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HomesportscricketIPL player release: Story of whims and minimal communication

IPL player release: Story of whims and minimal communication

Bengaluru: Siddarth Kaul has been a consistent performer in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament over the years, but the pacer has played just one Indian Premier League (IPL) match across the 2022 and 2023 seasons for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

Take a look at these stats to get a deeper understanding of that anomaly.

In the 2021 SMAT, Kaul took 10 wickets from five matches, 19 from 10 games in 2022 to be the highest wicket-taker that season, and 16 from 10 fixtures in the 2023-24 season when Punjab lifted their maiden trophy in the tournament.

So, Kaul playing just one IPL match despite those impressive numbers on often unresponsive Indian pitches getting released ahead of this year’s auction defies logic.

Welcome then to the quixotic world of player retention and release in the IPL, often marked by whims and minimal communication between a player and franchise.

But these little quirks can leave a player wondering what has he done wrong not to merit a better run in the cash-rich league.

Here Kaul, who has appeared in three ODIs and as many T20Is for India, has been robbed of a chance to display his skills in front of a larger audience for two seasons.

“I wouldn’t say I am not hurt. I am also a human being. But then you cannot do much about it either, can you?” Kaul tells PTI.

“But I cannot stand at that point and I cannot think of leaving the game. I played for India after 11 years of making my First-Class debut. I had that belief and I still have. I will keep banging on the doors.”

Perhaps, a longer rope in the IPL during the last two seasons could have helped the 33-year-old rekindle his India ambitions, so to say.

But Kaul has taken it up on the chin and hopes that he will get a contract in the auction on Tuesday.

“I believe in karma. My job is to perform and my numbers in the domestic matches are there for everyone to see.”

“I won’t blame anyone (for not getting retained) because the team (RCB) has a new coaching set up this year and their thinking might have been different in terms of the combination they want for this IPL.”

“I need to give my 200 per cent every time I enter the field and keep improving my skills and that’s my mission,” he says.

That brings the question of the manner in which the team management conveys the decision of not retaining a player ahead of the auction, and it is a delicate matter as it often involves a lot of disappointment.

India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal had elaborated how RCB management released him without a proper conversation.

“What I felt really bad about (him getting released) was there was no phone call or communication. At least have a talk,” Chahal had said on YouTuber Ranveer Allahbadiya’s podcast.

A former India teammate of Chahal concurred.

“I just received a 10-second call. You will not be retained. That was all. There was no talk, no explanation as to why they released (me) after a few seasons.”

“After all I have played a few seasons for them, so let’s part, say, on good terms. It is a bit tough because suddenly you are out there alone, hoping that a contract is on the way for auction,” he says.

But an official who has been associated with multiple IPL franchises in the past saw another side of it.

“It is quite natural for a player to feel disappointed after not getting retained. Sometimes, a player might be competing for a slot in the team with two other players. If they do well, then the third player in all likelihood will get only minimum chances.”

“Then the teams generally release him to explore his chances elsewhere. But generally, the team explains to a player well in advance about their decision – retention of release,” he elaborates.

“Some of those big players might be part of such detailed discussions, but the second or third rung players often do not get the luxury of that. It is fortunate that I at least got a phone call,” the player tells.

(Published 18 December 2023, 09:57 IST)

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