The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released the final list of 292 players to go under the hammer at the Indian Premier League auction in Chennai on February 18. One key name was missing from the list, raising several eyebrows and created a buzz on the internet.
After completing his eight-year ban, S Sreesanth returned to competitive cricket representing Kerala in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy (SMAT). He managed to pick up a wicket in the very first match. Many fans were thrilled seeing his performance and commitment to make a comeback this late in his career. However, the news of him not making the final auction list has disappointed many.
Sreesanth has put in a lot of hard work and motivation to make a comeback and on February 6, he turned 38. In a recent interview with Dubai-based news outlet, Sreesanth said that he aims to help Kerala win the Ranji Trophy win and take 13 Test wickets to reach 100 wickets milestone even if no team purchases him at the auction.
Though Sreesanth has played only a few games after his eight-year ban, he was not named in the final auction list. However, Harbhajan Singh (40), who was Sreesanth’s teammate from the 2007 World T20 winning squad and 2011 World Cup-winning squad, managed to make the list despite missing the IPL last year due to the pandemic. Harbhajan isn’t the oldest player to feature in the upcoming auction since 42-year-old Nayan Doshi made the final cut in the auction and has an excellent record in domestic cricket.
Despite all of this, many fans are unhappy that Sreesanth’s name was missing from the final list. Even if Sreesanth did make it, there would be doubts over his fitness and his history with the league. These days, franchise owners are quite careful when purchasing a player at the auction. There were seasons when a player like South African legend Dale Steyn was not picked at the auction. Though Steyn made a comeback in 2019 after Royal Challengers Bangalore picked him as a replacement mid-tournament, he had a disappointing season in 2020 and this year, he decided not to take part in the tournament.
With plenty of youngsters coming up in the ranks, franchises will favour them instead of senior veterans. Besides, it is not a full-fledged auction and a few teams have already covered all bases. It is quite difficult for veteran players to be picked as they compete with young legs. Considering how gruelling the tournament is, fitness and constituency are high priorities for all IPL teams.
However, when it comes to Sreesanth, we will continue to see him perform and play for Kerala and let’s hope he can achieve his goals before riding off into the sunset.