10 players IPL franchises shouldn't have released over the years
Since its inception, the IPL has produced players who have gone on to become household names. They have become synonymous with their franchise, but many fans may not know that their IPL journey started with a different team. They were released by one team due to poor performance only to end up performing really well for another team in the following season. We have seen this happen numerous times with several players over the years.
Here is a look at those 10 players that IPL franchises shouldn’t have released. I have taken into account released players dating back to 2008. Please let me know any other player who you feel should have made this list.
10. Dwayne Bravo
Everyone knows Dwayne Bravo for his slick dance moves in the IPL. He has become one of CSK’s most beloved players over the years so much so that it is now hard to imagine a time when he wasn’t part of this franchise.
Bravo was, in fact, a part of the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League, but he wasn’t part of the Chennai Super Kings team. In fact, he started his career wearing a certain blue jersey and playing for CSK’s rivals - Mumbai Indians.
He played for Mukesh Ambani’s team for three years from 2008-2009. The first two seasons were pretty decent for the West Indian all-rounder. He was contributing with bat and ball. However, in 2010 his form hit a slump and he wasn’t able to contribute as well as he would’ve liked.
Following the 2010 season, all teams were asked to retain just four players. Mumbai retained their core and Bravo got lost in the shuffle. He went unsold in the 2011 auctions only to resurface again in 2012.
Fortunately, this time he was purchased by the Chennai Super Kings. He rose like a phoenix under Dhoni’s captaincy. His shining moment came when he was asked to be CSK’s death over specialist. It was then that he started performing even better with the ball. He became the first bowler to win the purple cap on two occasions (2013 and 2015). He also holds the record for most wickets in a single IPL season (32).
The entire Mumbai Indians’ staff are probably wondering how did they allow a gem of a player like Bravo to slip through their fingers.
9. KL Rahul
KL Rahul debuted in the IPL for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. In his maiden season, he only played 5 games and scored a measly 20 runs. It was no surprise that he wasn’t retained for the following season.
He spent 2014 and 2015 as part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad dugout. He was mostly used as a middle-order batsman. His performances for the franchise weren’t captivating enough to warrant another contract.
He returned to play for his previous team in the following season. This also happened to be his breakout year in the IPL. He was selected as a last-minute replacement in the playing XI for their primary wicket-keeper, Kedar Jadhav. He scored a swashbuckling half-century during the match and secured his place. He went on to score four more half-centuries in the tournament and became a crucial part of the team. In an unfortunate turn of events, Lokesh Rahul was injured prior to the start of the 2017 tournament and couldn’t participate.
Surprisingly, RCB chose to retain young Sarfaraz over Rahul for the 2018 season. This meant that Rahul had to find himself a new franchise. Luckily, his previous form landed him a contract with Kings XI Punjab. He was their lone warrior at the top of the order and save the team on multiple occasions. He scored a total of 659 runs in 14 matches at an average of 54.91. KXIP recognized his value and have retained him for one more season.
RCB must be regretting their decision to pick Sarfaraz Khan over KL Rahul.
8. Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir started his IPL career as part of the Delhi Daredevils team from 2008 to 2010. While with the franchise, he was remarkably consistent with the bat so much so that he was asked to lead the franchise in 2010.
Shockingly, DD still released him from his contract. Delhi have been prone to making rash decision before and during the IPL auctions, but this was a bit too much and they paid a heavy price for it.
Gautam Gambhir, on the other hand, went on to captain KKR for seven seasons leading them to the coveted trophy twice. His form with the bat also improved significantly.
It was clear that DD messed up big time and they requested him (Gambhir) to return to the team in 2018, but the damage was done and Gautam was now a shadow of his former self. He relinquished his captaincy midway through the tournament and announced his retirement from all forms the cricket.
7. Andrew Tye
Andrew Tye made a memorable debut in the IPL for Gujarat Lions with a five-wicket haul, but prior to his amazing debut, he was part of the Chennai Super Kings. Yes, that’s right. The Australian pacer was part of the CSK team for one season in 2015. No one remembers him because he didn’t even get a single game to show his talent.
He was released thereafter and picked up by the Gujarat Lions only to be benched for his first season with them. However, as luck would have, Tye got a chance to play and picked up five wickets sealing his place in the playing XI.
With the disbandment of the Gujarat Lions, Tye found himself as part of the auction pool once again. But his past performances didn’t go unnoticed as he earned himself a contract for KXIP. He went on to become their most prolific bowler during the 2018 season and even won the purple cap.
CSK are probably wondering what could’ve been possible if Tye was part of their bowling lineup.
6. Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum made his debut in the inaugural match of the IPL against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He scored a massive unbeaten 158 to help his team (KKR) to a victory. However, it all went downhill since then. He played with KKR for two more seasons. His performances at the club were ordinary and it almost seemed like he had no role to play.
He was released in 2011 and went on to play of Kochi Tuskers Kerala. It turned out to be one of his best seasons. When Kochi Tuskers Kerala were defunct, he found himself back in the auction pool. Again, he was picked up by KKR. He spent another two more seasons with KKR before moving on to play for the Chennai Super Kings.
It was then where his true potential was unleashed. He spent two years at CSK until they were banned from the IPL. KKR probably spent those two years questioning their premature decision to release him (McCullum) despite not having a solid opening pair.
5. Ambati Rayudu
Ambati Rayudu was one of the most talented players in the Mumbai Indians. He joined their franchise in 2010 and played with them till 2017. It always seemed that he was their hidden gem in the middle. He performed well with the bat, scored runs when his team needed it the most and was good behind the stumps. Apparently, that wasn’t enough for Mumbai Indians to retain him for another season - a mistake that would prove too costly.
He appeared for Chennai Super Kings in the 2018 season. Right from the start, everyone felt that Rayudu was one good season away from becoming a household name, and as it just so happens, this was that season for him. Wearing the prestigious yellow jersey, Rayudu took the field as a replacement for Kedar Jadhav.
Immediately, he was promoted to open the batting and that’s where it clicked for him. He scored 602 runs in 16 matches with a strike-rate of 149.75. He also scored his maiden IPL century this season. Rayudu became one of the main reasons for CSK’s triumphant return.
One can only speculate what would have happened had Rayudu opened the batting for Mumbai Indians. Maybe, MI would have won the coveted title. But for now, this remains MI’s biggest regret till date.
4. Shane Watson
Shane Watson was an unknown player when he first appeared in the IPL for the Rajasthan Royals. He was purchased for a heavy price tag. Right from the start, the platform was set for Watson to become a huge superstar. He did well for himself in the inaugural edition and was instrumental in helping RR clinch their first IPL title. He was also named the player of the tournament.
For years, he was considered their star player and even went on to become captain of the franchise. Once RR was banned from the IPL, the Australian all-rounder had to bid farewell to the franchise where it all started.
During this time, he went on to have a below average performance in the next seasons of the cash-rich league while playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. At the end of the 2017 edition of the IPL, it was clear to everyone that Watson wasn’t in the best of form.
This could’ve been the reason why Rajasthan Royals decided against retaining him and went with Steve Smith instead. Surprisingly, Watson went on to play for CSK. He redeemed himself perfectly and proved a perfect opening partner for the in-form Ambati Rayudu.
He was one of their leading scorers with 555 runs in 15 innings with a strike-rate of 154.59. 2018 also turned out to be his best season yet. He scored two hundreds and two fifties including a fantastic unbeaten century in the finals.
3. AB de Villiers
AB de Villiers has become so synonymous with RCB that many fans don’t remember that he made his IPL debut for the Delhi Daredevils in 2008. He spent three seasons with the franchise from 2008 to 2010. Out of those three seasons, he had only one memorable season where he scored one century and three half-centuries.
AB de Villiers became known for his big hitting and his 360-degree style of play. On his day, he can dominate any bowler to all parts of the ground. However, his time at DD was forgettable at best. He was batting lower down the order at number 5. This didn’t give him enough chances to score runs and his team suffered due to his poor performances. Hence, Delhi Daredevils decided to release him in 2011.
He was picked up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2011 IPL auctions. This is where he has played from 2011 to present. “Mr. 360” has put on many scintillating performances over the past couple of years. In fact, he has formed a formidable duo with RCB skipper Virat Kohli. The duo have also put on many mind-boggling partnerships over the years.
Delhi are often known for their premature decisions at the auction, and this is one of those decisions that has hurt them deeply.
2. David Warner
Unlike Shane Watson, David Warner was a well-known commodity in T20 cricket when he debuted for Delhi Daredevils. There was a lot of buzz surrounding Warner’s arrival especially since he scored back-to-back tons in the Champions League T20 in the previous year.
However, he failed to live up to the hype. He played five seasons with the franchise and score two tons during this duration. His best with DD came in 2013 when he scored 410 runs. Despite this, he was released from his contract the following year.
In 2014, he was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad. David Warner single-handedly elevated SRH’s batting in the IPL. The Australian batsman went to have some of his best performances with SRH winning the orange cap on two occasions.
He also holds the record for most half-centuries in a single season with nine Warner is also the eighth highest run scorer in IPL history with a total of 4014 runs in 114 matches. Seeing how his career turned out, Delhi probably could have held on to him for a few more seasons.
1. Chris Gayle
Chris Gayle is one of the most destructive batsmen in the world. Everyone remembers his antics for RCB. But before joining RCB, Gayle was part of another IPL franchise, Kolkata Knight Riders. Gayle played for KKR from 2008 to 2010. He never played a single match for them in 2008. When he finally got to play in 2009, he wasn’t able to fulfil the expectations his franchise had in him. He scored two half-centuries in three years for KKR before finally being released.
In 2011, he joined the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The Chinnaswamy stadium seemed to be the perfect playground for the ‘Universe Boss’. The ground was small and it suited batsman. This is where Gayle became a fan favourite among the loyal RCB fans. He went on to etch his name into the record books. Gayle also won the orange on back to back occasions and even holds the record for the highest individual score (175 not out) in T20 history. He has also scored the most tons in the IPL. He played for RCB till he was released in 2017.
KKR can only wonder what would have happened had they retained him for one more season.