The fans are very excited for the IPL 2021 season as the tournament will likely return to India. BCCI has not confirmed the venue yet. However, the chances it happens in India are high. The auction for IPL 2021 will probably take place next month. Before the auction, the franchises declared their respective player retention lists.
There were several surprises in the lists of players. While some expected players have lost their contracts, some unexpected names also returned to the auction pool. Most of the franchises need high-profile names in their team now. The auction should be an intense affair. Here’s the best XI from the players released ahead of IPL 2021.
Openers – Shane Watson and Parthiv Patel (wk)
Both Shane Watson and Parthiv Patel had clarified they would not play IPL 2021 as they retired. Hence, their franchises had no other option but to release them. Watson was a match-winner for CSK, RCB, and RR. He played a pivotal role in RR’s maiden trophy win. In 2018, he won the title with CSK, while in 2016 and 2019, his team finished runner-up.
Parthiv Patel also achieved enormous success in the IPL. Many teams sought his services since he was an Indian keeper. Patel won his first IPL trophy with CSK in 2010, and then won two titles with MI in 2013 and 2015. Patel opened the innings and performed brilliantly for MI. He played his last season for RCB in IPL 2020.
Middle Order – Steve Smith (c), Karun Nair, Glenn Maxwell, and Shivam Dube
Steve Smith will captain this XI. He led the Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2020. Unfortunately, the Royals finished at the last position on the standings. Hence, the franchise released him and elected Sanju Samson as the captain. Karun Nair will bat in the middle order with Steve Smith.
Glenn Maxwell and Shivam Dube will be the two batting all-rounders of this side. Both Maxwell and Dube can big shots at will. However, they could not impress much in IPL 2020. Thus, their respective franchises let go of them. Maxwell could likely earn another big deal in the IPL 2021 Auction.
Lower middle-order – Chris Morris and Harbhajan Singh
Chris Morris has surprisingly returned to the auction pool before IPL 2021. The Royal Challengers Bangalore had signed him last year. Morris even performed well in the opportunities he received. Still, RCB have decided against retaining him. Morris could be an asset for any team in the IPL. A team like Kings XI Punjab might sign him in the IPL 2021 Auction.
Harbhajan Singh had received a contract from the Chennai Super Kings in IPL 2018. He could not play in the IPL last year because of personal reasons. However, Harbhajan had done well in IPL 2019. Thus, it was a bit surprising to see him losing his contract. Singh will likely make his return to the field in IPL 2021.
Bowlers – Dale Steyn, Lasith Malinga, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman
The star-studded bowling lineup of this XI features South African Superstar Dale Steyn and Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga. Both veterans will miss IPL 2021. While one has decided to skip the season, the other has retired from franchise cricket. Hence, IPL 2021 will not feature them. Nevertheless, the fans will always remember them for their pace bowling.
Mujeeb Ur Rahman has shone like a star in other T20 leagues. However, the batsmen have dominated him in the IPL. The Afghan spinner was released by KXIP ahead of IPL 2021. Since he is a sought-after name in T20 cricket, many franchises will hunt for him in the auction. Thus, this is the best XI from released players.
Best possible XI from players released ahead of IPL 2021
Shane Watson, Parthiv Patel (wk), Steve Smith (c), Karun Nair, Glenn Maxwell, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Dale Steyn, and Mujeeb Ur Rahman.