Though we are still a long way away from the kick-off of the 12th edition of Indian Premier League, franchises are busy in the trading window. They have until mid-November to trade or release players for the 2019 season and get ready for the auction which is expected to happen mid-December.
We have already witnessed a couple of trades so far in the current transfer window. Mumbai Indians bought Quinton de Kock in IPL 2019’s first trade. RCB’s Mandeep Singh and Kings XI’s Marcus Stoinis exchanged camps in a swap deal. Also, players like Akila Dananjaya and Mustafizur Rahman were released by Mumbai Indians.
With less than a couple of months remaining before the auction, expect a lot of action from the franchises in the coming weeks. Teams like Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, and Royal Challengers Bangalore have no option but to reinforce their squad after a disappointing 2018 campaign. With not a lot of money left to play, franchises have to release their underperforming big money signings to free up funds for the 2019 IPL auction.
On that note, let’s take a look at the one expensive player each team could release.
#8 Delhi Daredevils: Glenn Maxwell
The Australian international has not missed a single IPL season ever since his debut in 2012. He started with Delhi Daredevils in 2012 and then moved to the Mumbai Indians in 2013 for 1 million USD. Mumbai did not retain him and he was he was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 6 crores in 2014. He stayed with the Punjab franchise for three years and then moved back to Delhi Daredevils in 2018.
Though he is definitely one of the brutal hitters in world cricket, he struggled a lot on Indian pitches, especially against the leg-spin. Teams keep paying a lot of money for a player who averages only 22.90 in 69 IPL matches. The 30-year-old has not made a single 50+ score in his last two Premier League seasons and averaged only 14 in 2018. With Rs 9 crores, Delhi can certainly sign some quality cricketers in the 2019 auction.
#7 Rajasthan Royals: D’Arcy Short
D’Arcy Short came to prominence in the 2017/18 Big Bash League when he starred for Hobart Hurricanes with 572 runs in the tournament. He finished as the top run-getter in the tournament and had an average of 57.20 and a strike rate of 149.
Rajasthan Royals paid Rs. 4 crores in the 2018 auction to sign him, but he failed to live up to the hype. He scored only 115 runs in seven games and his highest score was only 44. He struggled against the spinners in the powerplay overs and failed to convert his starts.
Rajasthan Royals then promoted Jos Buttler and the Englishman was a huge success as an opener with six consecutive fifties. Royals might look to release the Australian opener and use the money to reinforce their squad for the 2019 season.
#6 Kings XI Punjab: Yuvraj Singh
One of the finest limited-overs cricketers to have ever played for India, Yuvraj Singh played a key role for India in their 2011 World Cup and 2007 World T20 success. He has single-handedly won games for India was one of the most feared hitters in the game.
However, he was never the same player in IPL. He never managed to score 400+ runs in a single IPL season and was far too inconsistent. In his last four IPL seasons, the 36-year-old has was awfully out of touch. Yuvraj Singh managed to score only four fifties in 44 games and his average was around 20.
His strike rate too declined in recent times and he looked like a shadow of a player he once was. KXIP failed to qualify for the playoffs last season and would like to make some changes to their squad to compete for a top-four finish in 2019.
#5 Royal Challengers Bangalore: Chris Woakes
Primarily a bowler, Chris Woakes is also a decent batsman who can score crucial runs in the lower order. Woakes has played quite a few exceptional knocks for England in One Day Internationals and has a batting average of 27.34. He played for Kolkatta Knight Riders in IPL 2018 and finished the tournament with 17 wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore paid a massive Rs 7.4 crores to sign the Englishman during the 2018 IPL auction. He was expected to lead their bowling attack and finish games with the bat. However, Woakes' season fell apart very soon.
Though he picked up eight wickets in five games, he went for more than 10 runs an over. He was extremely expensive in the death overs and leaked a lot of runs. RCB finished sixth last and this Rs 7.4 crores could get them a world-class player.
#4 Sunrisers Hyderabad: Wriddhiman Saha
One of the best wicket-keepers in world cricket, Wriddhiman Saha was never able to make it big in international cricket. Bought by his hometown franchise Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008, Saha had a decent campaign with 159 runs at an average of 31.80.
However, Saha struggled in the successive IPL seasons and never managed to score more than 100 runs in a season until 2013. The move to Kings XI Punjab in 2014 resurrected his IPL career. He played a key role in KXIP's run to the 2014 IPL final and even made a brilliant 115* off 55 balls in the final against Kolkata Knight Riders.
He was released by KXIP in 2017 and was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 5 crores in the 2018 auction. Saha struggled a lot for SRH and managed only 122 runs in 11 games at an average of 15.25. He is also having fitness issues and SRH would want to make use of the funds to strengthen their squad.
#3 Kolkata Knight Riders: Mitchell Johnson
One of the most feared fast bowlers at his peak, Mitchell Johnson has waned with age and struggled for consistency. Johnson had a stunning IPL debut campaign in 2013 when he led Mumbai Indians to their maiden title.
He finished the season with 24 wickets and was one of the best bowlers in the tournament. Sadly, that turned out to be his most successful IPL season so far.
Release by Mumbai Indian in 2017, the 37-year-old was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 2 crores in the 2018 auction. Kolkata lost Mitchell Starc to an injury even before the season started and Johnson was expected to play a key role.
However, the former Australian international failed to deliver for his new franchise. He finished the season with just two wickets in six games and conceded more than 10 runs an over. Seam bowling turned out to KKR's weakness last season and they would want to reinforce that.
#2 Mumbai Indians: Kieron Pollard
One of the very few overseas players who stayed with the club since debut. Pollard has been with the Mumbai Indians since 2010 and a fan favourite at the Wankhede. The 31-year-old has played 132 games for Mumbai and scored 2476 at an average of 28.13 and strike rate of 145.73. He was the Player of the Match in the 2013 finals when Mumbai clinched their maiden IPL title.
Pollard has been an important player for Mumbai over the years and played a stellar role in their three Indian Premier League titles wins. Mumbai used a right-to-match card to retain Pollard for Rs 5.4 crores in the 2018 auction and the decision backfired on them.
Pollard was far from his best last season and was even dropped for a few games. He played nine games in 2018 and scored only 133 runs at an average of 19 and a strike rate of 133. Pollard’s failure has exposed Mumbai Indians’ middle-order last campaign as they failed to qualify for the playoffs.
#1 Chennai Super Kings: Harbhajan Singh
One of India's greatest spinners of all-time, Harbhajan Singh was exceptional for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League. He was a crucial player for Mumbai in their three title wins and picked up 127 wickets at less than 7 runs an over.
He was released by Mumbai in 2017 and Chennai Super Kings bought him for Rs 2 crores in the 2018 auction as a replacement for Ravichandran Ashwin. The 38-year-old played 13 games for CSK and picked up only seven wickets. He was below-par in the 2016 and 2017 seasons as well.
Though he wasn't really bad for CSK, he has lost his zip and was ineffective on occasions. Also, his lack of variations has allowed the batsman to get on top of him. CSK might look to replace him for the 2019 season.