The IPL 2021 will begin in a few months, as the franchises must have kicked off their planning process already. The previous edition of the tournament was held in the United Arab Emirates, where the Mumbai Indians retained their championship.
The Mumbai Indians had an almost perfect IPL 2020-21 campaign. However, the same cannot be said about the other teams.
The Chennai Super Kings crashed out during the league stage for the first time in their IPL history. Meanwhile, the Rajasthan Royals, the Kolkata Knight Riders, and the Kings XI Punjab also failed to qualify for the playoffs despite having big names in their squad.
The IPL Governing Council has informed the franchises about publicizing their player retention list by January 21. Since a mini-auction will precede IPL 2021, the fans may not get a 'wholesale' of changes in any squad.
However, these five expensive players could return to the auction pool before the 14th season.
5. Steve Smith
The Rajasthan Royals finished last in the IPL 2020. Before 2020, the Royals had never taken the wooden spoon home. Due to the team's disastrous performance, the team management just might release its captain Steve Smith. As per ESPNCricinfo, the Jaipur-based franchise might hand over the reins to Sanju Samson.
Smith did not have a great IPL 2020 season as a batsman or captain. The Aussie took several questionable decisions, like promoting Ben Stokes and himself to the opening position, and benching rising stars Yashasvi Jaiswal and Manan Vohra. Even Robin Uthappa, who has been more successful as an opener, batted in the middle-order.
Despite batting higher up the order, Steve Smith aggregated 311 runs in 14 innings at an average of 25.92. The chances that Smith, who has a ₹12.5 Crores contract, dons the Rajasthan Royals jersey in IPL 2021, are slim.
4. Pat Cummins
Pat Cummins became the most expensive overseas signing in IPL history last year. The Kolkata Knight Riders broke the bank and splurged ₹15.5 Crores to sign the Australian all-rounder.
Unfortunately, Cummins could not live up to his price tag. The Knight Riders included him in their playing XI for all matches. He scalped 12 wickets and scored 146 runs for the franchise.
When one considers Pat Cummins took seven of his 12 wickets in two matches, they can understand how ineffective Cummins was in the other games. Even if KKR want his services in IPL 2021, they might plan to release him and buy him for a lesser price in the auction.
3. Nathan Coulter-Nile
The Mumbai Indians raised many eyebrows when they signed Australian pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile for ₹8 Crores in the IPL 2020. Coulter-Nile had been away from the league since 2017. Still, the defending champions fought an intense bidding war to gain his services.
Coulter-Nile had an average IPL 2020 season, picking up five wickets in seven matches. The Mumbai Indians might release him before IPL 2020 because of his hefty price tag. The Mumbai-based franchise already have Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Mitchell McClenaghan, and James Pattinson in their pace-bowling department.
If Lasith Malinga joins the Mumbai Indians squad for IPL 2021, the team management will have to select either Pattinson or Coulter-Nile. In that case, Coulter-Nile could return to the IPL 2021 auction pool.
2. Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell returned to the Kings XI Punjab after the Mohali-based franchise signed him for a whopping ₹10.75 Crores. Maxwell had played a match-winning role for the Kings XI in IPL 2014, the only season when KXIP reached the final.
Unfortunately, the Australian all-rounder could not get going in IPL 2020. He received an opportunity to prove himself in 13 matches. However, Maxwell ended the season with only 108 runs. This aggregate was his lowest in an IPL season since 2013.
As a bowler, Maxwell could scalp only three wickets with his right-arm off-spin. Glenn's price could decline significantly in the IPL 2021 auction because of his recent failures in the league.
1. Kedar Jadhav
Kedar Jadhav received another opportunity despite a below-par IPL 2019 season. Unfortunately, the Indian all-rounder could not capitalize as he finished IPL 2020 with only 62 runs.
Jadhav, who played a match-winning role for CSK in his first game for the team in 2018, has struggled in the previous two seasons. His strike rate remained below 100 in both tournaments. Thus, CSK might not be keen to retain Kedar for IPL 2021.
The Chennai-based franchise had bought him for ₹7.8 Crores in the IPL 2018 Auction. It will be interesting to see if they offer Kedar Jadhav another contract before IPL 2021.