Yuvi, Gambhir and other poor IPL farewells

Last Updated: Mon, Jun 04, 2018 14:02 hrs
Yuvi, Gambhir and other poor IPL farewells

​​​For the first four years of IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders failed to reach even the finals of the premier tournament even as co-owner Shah Rukh Khan was always in the news for all the wrong reasons. Then Gautam Gambhir captained KKR to two title victories in 2012 and 2014.​

It didn’t make any difference, when the time came, Gambhir was simply let go without much fanfare.

He somehow made it to Delhi Daredevils but here too he quit captaincy midway and didn’t play in the season after that.


Then take the case of Yuvraj Singh. He was also in and out of this season (after being in and out of IPL teams in previous seasons) and didn’t play nearly half the matches for Kings XI Punjab.

​There is a chance that both Gambhir and Yuvi may not be picked up for the 2019 season and if that happens then nobody noticed when they played their last matches and their unnoticed unofficial farewells have already taken place.

Gambhir was our top scorer in the finals of both the T20 2007 World Cup and 2011 ODI World Cup. People still remember Yuvi’s six sixes in the 2007 edition and don’t forget that he was man of the series in the 2011 World Cup.

Now the BCCI is notorious for botching up farewells. Players like Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag just faded into the background instead of being called and given a proper farewell series like the great Sachin Tendulkar.

One would have thought the Indian Premier League would be a different ball game altogether. IPL franchisees are not bogged down by regional politics and power games at multiple levels. There is one man in charge and he can take a quick clean call. So what stops them from giving a good farewell to all the players they let go or who retire from their team in the IPL?

The BCCI rarely internally agrees on anything. If they want to retire a player then simply ignore him and pretend that the problem will go away. But the IPL franchisees face no such problem. If you want to let go of a player, you can easily let him go with grace if you really want to.

The BCCI created icons in the 2008 editions and gain with the exception of Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians), the others severed their ties gracelessly. Sourav Ganguly’s tiffs with the KKR management were a regular of headlines and the “Fake IPL Player” controversy also went viral after that.

Sehwag drifted away from Delhi Daredevils and Yuvi from Kings XI Punjab (he was a drifter playing for 4 teams before eventually returning to KXIP). One wonders why the BCCI thought of having icon players in the first place. Maybe they thought that their star power would make IPL popular. Then when the IPL became really popular, the franchisees thought they could dump the icons.

​Nothing symbolizes this more than the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Their first CEO Charu Sharma was sacked midway through the inaugural season and they treated local hero KL Rahul Dravid shabbily. This cavalier approach continued throughout the subsequent seasons.

In fact RCB let go of the troika of Chris Gayle, KL Rahul and Shane Watson after the last season. That was a disaster. Gayle showed that he was still a force to reckon with KXIP this season Rahul belted fifty upon fifty for the same team.

​But the biggest mistake was letting go Shane Watson. Watson was dumped from RCB and in the inaugural match for CSK; he took a fine 2-29.

And then with Rajasthan Royals blasted a brutal 106 off 57 against Rajasthan Royals.

He wasn’t done yet and in the final won CSK their third title with an even more impressive century.

Letting go rudely has nothing to do with current performance either. Tendulkar failed to cross a series average of 50 in his last 7 Test series. He was a disaster as MI captain winning them zero titles. In fact after he stepped down from captaincy, MI won 5 titles: 3 IPLs and 2 in the Champions League T20. It is mind set. Tendulkar was considered too great to upset and hence was given grand farewells.

​​One would have thought the Indian Premier League would be a different ball game altogether. IPL franchisees are not bogged down by regional politics and power games at multiple levels. There is one man in charge and he can take a quick clean call. So what stops them from giving a good farewell to all the players they let go or who retire from their team in the IPL?

​But we’ve had bigger champions than him and most of them have just been dumped from both international cricket and IPL without being given the benefit of a single official farewell match.

Maybe the BCCI will start planning their retirements better. Maybe the IPL will start throwing big money for lavish farewell parties. One can at least hope.

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here



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