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IPL 2024 Retentions: Have RCB shot themselves in the foot?

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Last updated on 26 Nov 2023 | 03:40 PM
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IPL 2024 Retentions: Have RCB shot themselves in the foot?

We break down the calls taken by the franchises on IPL 2024 retention day (November 26th)

Were RCB too aggressive with their releases?

With all of Josh Hazlewood, Wanindu Hasaranga, Harshal Patel, David Willey and Wayne Parnell gone, Mohammed Siraj & Reece Topley are now the *only* experienced bowlers in RCB's entire squad. Even among the two, while Siraj is someone whose form tends to be unpredictable, Topley has a horrid injury record. 

With the mass exodus, RCB have put themselves in a situation where they *have* to have an excellent auction and secure all their primary targets in order to build a competent bowling attack.

Even if you have a large purse, that's a dangerous situation to be in. However, with news coming in that Cameron Green has reportedly been traded in from MI, RCB will now have to construct an entire bowling attack with approx INR 23 crore in their purse. It begs the question: what are the management thinking? 

The franchise was admittedly a bit unlucky that Hazlewood, as revealed by head coach Andy Flower, had to be let go due to personal reasons. But the call to release both Hasaranga and Willey is a bit debatable. 

At the auction, it is very unlikely that they will find a spinner as good as / better than Hasaranga, and a utility player like Willey around the price range he was originally bought for (2 crore).

The Hasaranga and Willey decisions are debatable, but the move to blow half the budget on a top-order batter like Green beggars belief and defies logic. Why would you spend so much on a top-order batter when your batting is already stacked, thanks to the presence of Kohli, du Plessis, Maxwell, Rajat Patidar and Will Jacks?

Andy Flower & Co. have clearly decided to go 'batting heavy' but to leave 23 crore to construct an entire bowling unit seems like a huge blunder.

Why did Punjab release Shahrukh Khan? And should they have let go of Rabada?

Over the years, PBKS have been synonymous with ‘wholesale changes’, so it was a surprise to see the franchise release just five players. They still managed to make a controversial call anyway, letting go of *the* Shahrukh Khan.

From both a statistical and financial point of view, PBKS’ call to let SRK go makes sense: being a specialist batter, he’s averaged just 20 across 3 seasons and he also cost them a staggering 9 crore. 

However, considering the overload of top-order batters in their squad, it is a massive surprise that the Kings decided to let go of someone like SRK who not only brings in a unique profile but is also, crucially, a local player. 

There will likely be no better Indian alternatives available in the market, nor will the Kings be able to buy SRK back at a cheaper price because he’ll be a very high-demand player, being an Indian lower-order finisher, a very rare commodity. 

SRK was a surprise release, but a surprise retention was Kagiso Rabada. Considering Rabada’s price tag (INR 9.25 crore), the fact that he played only 6 matches last season (and was poor) and was behind both Sam Curran and Nathan Ellis in the pecking order, releasing the speedster would have made sense and provided the Kings more flexibility at the auction table. 

With Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone and Curran all locks in the XI when fit, the Kings might once again be in a situation next season where they’ll have to bench 9.25 crore Rabada. 

KKR are righting the wrongs, but perhaps they could have released Sunil Narine

KKR made multiple shocking calls last season, so, in a way, it is no surprise that they decided to go all-in with releases this time around, letting go of 12 players. Among the 12 were two big-money signings Shardul Thakur and Lockie Ferguson, and you really cannot argue against their releases, considering their price tag and performances. 

12 releases is A LOT, but crucially, KKR have their core intact - Shreyas Iyer, Rinku Singh, Nitish Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Venkatesh Iyer and a couple of promising young bowlers in Harshit Rana and Suyash Sharma. 

KKR will enter the auction with the third-highest purse (INR 32.7 crore), but you wonder if they could have increased it even more by letting go of Sunil Narine. Apart from Narine’s numbers in T20 cricket declining of late, KKR already have two very good spinners in Varun and Suyash. 

Thus, perhaps the Knight Riders could have contemplated releasing Narine and either going after a different spinner or buying the veteran back at a lower price (in the case of them not securing a better bowler).

But all things said, KKR are in a very, very good position ahead of the auction - they could be serious contenders if they add the right players to the squad. 

Do Lucknow really need Padikkal? And could they have released Mark Wood?

Not much to talk about in terms of Lucknow’s releases, but they made an INR 7.75 crore trade to bring in Devdutt Padikkal to solve their No.3 problem. Is it a shrewd move?

Padikkal is a promising young batter, no doubt, but the reason Rajasthan got rid of him in the first place was because they struggled to fit him in the middle-order. They tried to make the Padikkal experiment work for two years but failed. Now LSG have invested close to 8 crore in a bid to do the same. 

A top three of De Kock - Rahul - Padikkal means you have two anchors and three players who are not really great hitters of spin bowling. Not an ideal top three, is it?

You suspect if LSG could instead have used the INR 7.75 crore to bring in a proper No.3 at the auction (Daryl Mitchell or Rachin Ravindra, perhaps?).

In terms of retentions, the only questionable call is the call to retain Mark Wood because a) he has a very bad injury record and b) he is expensive (7.50 crore).

Considering there will be no paucity of fast bowlers at the upcoming auction, maybe LSG could have let go of Wood. Let’s hope that, for their sake, Wood does not opt out of IPL 2024 at the eleventh hour. 

Have SRH blundered by releasing Adil Rashid?

When it comes to SRH, the releases of Harry Brook and Kartik Tyagi have taken center stage, but you can understand why the management let both players go. While retaining Brook for INR 13.25 crore was going to be unsustainable, they let Tyagi (INR 4 crore) go because he was far too behind in the pecking order. 

But the decision to let Adil Rashid go is indeed a bit baffling. It would have been understandable had Rashid been a big-money signing, but SRH purchased him at his base price of just INR 2 crore. It is impossible that, come the mini-auction, the Sunrisers will be able to upgrade on Rashid without spending 3x the money. Even that’s unrealistic because Hasaranga will likely be the only ‘better’ wrist-spinner available to be purchased.

The move to release Rashid would have made sense had SRH had a good Indian spin core (like KKR), but all they have is Mayank Markande, Shahbaz Ahmed and Washington Sundar, who averaged close to 50 with the ball last season.  

Barring that, they are well-placed heading into the auction, with a purse of INR 34 crore. Expect them to snap up a world-class opener and probably someone like Hasaranga. But Rashid’s release means that they will be in a precarious position if they fail to land someone like Hasaranga. 

RR have done everything right (so far)

Not only have RR released all the players they needed to get rid of (Holder, McCoy etc), but they’ve managed to bring in a quality Indian fast bowler like Avesh Khan as well. On paper, they now have one of the best bowling attacks in the entire competition (Boult-Prasidh-Avesh-Ashwin-Chahal-Zampa).

They will enter the auction with a small purse (14.5 crore), but they luckily only need two players - a backup overseas pacer and a pace-bowling all-rounder. With smart planning, they should be able to get both done.

They’ve also managed to move out Padikkal, which is not a bad thing at all. For two seasons, they tried to force-fit the youngster into the XI, but this departure could potentially pave the way for Riyan Parag to bat up the order, where his strength lies. 

DC, like KKR, are righting the wrongs 

Like KKR, DC were a side that made a lot of questionable purchases in the last couple of years. They also, for some reason, stacked up their squad exclusively with top-order batters. Considering that, it’s no surprise that they’ve released 11 players, with most of them being batters. 

It’s hard to argue against any of the releases, but like RCB, they are now in a position where they will need to have a very good auction. There are a lot of holes to be filled; how their IPL 2024 goes could be decided at the auction table in about 20 days’ time. 

In terms of the retentions they made, you wonder if they could have released Lungi Ngidi. Ngidi has not played a single IPL game across the past two seasons and, for the longest time, has anyway been a pretty ordinary T20 bowler. Indeed, he cost only 50 lakh, but releasing him would have freed up a slot to bring in a better overseas pacer.

CSK are (probably) the best-placed team heading into the auction

✅Huge purse (31.4 crore)

✅ Core intact 

✅ Maximum stability 

CSK are currently truly living every IPL franchise’s dream. They won the IPL last year, and now they have a ridiculous amount of money to spend thanks to Ben Stokes, a player they didn’t even need last season, withdrawing in order to help them save 16.25 crore.

They need an Indian middle-order batter and a couple of world-class fast bowlers, yes, but they should be able to get all desired targets comfortably due to the size of their purse. 

Note: We will not be discussing the fate of Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Titans in this piece for obvious reasons. But don’t worry, we’ll address the state of those two franchises in detail very soon

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