After the historic series win in Australia, all eyes were on the announcement of the retained and the released players for all the franchises before the IPL Auction 2021. January 20 was the deadline for the franchises to submit the final list of the retained and the released players.
The teams which finished in the top four have released fewer players compared to the teams finishing the bottom four, having said that a team like RCB who finished fourth in the last IPL has retained only 12 players. Most of the released players were expected but some of them came as a surprise. So, let’s have a look at five surprise releases ahead of IPL Auction 2021.
5. Mitchell McClenaghan
Mumbai Indians have released four overseas fast bowlers and Mitchell McClenaghan is one of them. The Kiwi pacer has been a part of the team since 2018 and had done well in 2018 and 2019. Even though he didn’t get a game in the last season he has been with the squad and is one of the key MI squad members.
Mumbai Indians has released most of their overseas players and they should have kept a senior pacer like Mitchell McClenaghan at least for his experience and hence the releasing of the left-arm pacer comes as a surprise.
4. Moeen Ali
The England spin bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali has been released from the RCB squad. Royal Challengers Bangalore has released a lot of players and Moeen Ali is one of them. The RCB team management has constantly been criticized for not using Moeen Ali in the right way.
Ali wasn’t given enough opportunities and whenever he got an opportunity in IPL 2019, he did a great job. Unfortunately, he got only 2-3 games in the last IPL and now he has been released. He hasn’t done badly for the RCB franchise and hence it is a surprise that Moeen Ali is not being retained.
3. Alex Carey
After getting released by the Delhi Capitals, Alex Carey smashed a century in the Big Bash League. Carey who got only a couple of games in the last season was released from the DC squad. It came as a surprise because Ricky Ponting who is the coach of the Delhi Capitals has always spoken highly about the wicket-keeper batsman from Australia.
Carey is a versatile batsman and can play anywhere in the order. He plays spin well which is always a good thing while playing in India. Delhi Capitals might just regret this decision later when he scores runs for some other franchise in the IPL.
2. Steve Smith
Rajasthan Royals released their captain Steve Smith from their squad. Even though Smith didn’t have a great IPL last season he is too good a player to keep performing poorly. Smith had a great white-ball series against India where he scored two centuries in less than 65 balls. They have not only released Smith but also named a young Sanju Samson as their captain.
Smith had the experience of handling big players like Stokes and Tahir even in the Rising Pune Supergiant but Sanju Samson might find it difficult. There is a high chance that Steve Smith wouldn’t have expected this as it comes as a huge surprise before the IPL Auction.
1. Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Kings XI Punjab released their mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. Mujeeb had a great IPL season for KXIP in 2018 but didn’t do well in 2019. In 2020, he was in and out of the team and didn’t get a consistent run. Mujeeb performed well in this year’s BBL.
Mujeeb’s price was not an issue as he was worth 4 CR when KXIP bought him in the 2018 Auction. There doesn’t seem to be any specific reason for the release of Mujeeb Ur Rahman but other teams will be happy that they have an opportunity to buy him in the IPL Auction 2021.