Mumbai fast bowler Shardul Thakur, who was one of the players released by Kings XI Punjab midway through IPL 2016, said he was hurt by the "feeling of being left out". Thakur was Mumbai's highest wicket-taker during their Ranji Trophy win in the 2015-16 season but has not played a match for Kings XI in this season.
While he was not upset about missing out on a place in the XI, Thakur felt the franchise should have retained him to allow him to learn from the more experienced players in the squad. Bought by Kings XI in the IPL 2014 auction for INR 20 lakh, Thakur has played only one game for the franchise so far, against Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2015.
"It is obviously disappointing. I was really looking forward to doing well in the IPL," Thakur told Mid-Day. "It is frustrating because if you ask anyone in the squad, I was working as hard as anyone else in the training sessions.
"It could be because of the team combination. But just being there in that group is a great learning experience. It was surely not a waste of time. We have a good coaching staff and great team management as well. It is the feeling of being left out which is hurting me.
"To bowl to different quality batsmen in the nets is, in itself, a tremendous learning experience. You learn a lot about your game. I feel they should have kept me [with the team]."
The practice of releasing players who have been on the bench is a common one among franchises in the IPL. A source from the Kings XI franchise told ESPNcricinfo that this was a way to trim the squad. "[It's] Easier to service smaller squads with quality," the source said. However, a few franchises have chosen to not release players. A spokesperson for Mumbai Indians told ESPNcricinfo that the franchise "believes in grooming the reserve players and Mumbai's reserves have travelled together to Visakhapatnam to have their own practice games to be match-fit in case a player is called up". Kolkata Knight Riders, too, have not released players.
Apart from Thakur, batsman Armaan Jaffer and allrounder Pardeep Sahu have also been released by the franchise. While Thakur and Jaffer did not get a game in the season, Sahu played five matches, taking three wickets with his legspin at an economy rate of 8.34.
According to Mid-Day, Delhi Daredevils, too, released a few players, including Mumbai batsman Akhil Herwadkar, who was the second-highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy 2015-16. Herwadkar, too, did not play a game for Daredevils but stated that the franchise had told the players they would be called back in a few days.
"We were not given a reason, but were told that we will be called back in a few days. I am expecting a call. This is just a few days' break," Herwadkar told Mid-Day.