IPL 2015 December 15, 2014

Big names out in Daredevils revamp

Dropped: Kevin Pietersen's Delhi Daredevils finished at the bottom of the IPL 2014 table © AFP

After a disastrous 2014, Delhi Daredevils have opted to overhaul their squad by releasing a total of 13 players including their captain Kevin Pietersen and senior Indian pair of Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay. Ross Taylor is the other prominent name who Daredevils decided not to retain on what turned out to be a busy Monday for franchises who had to submit a final list of players by 5 pm IST.

According to Hemant Dua, the Daredevils chief executive, the move was part of the "re-building" phase after they finished as the bottom-ranked team last IPL. "We are looking at rebuilding our squad. We have got a squad (after the cuts) that we believe forms the core," Dua said. "The franchise has decided to release certain players because we believe that the money will give us a significant purse that will help us buy new players to strengthen the squad for the upcoming season."

Asked why exactly was Pietersen dropped, Dua said since the franchise was rebuilding the squad, the release of former England batsman would help the franchise get extra money for their auction purse. But Dua said the franchise, "may look at buying him back."

Although he continues to live in hope that he would play again for England, Pietersen, who retired last year, had no notable performance in IPL 2014. He made 294 runs in 11 matches with just one half century at an average of 29.40.

Although Dua declined to comment, it is understood that the drop in performance was a big factor that forced the franchise to drop Pietersen. "He has not played any cricket really this year. He was bought for Rs 9 crore. That frees up a lot of money," another Daredevils official said.

Daredevils had gone with a clean slate in the last auction and under the new set-up led by coach Gary Kirsten, they had spent a huge sum acquiring Karthik (Rs 12.5 crore) and M Vijay (Rs 5 crore). While Vijay had meagre returns of 207 runs from 11 matches, Karthik fared a touch better with 325 runs from 14 games.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo