"We have the right to retain Andre Russell if we want," reveals KKR official
Last night, the IPL Governing Council announced the retention policies ahead of the 2018 auction according to which a franchisee can retain a maximum of five players using one of the two combinations - three pre-auction retentions and two RTMs or two pre-auction retentions and three RTMs.
There were reports on what the teams wanted in the previous IPL GC meeting. But, once the policy was released, the franchisees have expressed happiness about the GC's decision as it offers equal opportunities to all the eight teams in the fray.
It was reported that two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders wanted to have zero retentions and five RTMs in the previous meeting. When contacted their video analyst AR Shrikanth to get his opinion on the policy, he conceded that it is a fair decision and will make the auction more interesting.
"I think it is a fair decision. I don't think we should read much into it. It will make the auction more interesting," said Shrikanth in an exclusive chat with Sportskeeda.
Last season, the Gautam Gambhir-led side missed the services of Andre Russell as the West Indian all-rounder was banned for one year for violating ICC doping code. In his place, the franchise roped in New Zealand all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme and the Kiwi played few matches for the Knight Riders as well.
Therefore, there were a lot of uncertainties over the future of the Jamaican ahead of the upcoming IPL auction as it was unclear whether the franchisee has the luxury to have an option of retaining him. Shrikanth cleared the air by confirming that KKR have the right to retain the 29-year-old as they did not terminate his contract but called for a replacement only.
"We did not terminate Russell's contract. He is still our player. We have the right to retain him if we want," he added.
Without a doubt, Russell was one of the best all-rounders in the format before he was banned by the ICC. But, the two-time World T20 champion hasn't played any competitive cricket over the last twelve months and it is up to the KKR management to decide whether they want to take a gamble, a worthy one, by retaining him or not. His ban ends on 31st January 2018 and he is likely to be back f the T20 extravaganza.
They already have the likes of skipper Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Chris Lynn, Nathan Coulter-Nile etc., a formidable pool of talents from which they can pick their five best players going into the next season.