A lot of surprises and shocks were in store as the eight franchises announced the names of the released and retained players.
While some non-performers were retained by some sides, some consistent yet silent under-achievers were released as well. After having looked at the worst retentions by IPL sides for 2019, we focus our attention on the 5 worst releases.
Mohit Sharma (Kings XI Punjab)
Mohit Sharma has made a name for himself as a silent achiever in the IPL. He has picked up more than 12 wickets in every season of the tournament that he has played in since 2013 and though his economy rate hovers around the 8.5-mark, Mohit’s ability to vary his line and length has fetched his rewards. He mixes up his slower deliveries, bouncers, and yorkers consistently, which has made life difficult for the batsmen over the seasons. With 23 wickets in 2014, Mohit was the Purple Cap Holder, an award given to the highest wicket-taker after every IPL season.
However, the medium pacer had an under-par 2018 season for Kings XI Punjab. He was never the main strike-bowler for the franchise and played only 9 games, picking up 7 wickets at an expensive economy rate of 10.85. However, considering his heroics and his experience, Kings XI would have done well to retain him for another year as the pool of Indian bowlers in the auctions is sparse.
JP Duminy (Mumbai Indians)
It would not be a hyperbole to suggest that JP Duminy has been vastly under-utilized in the IPL over the seasons. He has played only 83 IPL games thus far, scoring just over 2000 runs and has picked up 23 wickets – records that do not do justice to his talent. However, the all-rounder is having a season to remember for his national side South Africa in T20Is, scoring runs at an average of 52.66 and bowling with an average of 18.50. With Mumbai Indians struggling to find a decent spin all-rounder after Keiron Pollard’s slump, they could have bet their hopes on Duminy, who could have been the X-factor, especially if the tournament is shifted to South Africa.
Quinton de Kock (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Though the South African star was not released but traded instead, it can be termed as a baffling move. The keeper is one of the most dangerous openers in the world at the moment, and a strike-rate of 136.89 in 149 T20 games shows his power. The 25-year-old might struggled against spin in Tests, but he is a lethal player at the top and once he gets going, he often takes the game away from the rivals. De Kock got to play only 8 games in 2018, where he averaged only 25.12, but his past heroics in the previous years – he averaged 37 in 2017 and 40.66 in 2016 – implies that it might be a missed opportunity for RCB.
Axar Patel (Kings XI Punjab)
The spinner who can bat was yet another release that raised eyebrows. Axar, who believes in variations for success has always been among the wickets and before 2018, had scalped 58 wickets at an average of 26.99. With an impressive economy rate of just over 7, Axar was the team’s go-to bowler but an injury in 2018 hampered his progress. He could play only 9 games for Kings XI, where he took only 3 wickets.
Moreover, Axar’s abilities with the bat cannot be discounted either. In 2016 and 2017, the player smashed balls at a strike-rate of 144.15 and 140.12, respectively, which helped his side pile on crucial runs in the death overs. His release this season on the back of an injury hence is disappointing.
Mandeep Singh (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
RCB’s mismanagement of Mandeep Singh was no secret in 2018. Despite batting lower down the order even though he prefers batting at the top, the cricketer managed to score more than 250 runs at a strike-rate of 135.48. With RCB having released de Kock, the pressure will once again be on Kohli and AB de Villiers in 2019 at the top, and Mandeep Singh, who has shown his class over the seasons, could have been a safe bet.