In his own words, all-rounder Deepak Hooda was left ‘demoralised, depressed and under pressure’ after a well-documented spat with his Baroda state team captain, Krunal Pandya.
England's swashbuckling batter Jos Buttler and India's premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin had not seen eye to eye for a long time owing to a controversial run out episode during the 2019 edition of the lucrative league.
However, the 2022 IPL mega auction, besides forcing the 10 franchises to break the banks in order to get their favourite players, has done another thing: turn these foes into teammates.
Twitter went berserk when Ashwin joined Buttler in Rajasthan Royals, who spent Rs 5 crore to get the services of the seasoned off-spinner.
Ashwin, who had appeared for the Delhi Capitals in the 2020 and 2021 editions of the tournament, will thus have a reunion with Buttler – one of the three players retained by the RR franchise alongside captain Sanju Samson and Indian youngster Yashasvi Jaiswal.
The incident involving Ashwin and Buttler made headlines during RR's home match against Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) in Jaipur on March 25, when the former ran out the Englishman at the non-strikers end after the batter had backed up too far.
Following the incident, Ashwin faced criticism from current and former English cricketers. Taking a dig at Buttler a year after the incident, Ashwin had cheekily shared a picture from the incident to advise people to not "wander out" when the first coronavirus-forced lockdown was imposed.
However, both seem to have "moved on" from that bitter episode, and in a few weeks' time, the two will be sharing the dressing room. Same will be the case with Hooda and Krunal.
Last year, Baroda Cricket Association (BCA) received a setback before the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as their all-rounder Hooda left the bio-bubble after a spat with Baroda captain Krunal. In a mail sent to BCA, Hooda made a series of allegations against Krunal, including trying to pull him down and warning him that he would ensure he did not play for Baroda again.
After accusing Krunal of misbehaviour, and leaving the team hotel a day before the start of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, vice-captain Hooda too found himself in the dock for misconduct, with BCA chief executive officer Shishir Hattangadi questioning the middle-order batter's attitude and commitment to the team.
Hooda went to the new IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants for 5.75 crore, while Krunal was bought for Rs 8.25 crore after Gujarat, Mumbai Indians, and Chennai Super Kings pulled out. Following a rather eventful 2021 when he quit his home team after the fracas with Krunal, Hooda earned his maiden call-up to the Indian ODI team for the home series against the West Indies.
Batting all-rounder Hooda had also been picked in India's T20 squad back in 2017 but did not get to play. The selection marked the high point of a roller-coaster last 12 months for Hooda who displayed remarkable mental strength to overcome a dark phase in his career.
In the second ODI against the West Indies, Hooda contributed 29 off 25 deliveries to ensure a decent finish for the hosts after they were tottering at 43 for three at one stage. With the ball, he took the important wicket of Sharmarh Brooks (44) to break a dangerous stand in a 238-run chase.