The eight IPL franchises have confirmed which players they’ll retain for the 2021 season, and who will be eligible for purchase in next month’s mini-auction. An event that has been scaled back for health reasons. This offers each team the opportunity to reassess their squads, let go of players they feel are no longer required, and free up funds for additional signings. Some established names are back on the market ahead of the IPL 14 campaign.
The IPL continues to prove the world’s most popular domestic T20 competition with 400 billion minutes of action viewed across India for the 2020 edition and TV rights worth 16,347.5 crores ($2.55 billion USD). This hyper-engaged audience keeps fans consuming content including coverage of cricket betting tips before the action gets underway and for every match throughout the tournament.
Steve Smith released by Rajasthan Royals
Perhaps the biggest name to be released is Australian Steve Smith. The 31-year-old has been on the IPL scene since 2010. He was initially signed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, but injury prevented him from ever taking to the field for them. Since then, the former Australian captain has had stints with three teams including Pune Warriors and Rising Pune Supergiant. Now, his second spell with the Rajasthan Royals has ended too.
Smith is one of the leading Test batsmen in the world and has 2333 IPL runs to his name. However, his tally of 311 runs as captain of the RR’s in the 2020 edition saw him 26th in the batting charts as the Royals underwhelmed in UAE, finishing bottom of the table. His talents will make him an interesting prospect in the mini-auction. However, at a lofty price tag off the back of a poor season for the franchise overall, his former team has decided to move in a different direction. Sanju Samson will take over as captain.
More Australian internationals released, including Maxwell and Finch
Several more Australian big names will join Smith in the auction, including Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch. Both big-hitters underwhelmed in IPL 13 and will be on the market for other franchises going forward. Finch managed just 268 runs at an average of 22.33 and failed to reach 50. Maxwell meanwhile, mustered only 108 runs for Kings XI Punjab, striking at a little over a run a ball.
Both players are in action at the Big Bash League at the time of writing, but it remains to be seen if those displays Down Under will be enough to convince other franchises to bid for their services. Especially with a maximum of 85 crores available for each team to spend in next month’s mini-auction. This could curb extravagant spending to some degree.
Malinga retires from franchise cricket after Mumbai release
Lasith Malinga has been released by reigning champions Mumbai Indians. Following the confirmation, the 37-year-old announced that he would be retiring from franchise cricket altogether. The Sri Lankan fast bowler leads the IPL in wickets with 170 across 122 matches, but it appears that will be his final tally after a 12-year career.
Despite his absence, Mumbai secured their fifth IPL title, thanks in part to a potent bowling attack. JaspritBumrah and Trent Boult took 15 wickets apiece with James Pattinson, who was drafted to replace Malinga, taking 10 more. The pacers were backed up by a power-packed batting line-up in which Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, and Suryakumar Yadav all posting 480 runs or more. Given their impressive consistency in recent seasons, MI will be the team to beat in 2021.