The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) may have been one of the most tightly contested editions in history, with all 8 teams managing to win at least 6 games in the group stage.
Although the Mumbai Indians were head and shoulders above the rest of the competition, all the teams were in with a shot of making the playoffs when only a few games of the league phase were left to be played.
Many players made their mark on IPL 2020, and justified the big bucks that were shelled during the auction and the earlier cycle of player retentions. KL Rahul, David Warner and Jasprit Bumrah were among those who backed up their hefty paychecks with consistent performances.
IPL 2020: One expensive player from each team who should be released
However, various other players failed to deliver despite being amongst the highest earners in the competition and might be released ahead of IPL 2021, which is mere months away.
Here is one player from each team who should be released ahead of the next edition of the IPL.
#8 Rajasthan Royals - Steve Smith
Steve Smith is the highest earner in the RR side with a salary of 12.5 crores, but he was far from his best in IPL 2020. The team's skipper started off well - much like the rest of his team - but his form tapered off and he finished with just 311 runs in 14 games at an average of 25.91. Often trying to play ridiculous shots against the opposition's best bowlers, he did his questionable T20 credentials no favours.
Smith's captaincy also came under the scanner, as he made questionable decisions such as giving Jaydev Unadkat the penultimate over against RCB ahead of Jofra Archer. The batting order never quite had a settled look to it, while various Indian pacers were tried without much success.
Smith might still be a part of RR's plans, but they can't afford to retain him on his current contract and will be best served releasing him into the auction pool. Even if they don't buy the former Australian captain back, the likes of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes are more than capable of captaining the side.
#7 Kings XI Punjab - Glenn Maxwell
Signed by KXIP for 10.75 crores in the IPL 2020 auction, Glenn Maxwell was a horrible flop in the tournament. He managed only 108 runs in 13 innings at an average of 15.42 and a strike rate of 101.88, and picked up only 4 wickets with the ball.
Maxwell was a liability in every sense of the word, as he either got stuck at the crease and played too many dot balls or got out early to expose KXIP's feeble lower-middle order. He even had the audacity to openly criticise his batting position, despite looking like a cat on a hot tin roof every time he came to the crease.
Maxwell has scored only two fifties in his last 5 IPL seasons, and only 6 overall in 82 IPL games. The Aussie's reputation took a major hit in IPL 2020, and we may see teams being very reluctant to spend big on him in the future.