The Indian Premier League is the most competitive T20 league in the world. The quality of cricket is very high and players from all around the world consider it as a great opportunity to express their skills and perform on a big stage.
As a result of this intense demand to play in the IPL, there are always some quality cricketers who miss out. Various parameters are considered while selecting a player and sometimes the selection or rejection of a player cannot be considered a true reflection of their quality.
Now, ahead of the IPL 2023 Auction, all franchises have released the list of their released and retained players. As expected, there are some quality players that are on the released list. So, let us now try to make the best playing XI from the list of released players.
In IPL, there are a maximum of four overseas players allowed in the playing XI and the rest should all be Indians. So, we shall be sticking to the same rule for making our playing XI.
Here is the best playing XI from the list of released players ahead of the IPL 2023 Auction
1. Evin Lewis
The hard-hitting West Indian left-handed batter will slot in as an opener in the side. We have the option of Jason Roy too in this list but Roy has been in poor form lately and even backed out of the IPL last season.
Lewis is a match-winner on his day and also provides a left-handed option which can be crucial strategically. He was in the Lucknow Super Giants squad in the 2022 season but because of the presence of KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock in the Lucknow squad did not get a chance to open. He did play six games and scored one half-century too but was not given a longer run and one settled position in the batting order.
He can be a dangerous player while opening the innings and has two T20I centuries while overall he has scored five centuries in his T20 career so far.
2. Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal is another high-profile player in IPL 2023 Auction who was released ahead of the auction. He can be the best fit as an opening partner to Evin Lewis. Mayank has scored loads of runs as an opener in IPL and was even the captain of Punjab Kings in the 2022 season.
However, he had a poor 2022 season with the bat and was pushed down the order to accommodate Jonny Bairstow at the top of the order. Mayank though is best suited as an opener and has scored over 400 runs in the 2020 and 2021 seasons for Punjab Kings. These two will make a formidable opening pair.
3. Manish Pandey
Manish Pandey has been one of the most consistent performers in the IPL for more than a decade now. He was bought by Lucknow Super Giants for the 2022 season to provide that solidity at number 3. However, Pandey could not deliver for Lucknow. He though remains a player of huge pedigree and would be an ideal fit for the number 3 position.
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Manish Pandey has scored 3648 runs in the IPL in 160 games and was the first Indian player in the history of the IPL to score a century in 2009.
4. Narayan Jagadeesan
Narayan Jagadeesan has been a prolific run-scorer for Tamil Nadu for the last few years. He, however, was released by Chennai Super Kings ahead of the mini-auction for the IPL 2023 Auction. Jagadeesan got only two games last season and in one of them, he played an unbeaten knock of 39.
He has been in stupendous touch in domestic cricket and was the leading run-scorer in the Vijay Hazare trophy 2022 where he scored 830 runs in 8 games. In a game against Arunachal Pradesh, he broke all records to register the highest-ever List A score of 277 off just 141 balls. Though he is naturally an opener, he can be a quality asset at number 4 because of his experience and ability to mould his game according to the game situation.
5. Nicholas Pooran
A wicket-keeper batter with loads of talent. Nicholas Pooran is a genuine match-winner who can clear the fence with ease and can take the game completely away from the opposition when he is in the groove.
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Pooran has not exactly set the IPL on fire so far but had a decent run with Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 2022 season. He scored 306 runs with an average of 38.25 and at a strike rate of 144.34. However, he has been released and he is too good a player to not feature in this list. He will provide the explosiveness that is required in the middle order and can play the role of finisher quite well.
6. Jason Holder
Jason Holder is one of the best all-rounders in the world across the formats. However, Lucknow Super Giants have surprisingly released him ahead of the auction for the 2023 season. He has the ability to change the game both with the bat and ball and provides balance to the side by batting at number 6 and bowling his full quota of four overs more often than not.
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In the past, Holder has been an important member of the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad and also did decently with the ball for Lucknow Super Giants with 14 wickets in 12 matches. He is an asset for any team with his all-round skills and can be the most important player of this XI.
7. Sanjay Yadav
Number 7 is a position where one needs an all-rounder and Sanjay Yadav is a perfect fit for that. Another option that can be considered here is Shreyas Gopal who is also a good leg-spinner and a handy batter. However, we are going with Sanjay Yadav because of the left-arm orthodox spin option he provides and is a quality batter too.
Sanjay Yadav played only one game for Mumbai Indians in the 2022 IPL season but has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket. He has shown his ability to use long handle with the bat and bowl difficult overs in crunch situations. In the Tamil Nadu Premier League 2022, he was brilliant as an all-rounder and was the leading run-scorer of the tournament and also picked 6 important wickets with the ball.
So, he will be a perfect fit for the number 7 position in this side.
8. Jaydev Unadkat
The Saurashtra skipper, Jaydev Unadkat will be one of the seamers in the squad and will bat at the number 8 position. He has been one of the premier bowlers in domestic cricket for a long time now and has also delivered some strong performances in the IPL.
Jaydev Unadkat has also played for India in the past and in the 2022 season, he played 5 games for Mumbai Indians in which he picked up 6 wickets. He has been released from the Mumbai Indians squad now but can be a useful asset in this XI with his experience and skills.
9. Chris Jordan
The English pacer can be the lead pacer of this squad. We also have options like Odean Smith who is a powerful all-rounder and the likes of Dushmantha Chameera, Adam Milne and Andrew Tye. All of these bowlers bring with them great quality but since we have only one overseas spot left in the XI, we can choose only one of them.
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Any one of these bowlers can be selected in place of Jordan. However, Jordan who was released by Chennai Super Kings ahead of the auction is selected for his brilliant death bowling skills as the other two Indian pacers in the squad have shown the tendency of being expensive at the death.
Jordan also has vast international experience and has been one of the key members of England’s T20I squad. Jordan is a handy batter too and so can be an ideal fit in this XI.
10. Mayank Markande
The leg-spinner from Punjab started his IPL journey with a bang for Mumbai Indians in the 2018 season. He picked 15 wickets in his debut season and also went onto make his T20I debut for India in 2019.
However, his stocks have steadily decreased since that debut season in IPL and once again after playing just 2 games in the 2022 season, Mayank has been released by Mumbai Indians. However, he is now an integral part of his state side Punjab in domestic cricket.
The leg-spinner has all the tricks in the trade and if he gets a long run in the IPL, he can surely make an impact. He will be our leg-spinner and the lead spinner of this XI.
11. Shivam Mavi
The right-arm pacer first grabbed eyeballs in the 2018 U-19 World Cup for his raw pace. Along with pace, Mavi has a natural outswinger which makes him a pretty dangerous bowler when he finds his rhythm.
However, the young pacer’s career has been hampered by injuries so far and he has been released now from Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of the mini-auction for the IPL 2023 Auction. He played 6 games in the 2022 season and picked 5 wickets but has been consistently getting wickets for his state Uttar Pradesh in the domestic circuit.
Mavi is surely a talent who can be a big asset in future so he finds a place in our XI as an Indian pacer alongside Jaydev Unadkat.
So, this is the best XI from the players who have been released and is perfectly balanced with six bowling options which include four seamers and two spinners. We also have firepower at the top of the order and in the middle order and also players who can provide consistency and can complement the power-hitters in the squad.