The player auction for the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League is set to take place in February and the last date for franchises to finalise the list of players they will be retaining is January 20 (Wednesday). The list of players retained and released will be finalised by the end of the day ahead of what is sure to be an interesting player auction. The IPL 2020 is still fresh in the minds of many and there are suggestions that the BCCI will look to add a new franchise for 2022, meaning teams will look to make wise choices when buying players for this season.
The nature of the tournament means that every year, a number of players are released back into the auction pool – many of whom are big-name players. Here we take a look at the most high-profile players who could be up for grabs again this year.
Kedhar Jadhav – The India international had a poor outing in the previous edition of the IPL, scoring only 62 runs in eight games at a strike-rate of just 93.93 and even cost his side a few matches due to not being able to up the scoring rate during tight chases. Aside from poor form, Jadhav’s salary of Rs. 7.8 crore could also work against him as Chennai Super Kings look primed for a rebuild – one that might not feature Jadhav.
Glenn Maxwell – The Australian all-rounder has largely flattered to deceive in his IPL career but his excellent white-ball credentials led to Kings XI Punjab splashing a whopping Rs. 10.75 crore on him during the 2020 auction. However he struggled for form with both bat and ball and it would be no surprise to see the notoriously trigger-happy KXIP team management decide to let the talented Aussie go back to the auction pool.
Steve Smith – The Rajasthan Royals skipper didn’t have the best time in the IPL 2020, either with the bat or with the ball. The Royals had taken a massive call by making him the skipper and dropping Ajinkya Rahane from the leadership slot midway through the 2019 season but the decision has not paid dividends. RR struggled for the bulk of last season and Smith’s captaincy was often found lacking, with rumours suggesting the team would be okay to let him walk.
Umesh Yadav – 2 matches. 7 overs bowled. 83 runs conceded. 0 wickets. Those numbers make for bad reading regardless of who the player is but when the cricketer in question is an experienced international, it becomes worse. Umesh’s IPL 2020 is remembered more for a horrenrous beamer against KXIP than anything else and the pacer might well benefit from a change of scenery for the next edition of the tournament.
Kuldeep Yadav – Once seen as someone who has the potential to be India’s top spinner across formats, Kuldeep’s form has nosedived to the point where he is first choice for neither his franchise nor his national team. Kuldeep has been picked out as someone with promise by the likes of Shane Warne but it remains to be seen whether Kolkata Knight Riders will be the place he brings his career back on track.
James Neesham – An all-rounder and Twitter troll extraordinaire to boot, the New Zealand all-rounder was expected to add some solidity to KXIP’s lower order and also provide a few handy overs with the ball. However, he generally struggled with both bat and ball, scoring 19 runs while only taking the 2 wickets in 5 matches played. His quality is not in doubt but it seems unlikely that KXIP will retain his services for the 2021 season.
Jaydev Unadkat – The left-arm Indian seamer has become something of a social media phenomenon for fetching expensive contracts in successive IPL auctions. However, a return of 4 wickets in 7 matches at an economy of 9.91 aren’t quite figures of an elite T20 operator and Rajasthan Royals would seem likely to cut their losses and send the Saurashtra skipper back into the auction pool come February.
Piyush Chawla – More than a few heads were turned in the previous auction when CSK spent Rs. 6.75 crore on Piyush Chawla, esepcially since they already had Imran Tahir and Harbhajan Singh in their ranks. Chawla did play 7 matches for the Yellow Army but took only 6 wickets at an economy of 9.09. CSK had indicated a willingness to rebuild with fresh talent, meaning the veteran Chawla could be up for grabs for another franchise.
Sheldon Cottrell – The West Indian left-arm pacer who is renowned for his march-and-salute celebration was picked up for a whopping Rs 8.5 crore in the 2020 auction and started his IPL career well enough. However, he was taken to the cleaners by Rajasthan batsman Rahul Tewatia and his form – and game time – nose dived. 6 matches, 6 wickets, economy rate of 8.80 – these numbers don’t justify keeping him around.
Aaron Finch – The Australia white-ball skipper has been something of an IPL nomad, having represented a number of franchises for brief stints. He was expected to do a job atop the order for RCB but was generally underwhelming – 268 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 111.20. He was often outshone by young Karnataka batsman Devdutt Padikkal and it won’t be a shock to see RCB find someone other than Finch to partner the youngster in 2021.