'Chahal was disinterested, frustrated': Hesson on RCB's 'ridiculous' IPL move | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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'Yuzvendra Chahal was visibly disinterested and frustrated': Mike Hesson recalls RCB's 'ridiculous' IPL auction move

Feb 20, 2024 08:35 PM IST

Mike Hesson, who was then the director of cricket at RCB, recalled the telephonic conversation with Chahal and how RCB's call misfired in the auction later.

Royal Challengers Bangalore's decision to release their top spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, ahead of the 2022 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) has remained one of the most bizarre choices made by a franchise. In a franchise that boasted the likes of AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and Chris Gayle, Chahal single-handedly ruled the wicket-taking chart for RCB, delivering consistent performances each season. However, RCB, ahead of the mega auction in 2022, opted to retain Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj, thus releasing Chahal, who was later roped in by Rajasthan Royals. Mike Hesson, who was then the director of cricket at the franchise, recalled the telephonic conversation with Chahal and how RCB's decision had misfired in the auction later.

Yuzvendra Chahal was released from the RCB squad ahead of the 2022 IPL season
Yuzvendra Chahal was released from the RCB squad ahead of the 2022 IPL season

Speaking to Cricket.com, Hesson revealed that Chahal was completely upset, disinterested and frustrated at the decision, but added that he understood what led to RCB taking that call.

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"Yuzi was communicated with a huge amount. And I know that because I was the guy at the other end of the phone. I remember ringing Yuzi afterwards and he was upset. It was very difficult to try and explain the auction dynamics to him at that time. He was visibly disinterested, and I don't blame him. He was an RCBian and he was frustrated. But I can assure everyone that he is well-aware of the issues we were confronted with," Hesson said.

RCB had planned to sign back Chahal and Harshal Patel during the mega auction, but matters got complicated after the leg-spinner failed to make the marquee list. Chahal's name emerged after 64 players.

While the 2016 finalist did manage to get back Harshal, Chahal was signed by Rajasthan Royals for INR 2 crore. RCB did not even enter the auction battle for the spinner where Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad showed keen interest in getting Chahal.

"I spoke to Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal) obviously when we did the initial retention and we only retained three players because we felt we wanted to try and buy back both Harshal Patel and Yuzi at the auction. Probably the thing that I'm really frustrated about even now is as you said Yuzi is probably one of the top-five players of all time for RCB but he was also one of the best ever in the IPL and the fact that he couldn't make the top two marquee lists at that time was ridiculous, the fact that he came in as number 65 on the auction list means that it was really difficult for us to guarantee we were going to get him," the former New Zealand coach added.

RCB, meanwhile, settled with Sri Lanka all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, whom Hesson labelled as a "three-dimensional" player.

"For Chahal, we knew there were five other teams that had more money than us and if we let go of all the bowlers before that and then we got to bidding for Yuzi and everyone knew we were going for Yuzi and we didn't get him, we could have got bullied by five other teams and then been left with no leg spinner. So it was one that we'd spent hours and hours debating and trying to manipulate the mock auctions of how we could potentially leave ourselves with Yuzi. We felt we needed to have a decent dip at Wanindu Hasaranga obviously the fact he was, a three-dimensional player, batting for Sri Lanka had been really good at that time, was well, good player of spin and was performing incredibly well on the international stage. So we felt that if we weren't going to get Yuzi, Hasaranga was a really nice option for us," Hesson further explained.

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