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Sunrisers Hyderabad release Kane Williamson ahead of IPL 2023 auction

He endured a disappointing 2022 season after the franchise spent INR 14 crore to retain him

Nagraj Gollapudi
Kane Williamson endured a poor 2022 season after Sunrisers Hyderabad spent INR 14 crore to retain him  •  BCCI

Kane Williamson endured a poor 2022 season after Sunrisers Hyderabad spent INR 14 crore to retain him  •  BCCI

Sunrisers Hyderabad have released Kane Williamson, their captain and most expensive player during the 2022 IPL campaign. The New Zealand captain spent eight years at the franchise, scoring 2101 runs at an average of 36.22 and a strike rate of 126.03. He played 76 matches for Sunrisers and captained them 46 times.
Letting go of Williamson will free up a significant chunk of Sunrisers' purse ahead of the 2023 auction as they look to rebuild after a disappointing 2022 campaign where they finished eighth on the points table on the 10-team table with only six wins in 14 games. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Sunrirsers will keep their options open about buying back Williamson at the auction.
Williamson was one of three players retained by the franchise ahead of the 2022 auction: Sunrisers spent INR 14 crore - the highest price paid to retain an overseas player in the IPL - to keep hold of him, and INR 4 crore each to retain Abdul Samad and Umran Malik.
Sunrisers' move to make Williamson their first retained player was a contentious one. It meant the franchise let go of the Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan, who it is learned wanted to be the first retention pick having been a serial match-winner for them.
But Sunrisers prized Williamson's skills as top-order anchor and captain. In the absence of David Warner - who was serving a one-year ban imposed by Cricket Australia for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering episode - Williamson had led Sunrisers to the IPL final in 2018, a season when he finished as the IPL's most prolific batter with 735 runs at an average of 52.50 and a strike rate of 142.44. When Sunrisers' long relationship with Warner soured midway through the 2021 season, they made Williamson their full-time captain.
As things turned out, the 2022 season was a struggle for Williamson with the bat. Nursing a troublesome elbow condition, he scored 216 runs in 13 innings at an average of 19.63 and a strike rate of 93.50. Of all batters who faced at least 100 balls in the tournament, his strike rate was the worst. His performance had a bearing on Sunrisers' overall season as well.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo