes of Rishabh Pant, Shimron Hetmyer, Kagiso Rabada and Prithvi Shaw are some of the most talented players that any franchise can get.
Also, Delhi have several experienced heads as well, with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma bringing with them a truckload of experience. Delhi seems to have a pretty balanced squad, and it remains to be seen if they can win their maiden IPL title in the year 2021.
3. Sun Risers Hyderabad
Another side that that did not indulge in massive release and sweeping changes is Sun Risers Hyderabad, The ‘Orange Army’ totally released five players, and none of them were actually noteworthy names to grab the headlines.
The David Warner-led side released Sanjay Yadav, Sandeep Bhavanka, Billy Stanlake, Fabien Allen and Yarra Prithviraj. The Sun Risers have decided to retain the core of their side. They have three foreign recruits on the batting front who can turn a game on its head. The likes of David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, and Kane Williamson are names that can send a shiver down the spine of any opposition captain.
They also have an excellent bowling attack, with the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T.Natarajan, Rashid Khan and Sandeep Sharma who can trouble any batting line up. All in all, they are a side that can beat any opposition on their day. And, with some solid names in their side, they will be looking to win the 2021 IPL title.
2. Mumbai Indians
They are a side that look settled in every department of the game. They are a side that is filled with heavyweights. While the likes of Rohit Sharma, Quinton De Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard can make any bowling attack appear clueless, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and Krunal Pandya are potent weapons in the bowling department. Even if you take fielding into consideration, they are very few men in world cricket who can match Kieron Pollard.
And, even after releasing some big names like Lasith Malinga(who announced his retirement) Mitchell McCleneghan, James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter Nile, they still look like a formidable side. Mumbai steamrolled almost every opposition in the 2020 edition of the IPL. And needles to say, they won a record fifth IPL title with nonchalance.
In the last 4 years, Mumbai have won the IPL title on 3 occasions. And, with the kind of side they have going into IPL 2021, it will indeed be a Herculean task for any side to stop Mumbai from winning their sixth IPL title in the upcoming IPL edition.
1. Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders bag the top spot in this list. The side has been very prudent, is clear with the resources in their arsenal, and have released 5 players ahead of the upcoming auctions. Tom Banton, Manimaran Siddharth, Nikhil Naik, Siddhesh Lad and Chris Green are the 5 players that the side has released.
In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the Kolkata side has the best foreign recruits among all the teams. The likes of Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan and Lockie Ferguson can give any side a run for their money. Apart from that, Kolkata are also blessed with some stunning young talent as well.
The likes of Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, and Shivam Mavi are some young guns that can surprise any opposition. Kolkata look settled in all departments of the game, and they have a leader who is as cool as ice, and can absorb all the pressure in Morgan.
Kolkata last won the IPL title way back in the year 2014. And, in the upcoming editions, if there is any side that can stop the Mumbai juggernaut, it is the side led by Eoin Morgan.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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