'Why was he retained?' - Aakash Chopra puzzled by Punjab Kings' decision, questions Trevor Bayliss connection
Aakash Chopra, the former Indian opener and respected cricket commentator, has raised eyebrows with his recent critique of the Punjab Kings' (PBKS) retention strategy, particularly regarding the substantial ₹18.50 crore retained for Sam Curran ahead of the IPL 2024 auction. Curran, who fetched the same amount in the IPL 2023 auction, was among the 17 players PBKS chose to retain, while parting ways with seven others, including the notable Shahrukh Khan.
Chopra expressed his astonishment on his YouTube channel, questioning the rationale behind such a hefty investment in Curran.
"I was extremely surprised. Why did you retain Sam Curran? They have parked 18.50 crore rupees in one place. I won't call him a non-performing asset but a very expensive asset for sure," he stated. He highlighted Curran's underwhelming performance, mentioning, "However, if you see his performances in the last IPL, the SA20 now, or the last year, he hasn't done anything special for the last 12-17 months. He just played well in the 2022 T20 World Cup and that too because the side boundaries were very big in Australia."
Was it worth retaining Sam Curran in the squad for the Punjab Kings?— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) January 20, 2024
Let's take a look at their team post auction in today's Cricket Chaupaal 👇https://t.co/vFEYLxJDK0
On a scale of 1-10 - how would you rate them?#Cricket #IPL2024 pic.twitter.com/8BYzfatCp3
Despite Curran's mediocre performance in the IPL 2023, where he picked up 10 wickets in 14 games and scored 276 runs in 13 innings, Chopra seemed unconvinced about his retention for such a high price. He further speculated on the possible influence of Trevor Bayliss, Curran's former coach with the England team, on PBKS's decision, saying,
"He should have been released. If you wanted, there was a buyback option available. You could have got him back for half the price or even cheaper, but Punjab said they would keep him with them. Is that the Trevor Bayliss connection? I don't know, I am just contemplating."
Moreover, Chopra didn't shy away from criticizing the release of Shahrukh Khan, highlighting the promising performance in the limited chances he received.
"Why you let Shahrukh Khan go - I have got no idea whatsoever because you gave him few chances. He did well in whatever opportunities you gave him but you let him go," he remarked.
Despite PBKS's attempt to reacquire Shahrukh at the auction, the Gujarat Titans outbid them, securing the Tamil Nadu hitter for ₹7.40 crore.
As the IPL 2024 season approaches, Chopra's remarks sum up the complex decisions and high stakes involved in IPL team strategies and player valuations. The cricketing fraternity will be keenly watching to see if PBKS's bold move in retaining Curran pays off or becomes a costly misstep.