8 Big Players Who Could Be Released Ahead of IPL 2021 Mini-Auction

The mini-auction is likely to be held on February 16.

5 min read
Glenn Maxwell had a torrid season in 2020 IPL with KXIP

While India celebrates a remarkable Test series win against Australia in their own backyard, IPL franchises are busy preparing for the upcoming season, which the BCCI hopes to host in India after the England tour finishes.

For the franchises, one of the first bits of activity will be related to releasing and retaining players for IPL 2021, with 20 January as the last day to finalise on their decisions whereas the deadline for players without contracts to make online submission for IPL 2021 player auction agreements is February 4. The final deadline for the originals sent by post will be accepted until February 12. The mini-auction is likely to be held on February 16.

Here’s a look at 8 of the big names that the franchises are likely to release from their squads.

Lasith Malinga

Lasith Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in the IPL. 
Lasith Malinga is the highest wicket-taker in the IPL. 
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

Sri Lankan pace ace Lasith Malinga could be released by the defending champions if the management decides to retain the present set of pacers. A team can only have 8 foreign players, which could see MI making the tough call of releasing their senior pacer.

What also does not tip the scales in the Sri Lankan’s favour is how well the duo of Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah. Not just that, it is likely that Hardik Pandya could be back to bowling again, which further strengthens the MI XI.

Malinga, one of the few to have played for one franchise only, was instrumental in their title charge in 2019 against the Chennai Super Kings. Malinga has been an integral part of MI for a decade and even when he didn't play for them - in 2018 - he joined MI as their bowling mentor. Malinga, remember did not take part in IPL 2020 so as to stay with his family during the pandemic.


Steve Smith

The Australian has not had the best few season in white-ball cricket or red-ball cricket and the IPL 2020 was probably the lowest point for someone who sets such high standards for himself. He finished with 311 runs from 14 games and could not inspire the Royals as captain either.

Reports in recent weeks have suggested that the Royals hold overseas players like Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes have more significance in their plans. The champions of season 1 managed six wins and finished at the bottom of the table.

Considering the poor run of form and his fee of Rs 12 crore, Smith could be shockingly back in the auction after a long time.

 Suresh Raina during a training session with Chennai Super Kings.
Suresh Raina during a training session with Chennai Super Kings.
Image: IPL

Suresh Raina

One of the most surprising stories from IPL 2020 was the sudden return to India off Suresh Raini from the UAE before the start of the tournament. One of the most important cogs in the CSK set-up, his absence was felt and the reactions to his exit were stinging too from the team’s ownership.

That Raina was an important part of the team’s set up is no secret and his presence does add solidity to the batting. However, his recent form in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy has been poor. He’s scored 102 runs in 5 games for Uttar Pradesh which will be a source of concern.

With 5369 runs to his name, Raina is CSK's highest run-scorer and if released, it would be the most shocking release. Raina has been in IPL auction only once - in 2008. He is also the second highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament behind Virat Kohli.


Mitchell Marsh

Mitchell Marsh’s all-round abilities are well documented and his performances in the BBL tell you he is a solid candidate in T20 cricket. However, for Mitchell Marsh, fitness has been a source of major concern for Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have failed to get the best out of him over quite a few seasons.

In 2020, when Mitchell Marsh picked up an injury in the first game, SRH brought in Jason Holder as a replacement. The West Indies captain did well for SRH, further making it tougher for Mitchell Marsh to hold on to his spot in the squad for IPL 2021.

Kolkata Knight Riders Dinesh Karthik batting during IPL 2020. 
Kolkata Knight Riders Dinesh Karthik batting during IPL 2020. 
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

Dinesh Karthik

Picked to lead the side, Dinesh Karthik’s three years weren’t the best for the Kolkata Knight Riders and he stepped down from captaincy mid-season in IPL 2020 and handed it over to England’s Eoin Morgan.

While he did well in 2018, his performance since have not been the best. In 2020, he scored 169 runs from 14 games.

Considering Karthik's below-par performance and his price tag, the management might release him into the mini-auction that’s scheduled for next month, not a very common happenstance in the IPL so far.

His problems with Andre Russell in the season before too raised a few eyebrows about his leadership qualities.


Glenn Maxwell

The Australian had what was among his worst seasons in the IPL and despite his talents could be released by the KXIP franchise.

Maxwell, who has made it clear that his ever changing role in the IPL does not help him perform, failed to hit even a single maximum in the 2020 edition in UAE.

For a player of his repute, and the price tag, a return of 108 runs from 13 games is quite poor. Even though his International and BBL heroics are there for everyone to see but it is looking difficult for KXIP put all their trust on him again.

Aaron Finch

Aaron Finch  bowled by Prasidh Krishna of Kolkata Knight Riders during match 28 of season 13 of the Dream 11 Indian Premier League (IPL).
Aaron Finch bowled by Prasidh Krishna of Kolkata Knight Riders during match 28 of season 13 of the Dream 11 Indian Premier League (IPL).
(Photo: BCCI/IPL)

The Australian limited overs captain is one of those players who’s played for amore than few franchises in the IPL and is likely to be on the move this time as well. The Royal Challengers Bangalore opener did not have the best time in IPL 2020 and was benched in the final few games too.

With Kohli giving opening the batting for RCB a thought, Finch’s place next to Devdutt Padikkal appears to be in danger.

Finch played 12 games and scored 268 runs in IPL 2020, well off the mark from the top 3 of Kohli, AB de Villiers and Padikkal. However, the talented right-hander will be hoping for better luck in terms of form in 2021.


Amit Mishra

One of IPL’s most successful bowlers, Amit Mishra found it quite difficult to break into the playing XI under Ricky Ponting at the Delhi Capitals in 2020. He played 3 games only as the likes of R Ashwin and Axar Patel took charge for the Capitals.

Mishra is the second most successful bowler in the history of the IPL behind Lasith Malinga with 160 wickets to his name, but is very likely to be on his way out from what is quite a strong Delhi bowling unit.

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