The two biggest stars of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma will continue their association with their respective teams, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, while MS Dhoni will return to play for Chennai Super Kings as the eight franchises revealed the list of players retained ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction. Although franchises were allowed to hold back a maximum of four players, only four teams – MI, CSK, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals –made the most of it, with the remaining persisting with either two or three options.
Among a cluster of unexpected players released, the exclusions of Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal have emerged as the biggest shockers. MI preferred Suryakumar Yadav over its talismanic all-rounder, whereas RCB went ahead with Mohammed Siraj ahead of the experienced leg-spinner. Another notable omission was that of Rashid Khan, who could not make it to Sunrisers Hyderabad’s retained three. The franchise went with uncapped duo of Abdul Samad and Umran Malik along with skipper Kane Williamson. As expected, there was no David Warner either.
Similarly, the Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders did not hold back from retaining four players. For the two-time IPL champions, Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine and Venkatesh Iyer will turn up next year, while the likes of Eoin Morgan and Shubman Gill were let go off. There were a couple of shockers in the DC camp too, as Shikhar Dhawan – one of their most prolific scorers over the last couple of years – and former captain Shreyas Iyer fell behind the pecking order to Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Anrich Nortje and Axar Patel. Avesh Khan, the IPL 2021’s second-highest wicket-taker was surprisingly released as well.
Along with the returning Dhoni, CSK ensured they held back Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali and Ruturaj Gaikwad. Jadeja is the frontrunner to replace Dhoni as captain of the side when the 40-year-old is done, while Gaikwad was the leading run-getter for the franchise in IPL 2021. Suresh Raina getting released was on expected lines given the left-hander’s limited appearances for the team this year. Moeen Ali was the overseas option, getting the nod ahead of Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir and Lungi Ngidi.
The Punjab Kings went with the least retentions, with Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh being the only two cricketers to continue with the franchise. KL Rahul, their captain in the last two seasons, decided to put his name into the auction, as explained by head coach Anil Kumble. PBKS also refrained from retaining Chris Gayle, and with a huge amount in their purse will be smacking their lips ahead of the mega-auction.
Lastly, winners of the inaugural edition, Rajasthan Royals too felt that a maximum of three retentions would be enough, which were Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Yashasvi Jaiswal, meaning there was no place for England all-rounder Ben Stokes and fast bowler Jofra Archer as the franchise seeks a reboot in hope of repeating their 2008 glory.