I Would Also Have Dropped Gambhir & Yuvraj: Sandeep Patil
Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir were both released by their IPL teams ahead of next month’s auction.
Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir were both released by their IPL teams ahead of next month’s auction.(Photo: IANS/The Quint)

I Would Also Have Dropped Gambhir & Yuvraj: Sandeep Patil

It was sad to read about Indian stars being left out by their respective IPL franchises, but to be honest, I am not at all surprised.

Hiring and firing is part of the game and it does not happen only to cricketers, but also to BCCI and other members of the Indian cricket fraternity. BCCI members get elected but failing in their duties, they also get sacked. Similarly, players get selected according to their ability, but when they fail to perform, they get dropped.

I myself have experienced the same - as a cricketer, as an administrator and also as the chief selector.

One good thing, though, is that when franchises hires players – paying them crores of rupees– they expect the players to win matches for them. They make them accountable and that is the right way.

But what goes up has to come down. Apart from Mohammad Shami and Mitchell Starc, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir are now past their prime. Their performances have been outstanding for a decade or more, bringing laurels and victories for the Indian team, but the runs and wickets were going to dry up some day.

Gambhir led KKR respectfully and won two IPL titles for them. But age is something which not only catches up with players, but also slows down the player, affecting their performance. I don’t have to name the players, but it has happened to cricketers in the past and will continue to happen in the future as well.

When IPL was introduced a decade back, everybody was excited and everybody got benefited too. IPL survived not only because of its super marketing policies, but also because of the super performances from the players.

Three years back, Yuvraj Singh was the highest paid IPL cricketer and everybody was only too happy to have him in their team. I also remember when Irfan Pathan got a big payday. Not just these players, there have been countless others. In fact, it used to be the talk of the town - whether these players really deserve these kind of hefty fees or not.

Last year, Jaydev Unadkat made headlines after becoming the highest paid player, but today, he does not find a place even with the franchise that released him. It is not like selectors or franchises feel happy when they drop a player, but it has been a practice since the inception of cricket - getting selected and dropped. In a way, this is a wake-up call to each and every player, be it the superstars of World Cricket or the youngsters who are getting selected to play in the IPL.

Accountability will only come when such decisions are taken. It happens in every walk of life - be it in the business world or in politics. Wherever your expertise and services are hired, your organisers and bosses expect you to deliver the results and cricket is no different.

Yuvraj and Gautam have been my favorite players and remain my favourite, but as a franchise owner, if I have to take a call on them being part of my team, I would also have dropped them.

It is not a happy moment or a good feeling when you drop a player. Nobody in life wants to lose; no board, franchisee, player, captain wants to fail. Players get picked for a particular slot and a lot of thought goes behind picking him.

The sun is now about to set on these two greats, not only of the Indian cricket, but also World cricket. Yuvraj and Gambhir have to, however, take a call regarding their future. Both of them have given immense pleasure to the country by performing at the highest level, but it is a survival of the fittest

Yuvraj himself has famously said, “Jab tak balla chalega tab tak thaat chalega”.

I wish both of them good luck.

There was a time in Indian cricket in the 90s and the 2000 era when Indian cricket was full of super heroes like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, but now only Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma can claim such a fame.

Though Dhoni is also in the twilight of his career and even with his great fitness levels, I see him playing a maximum of two more IPL seasons. The era of Indian marquee players in IPL is almost over now. The franchises now have to look at foreign shores for reliability and also big-ticket names.

Though I still believe players like Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant can end up becoming marquee players, which the Indian cricket or IPL franchises are searching for, but these young players have to perform regularly to achieve the status of the icons in the near future.

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