The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to resume in the UAE from September 19. The event had to be postponed earlier in the year due to COVID-19. The second half of IPL 2021 will be significant with the mega auction coming up for next year’s edition. While two new franchises are all set to join the league, reports state that each franchise will only be allowed to retain three players heading into the mega auction. That apart, franchises can utilize the Right to Match (RTM) option for two more players. In this feature, we take a look at some players who might end up being released by their respective franchises even if they perform well in the UAE leg of IPL 2021.
1. Andre Russell (KKR)
The name Andre Russell has been synonymous with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a few seasons. Although the West Indian all-rounder has had only one standout season in the IPL (2019) when he clobbered 510 runs at an unbelievable strike rate of 204.81, Russell keeps giving glimpses of his power-hitting almost every season. In the first half as well, he cracked a whirlwind half-century and picked up the joint-fastest five-wicket haul in the IPL. That said, his inconsistency has hurt KKR in recent times. Eoin Morgan, Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana and Varun Chakravarthy are among the top contenders to be retained by KKR. As such, Russell looks set to go back into the auction pool even if he has a very good time in the UAE.
2. Hardik Pandya (MI)
Defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) are spoilt for choice when it comes to players they can retain ahead of the upcoming mega auction. All-rounder Hardik Pandya has been a constant presence in the MI line-up ever since he made his debut for the franchise in 2015. Pandya has gone on to become a crucial member of the Indian team as well. However, he had a pretty poor run in the first half of IPL 2021, scoring only 52 runs in seven matches. Also, he hasn’t bowled in the T20 league since IPL 2019 following back surgery. With the likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav set to be retained, Pandya is likely to find himself in the auction table again even if he does well in the UAE.
3. Kagiso Rabada (DC)
The Delhi Capitals (DC) speedster has been one of the main reasons behind the franchise’s renaissance in the IPL. Kagiso Rabada claimed 25 wickets in 12 games in IPL 2019 and followed it up with 30 wickets in 17 matches as DC reached the IPL final last year. His bouncers and yorkers proved equally effective and batsmen just could not go after him. However, Rabada wasn’t at his best in the first half of IPL 2021. He, uncharacteristically, sprayed the ball around and proved rather expensive. On current form, DC are likely to retain the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw. Even captain Shreyas Iyer’s retention seems under doubt. As such, a great performance from Rabada in the second half may not be enough for him to stay at DC.
4. Chris Morris (RR)
The most expensive player bought in the IPL auction history, at IN 16.25 crore, Chris Morris had a mixed run for Rajasthan Royals in the first half of IPL 2021. RR were massively trolled for purchasing Morris at such a high price. To be fair, the South African hasn’t done badly. He played a scintillating cameo to take RR over the line in a tense chase against DC. That apart, though, he hasn’t had much to do with the bat. Morris has been impressive with his medium-pacers, claiming 14 wickets in seven matches at a strike rate of 11.14. Even if Morris succeeds in the second half of IPL 2021, Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and someone like Chetan Sakariya are more likely to be retained. And, if Jofra Archer is fit, he too could be in the mix.
5. Yuzvendra Chahal (RCB)
During the India leg of IPL 2021, Yuzvendra Chahal completed 100 matches for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Ever since being picked by the franchise, he has become an indispensable part of the team. Chahal, however, struggled in the first half of IPL 2021. He managed only four wickets in seven matches at a strike rate of nearly 35. With Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, the top two picks to be retained and Mohammed Siraj’s stocks rising, Chahal might have to part ways with RCB.
6. David Warner (SRH)
One of the most destructive T20 batters, David Warner began IPL 2021 as Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) captain but not only ended up losing his leadership job but his place in the team as well. Warner looked completely out of sorts and although he scored nearly 200 runs in six matches, he had a rather poor strike rate of 110.28. Even if he scores swiftly in the UAE, new captain Kane Williamson, T. Natarajan and Rashid Khan hold the edge when it comes to retention.
7. Moeen Ali (CSK)
England all-rounder Moeen Ali has been a fantastic addition to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for IPL 2021. He has come in and scored brisk runs at No. 3 almost every time. And with his smart off-spin, he has been among the wickets as well. Moeen provided the x-factor with his versatile skills. But when it comes to retaining players, CSK are more likely to go with the likes of MS Dhoni (if he wants to play on), Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Suresh Raina. And so, even if Moeen comes up with some crackling performances in the second half of IPL 2021, it seems rather improbable that he will be retained. As such, his stint with CSK could be a short one.