Despite his immense experience and sustained success in the IPL over the year, one bad season, individually and collectively, meant that Mayank Agarwal was released by the Punjab Kings ahead of the IPL 2023 auction.
The IPL 2022 was the first full season that Agarwal captained in the IPL, but it didn’t go as PBKS hoped for and the Karnataka batter had to face the axe. Punjab Kings have named Shikhar Dhawan as their new captain for IPL 2023.
Not just being sacked as the captain, but also being released altogether perhaps came as a surprise for everyone because Agarwal’s record as a batsman is terrific in the IPL: 2327 runs in 113 matches, average 22.59, 134.27 strike rate, one century, and 12 fifties. Since 2020, Agarwal has the third-best strike rate – 144 – for an opening batter in the IPL, only behind Prithvi Shaw and Jos Buttler (minimum 10 games as an opener).
Here are the 3 main reasons why Punjab Kings (PBKS) released Mayank Agarwal:
Poor IPL 2022 as a batsman for Agarwal
With the bat, Agarwal had a poor IPL 2022: he scored 196 runs in 13 matches, with a 16 average and 122 strike rate, with one fifty, and even pushed himself number the order to have Bairstow open with Dhawan.
Agarwal failed to hit his sweet spot with the bat last season, and was bogged down with the weight of captaincy.
A Lack of faith in Agarwal now
After the former captain and main man KL Rahul left Punjab Kings for new franchise Lucknow Super Giants, PBKS appointed Agarwal as their new face. However, they perhaps put too much expectations on him and that reflected by him being released after just one bad season.
Under Agarwal’s captaincy, PBKS finished 6th in the points table, missing the playoffs, but that had been a similar story under KL Rahul and before that under R Ashwin too.
Also, Agarwal is now out of the Indian Test squad too, with the likes of Shubman Gill and Abhimanyu Easwaran being preferred. And while the Test format has little correlation with T20 and the IPL, the lack of form and his axing from the national side also perhaps would have been a factor in PBKS’ decision to part ways with the 31-year-old opener.
Big price of 12 crore
PBKS will go into the IPL 2023 mini-auction with a heavy purse of INR 32.2 crore, and INR 12 crore alone of that has come from releasing Agarwal. PBKS would have considered that Agarwal is unlikely to be sold in the auction for near the 12 crore price, despite as good as he’s been in the IPL in past years and with his experience, so they might even look to get him back for a cheaper price and give him the anchor middle-order role.