Pune release Clarke, Smith; MI retain maximum players

Mumbai: Australian captain Michael Clarke and South Africa’s Test captain Graeme Smith and hard-hitting New Zealander Jesse Ryder have returned to the auction pool as Pune Warriors decided to retain six foreign players who were there with the franchise during the last IPL edition.

While Clarke had a one-year contract and had to return to the auction pool, Smith who doesn’t play international T20 anymore wasn’t a very viable option for the Warriors. Ryder, who hasn’t played any competitive cricket since IPL5 was also left out.

The media release sent by the IPL committee also proved that speculations in some quarters regarding Mumbai Indians’ decision to release Harbhajan Singh and Chennai Super Kings getting rid of their ‘Million Dollar Baby’ Ravindra Jadeja were baseless. Both are very much part of their respective franchises.

New owners of Hyderabad franchise Sun TV have decided to release Australian all-rounder Dan Christian who fetched a whopping $900,000 during the January 2011 auctions.

According to the initial squads confirmed by the IPL teams for next year, Rajasthan Royals have retained the least number of players (14) and ended up with a salary cap balance of Rs 8,423,261 – the highest among the nine IPL franchises.

Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have retained the maximum number of players (27) and has the least available salary cap balance. Contrary to speculations that out-of-form Harbhanjan Singh would be dumped by the franchise, the off-spinner prominently feature in Mumbai’s line-up.

Defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, have retained 22 players, while Kings XI Punjab has retained 19 players and has the second highest salary cap balance (Rs 7,219,565).

Delhi Daredevils have retained 18 players, including all its seven foreign recruits, but dumped Rajasthan batsman Robin Bist as he is considered totally unsuitable for the shortest format.

Jadeja too managed to hold on to his place in the Chennai Super Kings set-up as the franchise has retained 15 players, including six foreign players.

According to statement from the BCCI, a total of 179 players have managed to retain their contracts.

The trading window will open on November 19 and the same day onwards, the franchises will be able to sign new uncapped Indian players, including the 52 players whose contracts were not extended, the release added.

The franchises also have the option of re-signing the players who they took as temporary replacements in IPL 2012. (PTI)

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