The approach taken by Rahul, Rashid and Chahal was in stark contrast to that adopted by former RCB skipper Virat Kohli and CSK captain MS Dhoni.

A few days back, the eight existing Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises announced the names of players they decided to retain ahead of the IPL 2022 mega auction. The eight franchises retained a total of 27 players. Most of the players retained were on expected lines. Mumbai Indians (MI) retained Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) kept MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja, while Delhi Capitals (DC) retained Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw. At the same time, there were a few surprises as well. KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer wished not to be retained by their respective franchises, while Rashid Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal could not work out a financial deal with their teams.

One can understand Iyer’s decision to move on from DC. He was their captain in recent seasons and made a massive impact, leading the franchise to its first playoffs in seven years in 2019. In 2020, he captained DC to their first-ever IPL final. However, after an injury forced Iyer to miss half of IPL 2021, DC elevated Rishabh Pant to the leadership. He impressed, but the fact was that he was filling in for Iyer. Hence, it was a surprise when DC continued to lead with Pant even though Iyer was fit and available for the second half of IPL 2021. Iyer had every reason to feel aggrieved, and his decision to look for other avenues wasn’t surprising.

Why PBKS, SRH and RCB would be disappointed 

However, Iyer’s case is different from that of Rahul, Rashid, and Chahal. It must be said that the three respective franchises – Punjab Kings (PBKS), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) – would be hugely disappointed with the three players. They had invested a lot in the star cricketers and would have expected some loyalty in return. 

In the case of Rahul, PBKS have made it clear that they wanted to retain their captain, but the batter wasn’t willing to do so. Although Punjab have not done well under Rahul, as a batter, he was their star performer over the last two seasons. However, he has now left, reportedly looking for a captaincy role with Lucknow. As per some media reports, he is being offered a record sum of INR 20 crore to lead the new franchise, although there have been no confirmed reports. Similarly, Rashid couldn’t be retained because he allegedly wanted the Player 1 spot in SRH’s retention list. And Chahal also did not agree on a sum offered by RCB.

Dhoni, Kohli set the benchmark

The approach taken by Rahul, Rashid and Chahal was in stark contrast to that adopted by former RCB skipper Virat Kohli and CSK captain MS Dhoni. Both Kohli and Dhoni had no qualms in taking a pay cut despite being bigger names than the trio mentioned above. Dhoni, according to reports, himself asked the owners not to retain him and go for other players keeping the future of the franchise in mind. Both Kohli and Dhoni proved their loyalty towards their IPL franchise with their gesture.

Dhoni willingly opted for a 20 percent pay cut and was retained for a salary of INR 12 crore. His earlier salary was a whopping INR 15 crore. Despite being the superstar performer in the RCB franchise, Kohli had no hesitation in taking a 12 percent pay cut. He came down from INR 17 crore to INR 15 crore to continue playing with his franchise. Even Glenn Maxwell agreed to a 23 percent pay cut and stayed with RCB, who gave his IPL career a new lease of life. Rahul, Rashid and Chahal could have taken a leaf out of Dhoni and Kohli and could have worked out a deal to stay with teams that constantly backed them. The franchises would be ruing the fact that they didn’t.

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