Punjab Kings co-owner Ness Wadia has confirmed that KL Rahul didn’t wish to stay with the franchise for three more seasons. The decision left Punjab Kings heartbroken since the former captain had been getting “all the freedom” over the past two seasons.
Rahul has already been linked to the new Lucknow franchise and Wadia said it would be unethical if he has already been approached.
Rahul had replaced Ravichandran Ashwin as captain ahead of the 2020 season and though he did excel with the bat, he failed to take the team to the play-offs.
“We wanted to retain Rahul but he wanted to go back into the auction. If he has been approached by another franchise before that, it would be unethical,” Wadia said. “…that is against the guidelines set by the BCCI.”
In 2010, Ravindra Jadeja had copped a one-year suspension for trying to negotiate a deal with other teams even before he had been released by Rajasthan Royals.
The Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises have time till December 25 to pick three available players who were released on Tuesday. Rahul was among the big names to be released.
Punjab are keen to bring back Ashwin at the mega-auction next month. Punjab go into the auction having retained only Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh and with the highest purse available at Rs 72 crore.
“We are really happy about retaining Mayank and Arshdeep. Mayank has been a phenomenal player for us, really loyal to the franchise. Arshdeep also has been with us for a while and I can only see him improving. I see him playing for India in the near future,” said Wadia.
Mohammed Shami and uncapped Ravi Bishnoi have also been released. “He is a great player. We negotiated with him and at least there was engagement from him. We would look to buy him back,” Wadia said of Shami.
“At Punjab Kings, I don’t think we have done as well as we should have and could have. We could have definitely done better. The most important thing is we strive to ensure the players and staff get the freedom they deserve and there is unity among them. One has to now look at continuing that spirit. Hopefully we will get the right combination at the auction.”
Head coach Anil Kumble also clarified that it was Rahul’s decision to go into the auction and the franchise respected that.
“We had chosen Rahul as the captain of the team so that he can become the fulcrum of the team but he decided to go into the auction. We respect that. It’s a player’s prerogative,” Kumble said during the IPL retention on Tuesday.
Rahul, for his part, posted a photo on his Twitter account on Wednesday, saying: “It was a good ride, thank you for the love see you on the other side.”