Cricket-Buttler retained by IPL franchise; Williamson and Finch released

By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -T20 World Cup-winning captain Jos Buttler and several of his England team mates have been retained by their Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises but Australia counterpart Aaron Finch and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson were released.

Inaugural champions and last year's runner-up Rajasthan Royals retained Buttler ahead of the Dec. 23 players auction for next year's IPL.

Among his compatriots, all-rounder Moeen Ali was retained by four-time champions Chennai Super Kings, paceman Mark Wood will continue to represent Lucknow Super Giants and all-rounder Liam Livingstone will don Punjab Kings colour again.

Punjab also retained England batter Jonny Bairstow, who missed the T20 World Cup with a freak golf injury.

Sunrisers Hyderabad have released Williamson, who captained the side in 2022, while Kolkata severed ties with Australia 20-overs captain Finch.

After leading New Zealand to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup, Williamson said his release would not mean he would focus any less on the format.

"There's always a lot of options and a lot of cricket but for me I love playing all formats," he told reporters on Thursday.

Kolkata's three foreign recruits - Australia test captain Pat Cummins and the English duo of opener Alex Hales and wicketkeeper-batter Sam Billings - have opted out of next year's IPL, citing national commitments.

Five-time champions Mumbai Indians retained England speedster Jofra Archer, who has not played competitive cricket since July 2021 following a back stress fracture.

Mumbai, who finished last in the 10-team league last season, released Kieron Pollard after 13 seasons but immediately appointed the West Indies stalwart as their batting coach.

Delhi Capitals retained David Warner despite the opener's poor form in the T20 World Cup, where Australia could not make the semi-finals.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi and Ian Ransom in Melbourne; editing by Bradley Perrett & Shri Navaratnam)