Ahead of the mega auction for the Indian Premier League 2022, all eight existing IPL franchises were allowed to retain a maximum of four players. For IPL franchises like Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad, who were anyway looking to overhaul the entire squad for the next season, it was an easy task. But for those who have assembled well-balanced squads after years of labour, the limit on retention posed a baffling problem.

Let’s take a look at five players who have made their former franchise regret their decision of not retaining them:

1. Kuldeep Yadav

Kuldeep Yadav joined Kolkata Knight Riders as an uncapped spinner in 2014. He had to wait for two seasons to make his IPL debut. Only twice during his seven-year stay did Kuldeep feature in more than 10 matches in a season. Last year he was ruled out of the entire season due to a recurrent injury. 

Among spinners, Kolkata retained Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, while Kuldeep was acquired by Delhi Capitals. With 17 wickets in his kitty, Kuldeep is among the leading wicket-takers of IPL 2022. Meanwhile, Chakravarthy has already fallen out of favour. 

2. Yuzvendra Chahal

Yuzvendra Chahal was not retained by Royal challengers Bangalore for IPL 2022. Bangalore, instead, splurged Rs 10 crore on Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga. Chahal is having a spectacular season with Rajasthan Royals, where he also claimed the first hat-trick of his career. He also earned the Purple Cap, having taken 18 wickets in eight T20s.

3. Avesh Khan

While Delhi Capitals’ skipper Rishabh Pant wanted the franchise to buy back Avesh Khan in the mega auction, his price soared and went beyond their budget. In his absence, Delhi’s fast-bowling attack looks a mere shadow of what it used to be the last season. Avesh, meanwhile, is having a great season at Lucknow Super Giants, having claimed 11 wickets in seven matches.

4. Hardik Pandya

Not many would have envisioned Hardik Pandya playing for a different franchise. A powerful hitter able to clock around 140kph, Pandya used to be a vital cog of Mumbai Indian machinery in their heydays. The franchise, however, decided to let go of him. He now leads Gujarat Titans, and has been quite impressive with both the bat and the ball. Mumbai must be regretting their decision to not retain a player whose presence boosted their middle order.

5. Faf du Plessis

The defending champion Chennai Super Kings must be missing Faf du Plessis’ presence at the top order. Du Plessis has had a prolific season as an opener in IPL 2021, and his skillset also brought the best out of Ruturaj Gaikwad. His incredible pace-hitting range shielded Gaikwad’s vulnerability against high pace in the Powerplay, and allowed the latter to attack ruthlessly against spinners. Gaikwad’s own game has suffered in absence of du Plessis.