New Delhi: Delhi Capitals players Axar Patel, Prithvi Shaw and Anrich Nortje expressed delight over being retained by the franchise ahead of the Indian Premier League’s mega auction, which will be held next year. The JSW and GMR co-owned franchise revealed on Tuesday that left-arm spin all-rounder Patel, opener Shaw and pacer Nortje, along with wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant have been retained ahead of the 2022 IPL season.

“My journey with the Delhi Capitals has been very special. I would like to thank the DC family for showing so much trust and faith in me. I am very excited about playing in the upcoming season,” said Patel, who is currently with the Indian team preparing for the second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai.

“It has been an amazing journey for me with the franchise since 2018, and they have supported me through ups and downs, for which I am grateful. Thank you for showing the belief,” said Shaw, who has been with the franchise since 2018 and was last seen in action for Mumbai during the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Nortje, who is the only South African player to have been retained before the mega auction, said, “It’s been an unbelievable journey for me with Delhi so far, and I’ve learnt so much from everyone around the squad. The overall environment has been superb the last two seasons, and I can’t wait to join the team again.”

The four retentions means that Delhi have let go of Shreyas Iyer, who captained them since 2018 and led the team to its first final appearance in 2020. Apart from him, opener Shikhar Dhawan, Nortje’s country-mate Kagiso Rabada and West Indies big-hitter Shimron Hetmyer have been released as well. With a reduction of Rs 42.5 crores, Delhi will now go into the mega auction with a purse of Rs 47.5 crores.

The IPL had set November 30 as the deadline for the eight franchises to retain a maximum of four players. Lucknow and Ahmedabad, the two new franchises in the IPL bandwagon, can now buy up to three players from the non-retained players by December 25.