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IPL 2023: Team-wise one player who was unlucky to be released

Evin Lewis, Lockie Ferguson and Daryl Mitchell. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Over the years, the luck factor has played a massive role in order to help a player regain his lost glory in the Indian Premier League. Before the mega auction in 2011, Kolkata Knight Riders released Chris Gayle, who went on to join Royal Challengers Bangalore and changed how RCB played their cricket in the tournament.

The same is true in AB de Villiers’s case when he joined RCB after playing for Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). Similarly, when Mumbai Indians let Quinton de Kock and Hardik Pandya leave in 2022 and when Sunrisers Hyderabad let David Warner and Rashid Khan go in the same year their (players’) fortunes changed dramatically. 

The franchises might have regretted but what about the players who felt the same? A total of 90 players were released by ten franchises ahead of the IPL mini-auction 2023. Let’s talk about the players 

Unlucky players who were released before IPL 2023

1. Lockie Ferguson (Gujarat Titans)

Ahead of the mini-auction, the defending champions Gujarat Titans let one of their premier pacer Lockie Ferguson leave for Kolkata Knight Riders. A former Knight, Ferguson joined Gujarat in 2022 at a sum of INR 10 CR. It’s highly likely that GT might have traded the player to free up some valuable bucks and would look to utilise the same at the auction.

Playing for the Hardik Pandya-led side, the 31-year-old picked up 12 wickets in 13 matches and bowled at an economy of 8.96. Despite being a foreign pacer, he used to feature regularly in the team but ultimately the purse factor played a massive role.

In the absence of Pat Cummins and Shivam Mavi, Lockie can be a valuable addition to the Kolkata franchise and Gujarat later might regret letting the player leave.

He can be extremely dangerous in the death overs where the Knight Riders have suffered a lot in the previous edition. His sheer pace will also be a massive asset for Kolkata.

2. Daryl Mitchell (Rajasthan Royals)

Daryl Mitchell’s exclusion from the Rajasthan Royals squad was slightly surprising. The Kiwi has smashed 374 runs in 14 T20Is so far and batted at an impressive strike rate of 144.96 in 2022 thus far. Thus, releasing him ahead of the mini-auction was surprising but the Royals camp also can’t guarantee him a place in the playing XI because of their combination.

The 31-year-old got to play only two matches in the 15th edition of the IPL and scored 33 runs in the process – something that didn’t help him earn a place in the playing XI during the rest of the season. However, not considering him as a backup is also a surprising decision from the Rajasthan franchise.

As far as Mitchell is concerned, he has proved his mettle in the shortest version of the game and thus, multiple teams would be interested in signing the all-rounder. He is a gun fielder as well and teams like Chennai, and Hyderabad among others, who need players in the middle order can go after him at the auction.

3. Evin Lewis (Lucknow Super Giants)

Despite being a popular figure in the T20I circuit, the Caribbean run-machine Evin Lewis was released by LSG ahead of the upcoming auction. The KL Rahul-led franchise bought him for INR 2 CR at the mega auction but his place in the starting XI wasn’t guaranteed. More so, because Rahul and Quinton de Kock were in spectacular form while opening the innings and hence Lewis was dropped at number three, where he eventually couldn’t prove himself.

The 30-year-old played just six matches and scored 73 runs at a strike rate of 130.36 in the 15th edition of the marquee tournament. Following this, he was released by Lucknow.

Lewis’ destructive nature as a batter on the cricket field makes him an exciting prospect. He can take the opponent down in the powerplay and provide a strong start, which any side would love to have. After letting Rahmanullah Gurbaz leave through the trading window, Gujarat can be one of the franchises that would prefer Lewis, as he offers brute force at the top.

4. Jason Behrendorff (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

The left-arm seamer never made it to the playing XI of Royal Challengers Bangalore during the 15th edition and thus, was traded to Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2023 edition. The decision once again was surprising considering the value Behrendorff brings to the table.

Even though the Aussie speedster isn’t a regular name on Australia’s team sheet, he has done well in domestic cricket. Considering him being a left-arm seamer, he could have been a valuable asset as many of the Indian batters often struggle against the same kind of pacers.

Mumbai cashed in on the opportunity and secured his services through the trading window. With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer being a part of the squad, Behrendorff might warm the bench majority of the time. 

5. Shardul Thakur (Delhi Capitals)

Representing Delhi Capitals in IPL 2022, Shardul Thakur picked up 15 wickets in 14 matches and he is someone who adds an extra layer to the batting order. However, the Rishabh Pant-led franchise decided to trade him because of budget constraints. Thakur was one of the most expensive buys at the 2022 auction as Delhi spent a whopping INR 10.75 CR on the all-rounder.

In order to increase their budget for the mini-auction, Delhi traded Shardul to Kolkata Knight Riders. The player will very much add a lot of value to KKR, especially with Pat Cummins leaving the side. He is likely to be a guaranteed starter, which can boost his confidence ahead of the ODI World Cup in 2023.

A pace-bowling all-rounder is a rare commodity in Indian cricket and given his quality and impact, Shardul can be highly beneficial for Kolkata.

6. Vaibhav Arora (Punjab Kings)

Vaibhav Arora has been phenomenal for Himachal Pradesh in the domestic circuit. In nine First-Class matches, the speedster has picked up 30 wickets and delivered the goods with the new ball. He has the ability to swing the ball and thus, can be an exciting prospect at the auction.

Punjab Kings releasing him ahead of the auction was thus strange as the seamer has done well in the recent past. Punjab released a lot of Indian bowlers ahead of the auction and Vaibhav is a part of that.

He was handy with the ball in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2022 (SMAT) as he picked up ten scalps in seven games and is someone who can pick wickets at regular intervals.

7. Sheldon Jackson (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Sheldon Jackson’s inclusion in KKR’s playing XI during IPL 2022 was seen as a positive sign for domestic cricketers but he couldn’t get enough opportunities to prove himself. He played just five matches for Kolkata Knight Riders scoring 23 runs at a strike rate of 88.46.

He, however, impressed everyone with his wicket-keeping skill but that alone couldn’t guarantee him a place in the playing XI.

Being a popular figure in domestic cricket, the Gujarat-born cricketer has scored 1690 runs in 77 T20 matches. He can be extremely dangerous in the middle and death overs. Thus, franchises might look to rope him in at the auction.

Knight Riders acquired him for INR 60 lakhs at the 2022 IPL auction and it won’t be surprising if they once again go after the player given his weight of performances in the domestic circuit.

8. Romario Shepherd (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Despite being incredibly talented, Romario Shephard never got the opportunity to shine for Hyderabad. The all-rounder was bought in for INR 7.75 CR but played only three matches for SRH in 2022. Thus, he was shown the door as Hyderabad wanted to save some money ahead of the mini-auction.

The 27-year-old provides much-needed balance in the format and can be an asset to any side. Chennai Super Kings, who let Dwayne Bravo leave or Lucknow Supergiants, who let Jason Holder leave ahead of the mini-auction can consider Shepherd as a potential prospect seriously ahead of the auction.

9. Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings)

Veteran all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been an absolute match-winner for Chennai Super Kings. In 161 IPL matches, the Caribbean cricketer has picked up a total of 183 wickets at an economy rate of 8.38. He was MS Dhoni’s solution in the death overs for years and thus, his exclusion from the squad came as a surprise.

In 2022 itself, Bravo picked up 16 wickets in ten matches and was one of CSK’s leading bowlers in the tournament. However, availing his services at INR 4.4 CR might have become too much for CSK.

But he can still very well return back to his old franchise at the auction as CSK are known to treat their players like family. If that doesn’t happen, any team would love to have Bravo, considering his pedigree.

10. Daniel Sams (Mumbai Indians)

Daniel Sams was Rohit Sharma’s go-to bowler in the Indian Premier League last season. However, with Jofra Archer expected to feature in the next edition, Daniel Sams wouldn’t have got any playing time and thus, Mumbai decided to release the player.

In IPL 2022, Sams played 11 matches for the five-time champions and picked up 13 wickets at an economy of 8.81. In a season where Mumbai struggled a lot, Sams gave them much-needed stability with the ball and thus, he might consider himself unlucky following his release.

He can also chip in with quick runs and make a difference in the lower middle order. Given his value, a lot of teams might show interest in him at the auction as pace bowling all-rounders have always been in demand in the Indian Premier League.

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