The mega-auction of IPL 2018 saw many of the players going away from their former teams, for whom they played for last part of their IPL career. Can anyone imagine Mumbai Indians without Harbhajan Singh or Kolkata Knight Riders without Gautam Gambhir? Can Chennai Super Kings pull fans in the stadium without local boy R Ashwin in the ranks?
Today, we have a look at the five players who would be missed by their former franchises:
Harbhajan Singh – Since the inception of Indian Premier League (IPL), Harbhajan Singh played for just one franchise i.e. Mumbai Indians and to much surprise, they did not bid for him when his name was up for the auction.
That was a big surprise but its now a past event and Bhajji is all set to play new innings with Chennai Super Kings, led by MS Dhoni, under whom Harbhajan lost his place in the Indian cricket team. Though its an event of future whether he would get more games while playing for CSK, the present question is that whether Mumbai Indians would miss Bhajji?
He was not just a player for this team but also a mentor, especially after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. The latter is tough still associated with the team but on-field, Harbhajan was the most experienced player for this side. His experience will now come handy for CSK, who already have many senior players in their ranks.
Chris Gayle – He was on verge of going unsold in the IPL auction but Kings XI Punjab bid for him in the last round, which saved Gayle from going unsold.
The biggest question is why Royal Challengers Bangalore did not bid for him? Performance is surely a reason and his age plus fitness could also be some more reasons for RCB not bidding him.
Surely, RCB will not miss him on the field but off-field, they will miss the star entertainer. Gayle is one of the players who have jolly behaviour and also holds a special fan base.
The presence of a player like Gaye automatically attract the audience to the stadium but RCB were forced to leave him out due to his form, which comes first on the list of priority for any franchise.
R Ashwin – Chennai Super Kings were all set to go for R Ashwin at any price but once his price went beyond Rs 4 Crore, CSK pulled back and Kings XI Punjab snared the player for Rs 7.60 Crore.
Ashwin is a local Chennai boy and every CSK fan expected Ashwin to play in yellow jersey again but that wasn’t the case. CSK got a cheaper option in form of Harbhajan Singh.
Ashwin playing for CSK will also mean that the franchise failed to retain their core group as Ashwin was the lone local player in the core group of CSK.
Though it will be quite entertaining to see Ashwin play for Kings XI Punjab but imagining CSK without Ashwin on their comeback will be a surprise.
Gautam Gambhir – Kolkata Knight Riders wouldn’t have released Gautam Gambhir had the player himself not asked the franchise to do so. He wanted to play for his home team viz Delhi, once again, an event which will be happening as the Delhi based franchise bought Gambhir.
His exit from KKR has though left a big void in the franchise. It was Gambhir who turned the tide for this side after they failed to reach the second stage of the tournament even once in the first three editions.
Gambhir rose the bar of this side and led this team to a title victory twice. Last year too, KKR played the Qualifiers. In short, in no case, KKR would have released Gambhir but they had to do so.
His exit has already left KKR with a decision to appoint a new captain and once the season begins, it will take some time to this side to settle sans Gautam Gambhir.
Nitish Rana – Though he was dropped from the Mumbai Indians for few games last year but a large credit of him becoming such a big player goes to Mumbai Indians only.
They purchased him when Nitish was yet to make his debut in first-class cricket. In the first season, he played four games in which he scored 104 runs. In the next season, he became the talk of the town after scoring 333 runs in 13 games before being dropped for Ambati Rayudu, who is senior to him.
Mumbai Indians management was keen to get his services again and bid for him to an extent, but in the end, it was KKR that won the race and bought him for an amount of Rs 3.40 Crore.
Surely, the team will miss him as they played a pivotal role in making him a player he is today.