Indian T20 League 2021: Mumbai release Malinga, Steve Smith not retained
Defending Indian T20 League champions, Mumbai have decided not to retain their star pacer Lasith Malinga for the upcoming edition of the tournament. Rajasthan, on the other hand, have let go of an underperforming Steve Smith after they finished eighth last season.
Malinga had ruled himself out of the 2020 edition of the Indian T20 League due to 'personal reasons' and Australia's James Pattinson was roped in as a replacement. Apart from Malinga, Mumbai have also decided to part ways with West Indies' batting all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digvijay Deshmukh, Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Rutherford joined Mumbai in a trade from Delhi in exchange of legspinner Mayank Markande after the 2019 edition of the Indian T20 League. Rutherford didn't feature for Mumbai in the 2020 season and also struggled during the Caribbean Premier League 2020 season.
Released: Lasith Malinga, Sherfane Rutherford, Nathan Coulter Nile, James Pattinson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Prince Balwant Rai, Digvijay Deshmukh
Retained: Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Quinton de Kock, Anmolpreet Singh, Aditya Tare, Chris Lyn, Saurabh Tiwary, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Jayant Yadav, Trent Boult, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohsin Khan, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy
As far as Smith is concerned, it is said that Rajasthan were unhappy with the substandard returns of the Aussie on the leadership front. With the bat, he featured in all of team's 14 games last season accumulating 311 runs at a strike rate of 131, including three half-centuries.
"Yes, Smith has been released. It went down to the wire, to be honest. We had discussions on the matter and the call was taken today itself," a source was quoted by Free Press. As far as retention is concerned, the team has decided to keep the likes of Jofra Archer, Sanju Samson and Yashasvi Jaiswal.
Manoj Badale, Rajasthan's co-owner, recently confirmed that Sanju Samson will be named as the team's new captain. He also says that they've appointed Kumar Sangakkara as their team director.
"Sanju is at the start of his journey as a leader - and Kumar Sangakkara is joining as a director of cricket. He's understated and is a very, very strong individual. [Being a] Wicketkeeper is a great position to captain the team"
Here's how the Rajasthan hierarchy has worked:
Released: Steve Smith, Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Anirudha Joshi, Shashank Singh
Retained: Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Robin Uthappa
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Punit Paranjpe, Money Sharma