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IPL 2019: Worst retentions and releases

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IPL_Cricket_Indian_Premier_LeagueAs inconsistencies and the occasional rough patch in form plagues every cricketer, it can get tough to differentiate between a temporary dip and the gradual waning of a player’s prowess. This dilemma would have been fresh in the minds of every IPL franchise as they settled in to decide which players to retain and which to release, in the run up to the player auction for the twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League.

In no particular order, here are 4 of the worst releases and 4 of the worst retentions by sides ahead of IPL 2019.

Worst Release: Mandeep Singh (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

A powerful striker of the ball, Mandeep Singh is one of the most promising domestic stars. After scoring 616 runs for Punjab in the 2014/15 Ranji Trophy, he was brought on board by RCB for IPL 2015. He did not disappoint, scoring at a strike-rate of 157. His playing time was cut short by a back injury in 2017, but a solid showing in that year’s Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy forced the franchise to buy him back.

Mandeep ended the tournament with 252 runs in 14 games, coming down the order more often than not, though he would rather prefer opening. His strike-rate of 135.48 was commendable as well, and hence it is baffling to see the Punjab star being released. His uncanny ability to smash even the best of deliveries out of the park is something that RCB might miss.

Worst Retention: Harbhajan Singh (Chennai Super Kings)

The Turbanator, who last played a T20I for India back in 2016, had a dismal IPL 2018, where he picked up only 7 wickets in 13 matches, bowling with an economy rate of 8.48 and an average of 38.57. Even though Bhajji played most of his matches on the dry track at Chepauk, he was unable to make a mark. Hence, it is baffling to see the franchise spend almost 2 crores on a player who is not even participating in the Ranji Trophy.

Worst Release: Quinton de Kock (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

The South African star was traded off to Mumbai Indians for and in hindsight, it might seem as a bad move by the side. The vastly experienced keeper has played 149 T20 games, where he has a strike-rate of 136.89. He does struggle against spinners in Tests, but in the shortest format he has all the skills to rip them apart. De Kock, who averaged 40.66 in the 2016 IPL and 37 in the 2017 IPL, played only 8 games in 2018 and it would not be hyperbole to say that he was massively under-utilized.

Worst Retention: Rinku Singh (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Rinku Singh took the field as a substitute more than he did as a member of the playing 11 for KKR. He got an opportunity in only 4 games, where he managed just 29 runs down the order with a strike-rate of 93.54. With the franchise releasing players like Ishank Jaggi, one of the most talented players currently, the retention of Rinku Singh can be seen as a questionable move.

Worst Release: Axar Patel (Kings XI Punjab)

The Punjab-based franchise was keen to let go of most of their stars from 2018 in a bid to start afresh after a disastrous campaign. However, the release of Axar Patel seems baffling. The spinner can pitch in with the bat as well, and has been a silent performer in the IPL all these seasons, scalping 58 wickets at an average of 26.99 with an economy of just over 7 till 2018.

Along with his exploits with the cherry, he is a good wielder of the bat as well - he enjoyed a strike-rate of 140.12 in 2017 and 144.15 a year before. He was plagued by injury in 2018, which ruled him out for most of the tournament. His release based on his performance in 2018 might cost Kings XI.

Worst Retention: Colin Munro (Delhi Capitals)

Bought for just 1.9 crores ahead of IPL 2018, the Kiwi player was considered a steal. With three T20I tons to his name, a lot was expected from him last season, but he was vastly underwhelming. In 5 games, Munro managed to score only 63 runs. He was completely at sea against the spinners at the top - a weakness that opponents exploited brilliantly. If the IPL is held in UAE or India, where the slower bowlers might come into the game from the very start, Munro might struggle once more.

Worst Release: Cameron Delport (Kolkata Knight Riders)

The franchise have a history of under-utilizing players in the IPL. Mohammad Shami was with the franchise in the early parts of his career, but he failed to play a single game. Ryan ten Doeschate, who was creating waves with his performances across the globe, was not a regular either. The same treatment was meted out to Cameron Delport, who has a reputation of changing games with both bat and ball in T20 leagues, but who did not play a single match for KKR in 2018.

The South African has played 171 T20 games to date, scoring three tons and 20 fifties at a strike-rate of 138.29. He is a match-winner with the ball as well - and an economy rate of 7.77 speaks volumes. With players like Chris Lynn expected to miss the latter half of the IPL due to the World Cup, Delport could have been a valuable replacement.

Worst Retention: Pawan Negi (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Releasing Mandeep Singh and retaining Pawan Negi, who played only 2 matches for RCB in 2018, might be the most questionable set of moves that a franchise has taken ahead of the 2019 auctions. Negi, who has been unable to live up the hype around his name, scored only 3 runs and picked up a lone wicket. His struggles against genuine pace towards the death of an innings is well-documented. And he is not the strongest smasher of the ball, in any case.



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