IPL is a highly competitive league. The best of the best fight for the ultimate prize. Teams are often stacked with star players. These players have a huge fan following. Teams need to draw a fine balance when it comes to managing them. IPL teams at times have found themselves at crossroads when it comes to team balance and star players. The decisions they took in the larger interest of the team on occasions have attracted widespread criticism. These decisions in IPL history by franchises drew sharp reactions from the fans. They were left hurting and few fans have even switched loyalties from those teams.
StumpsandBails lists out 5 instances when decisions taken by IPL teams hurt fans and their emotions:
#5 RCB releasing Rahul Dravid after 2011
Decisions In IPL History By Franchises. RCB team created a lot of buzz during the 2008 auctions. They had appointed Rahul Dravid as their captain. But they ended up picking a poor T20 team in the first season. RCB bounced back in some style in 2009 to finish as runners-up and qualified for the knockouts in 2010. Dravid played an integral part in RCB’s victories and was a key member of the leadership group. But in a surprising move by the owners, they released Rahul Dravid ahead of the 2011 auctions. The franchise didn’t even attempt to retain Dravid in the auctions and this hurt the fans even more.
#4 KKR sacking Sourav Ganguly from captaincy (2009)
KKR had finished 6th under Sourav Ganguly in the first season. The team didn’t inspire any confidence of making the semis. This prompted KKR management and coach, John Buchanan to attempt a multi-captain theory. This theory not just appalled fans but also cricketing experts. They tried roping in McCullum as captain but the team eventually finished at the 8th spot. KKR fans swore to stop backing the franchise if Ganguly wasn’t reinstated as captain the next season. This made KKR bring back Ganguly as their captain in IPL 2010.
#3 Virender Sehwag’s sacking from Delhi (2014)
Virender Sehwag was the last iconic Delhi player left in the Delhi Daredevils franchise post the axing off Gautam Gambhir in 2011. Sehwag single-handedly shouldered the responsibilities for the Delhi side. He kept scoring over 350 runs in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Sehwag was the only star attraction for the Daredevils back then. Hence releasing him made zero cricketing sense. The fans were distraught with this decision.
#2 RPS sacking MS Dhoni as captain (2017)
MS Dhoni was the obvious choice for captaincy when the Rising Pune Supergiant team acquired him in IPL 2016. But the Pune franchise finished a lowly 7th in the points table under Dhoni. This led to the franchise sacking Dhoni from captaincy ahead of IPL 2017. Sanjiv Goenka, the owner of RPS, was vocal about Dhoni’s omission and heaped praises on incoming captain Steve Smith. This move didn’t sit well with many Dhoni fans and they hated the franchise for this.
#1 SRH axing David Warner from captaincy and playing XI
SRH struggled to get going in IPL 2021. They had lost 5 out of their first 6 games. SRH kept losing games from winning positions. Their middle-order went from bad to worse. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T. Natarajan missed games owing to injuries. SRH dropped Manish Pandey for his strike rate and replaced him with a rookie like Virat Singh. He looked completely at sea in a place like IPL.
Warner was lost for words after losing the 5th game and he conceded that dropping Pandey was a harsh call from the management. His confession in the press conference admittedly didn’t sit well with SRH top brass and they immediately dropped Warner not just from captaincy but also from the playing XI. It was one of the darkest stories of IPL. The fans could not fathom such a woeful move and sensed a conspiracy. They wanted their icon, David Warner to shift to another franchise next year.