Rajasthan Royals, who finished as wooden-spooners in IPL 2020, came up with the most sensational announcement when they named Sanju Samson as their captain for the 14th edition of IPL this year. In what was the penultimate day of all eight franchises finalising their list of retention and release of players, Royals dropped Steve Smith – their last year’s captain – who had a poor season with the bat.
In other key decisions, five-time champions Mumbai Indians have retained the core group of their squad though they have released Lasith Malinga, the trusted match-winner who looks past his prime now. The likes of captain Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah and the Pandya Brothers will again be donning the blue jersey. Thursday is the deadline for announcing the final retention list of the players as the Mini Auction will take place in February.
Delhi Capitals, runners-up in the UAE edition, also opted for continuity as they retained 19 players, which includes six overseas players. Indian internationals Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Ravichandran Ashwin have been retained along with Harshal Patel, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey and Avesh Khan. Capitals have also retained six overseas players which include last season’s Purple Cap winner Kagiso Rabada, his South African pace partner Anrich Nortje, Australian all-rounders Marcus Stoinis and Daniel Sams, West Indian batsman Shimron Hetmyer and English bowler Chris Woakes.