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Indian Premier League 2021

Five surprise retentions ahead of the IPL 2021 auction

retention IPL
Rupin Kale by Rupin Kale 3 minute read

The IPL retention day on Wednesday, January 21, saw a bunch of changes made by each franchise. While some notable players were released by the teams, there were also a number of retentions that came as a surprise.

Let’s take a look at five surprise retentions ahead of the IPL 2021 auction:

Jaydev Unadkat

Left-arm medium-pacer Jaydev Unadkat has been associated with the Rajasthan Royals for quite some time now. The 29-year-old has been with the inaugural IPL champions since 2018, having attracted lucrative deals every season. Unadkat was bought by the Royals for Rs 11.50 crore in 2018, making him the most expensive India player at that auction, and then again for Rs. 8.40 crore in 2019. While his numbers were not particularly impressive, RR continued their partnership with the fast bowler last year, buying him at the auction for a third time at a price of Rs. 3 crore. This time, they haven’t released him into the pool of players at all.

However, Unadkat’s performances have not matched his price tag so far. He leaked runs at 9.65, 10.66 and 9.91 runs per over in the last three editions, picking up a combined 25 wickets. Additionally, his average in each of the three seasons has been heady – 44.18, 39.80 and 57. While RR have stood by Unadkat over the years, their loyalty seems more puzzling with each passing season.

Ishant Sharma

While Ishant Sharma’s overall IPL record – 72 wickets at 36.19 – is decent, the veteran India fast bowler is now in the twilight of his limited-overs career. His performances over the last half-decade have been underwhelming, with double-figure wickets in just one season since 2014. He played just one game for the Delhi Capitals in the 2020 edition and returned figures of 0-26.

The 32-year-old was ruled out of India’s tour of Australia this year due to a hamstring injury. Delhi might have kept him on for his experience and ability to provide guidance to a young squad, but it is unlikely that Ishant will play many games for them this season.

Saurabh Tiwary

Saurabh Tiwary has been retained by the Mumbai Indians for IPL 2021, despite disappointing performances in the tournament last year. The experienced left-hander played seven games in IPL 2020, scoring just 103 runs at an average of 20. He did not record a single half-century in the season.

In fact, Tiwary’s last half-century in the IPL came in his only game of the 2017 edition. His next appearance came in the 2020 season, having not gotten a game in 2018 and going unsold in 2019. Tiwary’s overall numbers in IPL are also underwhelming. He has 1379 runs in the tournament from 88 matches, with just seven half-centuries and an average of 27.58. Tiwary is unlikely to get many games in 2021, given Mumbai’s star-studded batting lineup.

Sarfaraz Khan

Touted to be a future star after his 2015 IPL campaign, Kings XI Punjab batsman Sarfaraz Khan has fallen off the radar in recent times. The 23-year-old had a disappointing season last year, scoring just 33 runs in five innings, with a highest score of 14*. The right-hander, who made his name scoring runs at a quick pace, struck at a meagre 113.79 last season.

Khan has averaged over 40 in just one season so far, and he hasn’t played more than 10 games in any season since his first. The 2021 edition of the IPL might be his last chance to repay the faith that Kings XI Punjab have shown in him.

Kuldeep Yadav

Once a guaranteed starter in India’s white-ball line-ups, Kuldeep Yadav has seen a serious decline in his form over the last couple of years. His returns in the IPL have also been slim: the spin-bowler has picked up 40 wickets from 45 games in the tournament, at an economy of 8.27.

The last two seasons have been particularly worrying for the Kolkata Knight Riders player, as he has picked up just five wickets in 14 games. His averages in the 2019 and 2020 editions were 71.50 and 92 respectively. While Kolkata Knight Riders have retained Kuldeep for the 2021 season, the spinner will need to show serious improvement to get his numbers to a respectable state again.

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