In the history of the Indian Premier League (IPL), two teams have made major blunders when it came to releasing players. Over the course of the 16 editions of the IPL, there have been some surprising player releases that have had significant impacts on the franchises involved. Star players were either let go when they were already established or were on the cusp of making their mark. These decisions changed the trajectory of their respective franchises, often hindering their success in the process. The biggest blunders in player releases in the IPL are as follows:
AB de Villiers: Considered one of the best T20 batters of all time, AB was released by Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) before the 2011 season. At that point, the former Proteas captain had not yet proven himself in the IPL. However, his release led to a move to RCB, where he finished his IPL career with 4522 runs at a strike rate of 158.33.
Chris Gayle: Despite his impressive record (average of 30 and a strike rate of over 140), the Universal Boss was released by KKR before the 2011 season. Like AB, Gayle also found success with RCB, where he dominated for the next 7 seasons, ending his IPL career with nearly 5000 runs at a strike rate of just under 150.
Andre Russell: Known for his destructive batting, the Windies all-rounder was released by Delhi ahead of the 2014 season and has since been with KKR. Despite poor numbers at the time of his release, Russell has become the second-highest wicket-taker for KKR and the third-highest run scorer for them. He should have been retained by the franchise.
Suryakumar Yadav: Let go by KKR when he was valued at just INR 70 lakh, Suryakumar moved to the Mumbai Indians ahead of the 2018 season and has since scored over 2500 runs at a strike rate of over 145 in five seasons. He has also been part of two title wins since his release in 2017.
David Warner: The third-highest run scorer in IPL history, Warner was released by Delhi Daredevils before the 2014 season. Warner went on to join SRH, where he remained for 8 seasons, scoring 4014 runs and leading them to their only title win in 2016.
The releases of these star players have had a lasting impact on the franchises involved, often resulting in missed opportunities for success.