IPL, one of the most glamorous and competitive tournaments in the world, is set to enter it's 12th year. The highly popular T20 league has given a barrage of young talent to the Indian national side. Even international players have acclaimed a lot of praise for themselves playing in the IPL.
However, not always does a player perform as per his ability. Sometimes players are unable to justify their talent and fail to live up to the expectations.
With the high competitive nature of the tournament, teams tend to lose faith in such players and release them from their squad next season. However, it is very important for teams to realise that one bad season doesn't make a player bad.
With the IPL governing council setting 15th November the deadline for releasing players for next season, all the teams are contemplating players they should release for the next season. We will look at one player from each team who should be retained despite his poor performance last season.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Shivam Mavi
Shivam Mavi came into limelight after his superlative bowling performance for India U19 at the Under 19 World Cup. Kolkata Knight Riders got the youngster in the side and was included in the playing XI after a few matches as Mitchell Starc and Kamlesh Nagarkoti were ruled out of the tournament due to injuries. Even though Mavi bowled with good pace, he was taken away for too many runs. He proved to be very expensive, especially in the death overs. The Uttar Pradesh pacer gave away runs at a high economy of 9.64 runs per over and took just 5 wickets in 9 matches. But Mavi is still very young and will only improve with time. He has shown the ability to perform at the highest level and definitely deserves one more chance with KKR.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Washington Sundar
Washington Sundar had a forgettable IPL 2018. Sundar came into the tournament at the back of a Man of the Series performance for the Indian team in the Nidahas trophy. Sundar shot into prominence because of a spectacular season for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017.
Sundar impressed everyone with his control and temperament that he displayed while bowling in the powerplays. He was expected to do the same for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But what followed was nothing less than a nightmare for the 19-year-old. The all-rounder took just four wickets in seven matches and gave away runs at a poor economy of 9.60. He was eventually dropped from the playing XI.
After the IPL Sundar was sidelined for a long period because of an injury. However, he is fit and raring to go. Sundar has made a comeback in the Indian T20 side for the series against West Indies. RCB will know the importance of a good Indian player and they might retain Sundar this season.
Kings XI Punjab - Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal broke almost every domestic batting record in 2017 season. The Karnataka batsman scored heaps of runs in every format that year and was one of the most sought after domestic players at the 2018 player auction.
He got a good deal too as he was snapped by Kings XI Punjab, who has had batting struggles in the past, at a decent amount of 1 crore.
But to the surprise of many, Agarwal had an off season playing for Kings XI Punjab.
Owing to stupendous recent form, he was picked in the playing XI straight away at the expense of big names like Chris Gayle. Agarwal did have a couple of starts but couldn't convert them into anything big. He amassed just 120 runs in 11 matches and failed consistently.
Even though the Karnataka batsman had a rough season last year, he shouldn't be dropped by Kings XI Punjab because he has been in fantastic form off late. Agarwal has played some splendid innings for India A and can be crucial to KXIP's chances next year.
Chennai Superkings - Sam Billings
Sam Billings is a highly effective T20 player. The multi-utility player, who can also keep wickets, has the reputation of being a busy batsman. Billings started the season with a bang in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders.
It was Billings debut match for CSK and the side was chasing a stiff target of 203 runs. The Englishman played a swashbuckling knock of 56 runs off 23 balls, which included 5 sixes and 2 boundaries. But things went downside for Billings after that match.
Billings failed to continue the good work and scored just 52 runs in the next 9 outings. Once Faf du Plessis got fit, Billings struggled to keep his place in the playing XI.
But keeping in mind the fact that Billings is no longer a regular in the England side, he might be able to play the whole season for CSK. CSK would definitely need the services of a utility player like Billings.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Deepak Hooda
Sunrisers Hyderabad invested heavily in Deepak Hooda when they used their RTM card for retaining him at the auction at an astounding price of 3.6 crore. Hooda, who was picked at a price of 4.2 crore at the 2017 auction, did not do much in IPL 2017 but looking at his talent and domestic performance Sunrisers used the RTM card on the youngster. The all-rounder was also selected in India's T20 squad for the Nidahas trophy.
But for the second year in a row, Hooda underperformed in the IPL. The Baroda player scored a paltry 87 runs in 9 matches and failed to play the big shots that he is known for.
Sunrisers might be running out of patience and can release Hooda, but they will be ill-advised to do so. Hooda can use the long handle to good effect and can be a match winner. He has also been in rich vein of form lately and SRH can try him one more time.
Delhi Daredevils - Glenn Maxwell
At the 2018 IPL auction, Delhi Daredevils bought Glenn Maxwell for an eye-popping amount of 9 crores. While Maxwell is kind of a hit-or-miss player, he can make mockery of any bowling-attack in the world. Maxwell has shown his batting prowess in the IPL previously too.
Delhi Daredevils were hoping for Maxwell to do the same playing for them. Even though Maxwell played at a strike-rate of more than 140, he failed to score runs consistently. 169 runs in 12 innings at an average of around 14 does not do justice to the talent of a player like Glenn Maxwell.
Even though Delhi Daredevils will be extremely disappointed with Maxwell's below par performance, they should realise that he is a player with an X-factor.
The Australian all-rounder can win matches for his side single-handedly. He has also shown signs of returning in form for Australia and a little patience can pay rich dividends for Delhi Daredevils.
Rajasthan Royals - Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes announced himself in the IPL with a sensational debut season for Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017. Stokes was brilliant for Pune helping them reach the finals of the 10th season. He also won the player of the tournament award that season.
This was the primary reason why he was bought by Rajasthan Royals at a whopping price of 12.5 crore. But unfortunately, things did not span the way Rajasthan Royals and Stokes would have liked.
The all-rounder scored 196 runs and took 8 wickets in the 13 matches he played for the Royals. However, Royals should keep the thought of releasing Stokes away from their minds.
Stokes is perhaps the best all-rounder in the world right now and it won't take much time for him to bounce back. Even though 12.5 crores is a lot of money, when in full flow, he is worth every penny.
Mumbai Indians - Kieron Pollard
One player whose performance was highly criticised was Kieron Pollard. And it was fair enough. The big hitting Trinidadian is expected to blast the opposition every time he walks out to bat because he is more than capable of doing it. Pollard has played some sensational innings for Mumbai Indians throughout the IPL.
However, last year was lean according to his lofty standards. Pollard scored just 133 runs in 9 innings and was in and out of the playing XI. Poor show by the overseas players was a major reason for Mumbai Indians' mediocre performance last season. And Pollard was one of them.
While there are high chances that Pollard is axed from the Mumbai Indians' squad this season, the MI think tank might want to rethink their decision considering Pollard's CPL performance. The all-rounder made 330 runs at an outstanding average of 47.14 and high strike-rate of 159.42.
His recent performance in CPL and years of experience of playing in high pressure matches might give a new lifeline to Kieron Pollard.