If Rahul has already been approached by new teams, it is against BCCI guidelines: Punjab Kings

IPL franchise Punjab Kings is unhappy about K L Rahul leaving the team despite getting “all the freedom” as captain over the past two seasons and says it would be unethical if he has already been approached by a new franchise.

Rahul had replaced R Ashwin as captain ahead of the 2020 season and though he did excel with the bat, he failed to take the team to play-offs. He is now linked to new franchise Lucknow and it has been reported that he is set to lead the team owned by the RPSG Group.

“We wanted to retain Rahul but he wanted to go back into the auction. If he has been approached by another franchise before that, it would be unethical,” Punjab Kings co-owner Ness Wadia told PTI.

When asked about reports on Rahul being lured by Lucknow, Wadia said: “I hope not because that is against the guidelines set by the BCCI.”

In 2010, Ravindra Jadeja had copped a one-year suspension for trying to negotiate a deal with other teams even before he had been released by his then team Rajasthan Royals.

New teams Lucknow and Ahmedabad have time till December 25 to pick three available players who were released on Tuesday. Rahul was among the big names to be released alongside Ashwin, Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan and Yuzvendra Chahal.

Punjab are keen to bring back Ashwin if he is not picked by a new team before the mega auction next month.

Punjab go into the auction having retained only Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh and with the highest purse available at Rs 72 crore.

“We are really happy about retaining Mayank and Arshdeep. Mayank has been a phenomenal player for us, really loyal to the franchise. Arshdeep also has been with us for a while and I can only see him improving. I see him playing for India in the near future,” said Wadia.

Mohammad Shami and uncapped Ravi Bishnoi, who has done well for the team, have also been released. The team wanted to retain Bishnoi but he was convinced by a senior teammate to make himself available to other teams.

“He is a great player. We negotiated with him and at least there was engagement from him. We would look to buy him back in the auction if he is available,” said Wadia on Shami.

On retaining only two players, Wadia hinted at building a team full of youngsters.

“At Punjab Kings, I don’t think we have done as well as we should have and could have. We could have definitely done better. The most important thing is we strive to ensure the players and staff get the freedom they deserve and there is unity among them.

“One has to now look at continuing that spirit. Hopefully we will get the right combination at the auction and we go forward from there.”

Talking about the 2022 season, Wadia said the goal remains to win the elusive title.