The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 is going to be a cricketing feast as two of the most successful franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will mark their return in the competition after serving two years of suspension. Ahead of the mega contest, there are few important dates to be noted. The auction for the IPL 2018 will take place on January 28 and the teams have been asked to submit names of three players they want to retain. Additionally, they would also be able to keep two more players through the Right to Match (RTM) card. As the buildup heats up, Royal Challengers Bangalore have significantly strengthened their dugout by roping in Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra in prominent coaching roles. 

Former India coach Gary Kirsten will take on the role of the batting coach whereas former Indian pacer Ashish Nehra will hold the responsibility of the bowling coach. “South African cricketer Gary Kirsten and former Indian fast-bowler Ashish Nehra have come on-board as Batting and Bowling Coach, respectively. Additionally, Kirsten and Nehra will also play the role of mentors for the team during the league,” RCB’s statement read. Veteran New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori will continue in the role of RCB’s head coach with Nehra and Kirsten supporting the players as the mentors during the league.

Trent Woodhill and Andrew McDonald would also remain in the team and will take up the roles of batting talent development and fielding coach; he will also serve as the head of scouting for the team offseason. McDonald will serve as the bowling talent development and analytics in charge.

We bring you the likely to be retained players from the IPL franchises: Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Delhi Daredevils (DD), Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals (RR).

Royal Challengers Bangalore: RCB has certainly fueled their dugout by materializing the presence two of the best cricketing brains but coming to players the underperforming team is yet to finalize on the names for retention. Despite possessing a star-studded line up consisting of the likes of Virat Kohli, Shane Watson, Chris Gayle and AB De Villiers, RCB has not yet made up their mind on which players they want to keep. Reports suggest that even skipper Virat Kohli might go under the hammer in the upcoming auctions.

Mumbai Indians: Mumbai Indians have selected Pandya brothers: Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya with skipper Rohit Sharma to keep in the fray, while Kieron Pollard might be retained by the virtue of RTM card. “Skipper Rohit Sharma is an automatic retention having led the team to three IPL titles. Hardik Pandya is one of the big match-winners and the interesting third retention would be Krunal Pandya,” a senior BCCI official in the know of things told PTI on Monday.

“Krunal being an uncapped Indian can be retained for only Rs 3 crore instead of Rs 7 crore for the third capped player. Also, Krunal was an exceptional performer last year,” he added. It is learnt that it is a strategic decision to retain Krunal as this will enable the franchise to buy back Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah with the ‘Right To Match’ cards, he added. Mumbai Indians were the mightiest to voice their consent on retention of at least five players as they wanted to keep their core group of players intact. For Delhi Pant and Iyer are obvious choices considering their skills in the shorter format of the game.

Chennai Super Kings: The two-time champions have already decided to retain their captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and left-hand genius Suresh Raina, who has been one of the most consistently performing players in the Yellow setup. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is also in the fray and is likely to be kept. Apart the all-important trio of Dhoni, Jadeja, and Raina, star all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin are set to be retained by the virtue of RTM card. The men in yellow are keen on maintaining their core and give their passionate fans a reunion with their favourite stars.

Sunrises Hyderabad: The Hyderabad franchise also possesses a bunch of talented players and will have a tough time deciding who they want to retain. David Warner is certain to play for the Hyderabad franchise in the upcoming IPL. The skipper has been a regular in the team and has proved his mettle by leading the team to a title triumph once. Sunrisers also have some of the best bowlers in the league and it will be interesting to see who the orange army put their clutches on.

Rajasthan Royals: Rajasthan Royals will be the second team alongside CSK to make a return in the competition. Australian skipper Steve Smith who led Rising Pune Super Giants to runners-up finish last season will be back in the blue for the Rajasthan outfit. James Faulkner and Ajinkya Rahane can be the other two players to stay with the franchise.

Delhi Daredevils: Delhi Daredevils looks set to empty all the seats and fill them with new faces. The Delhi franchise as per reports is keen on retaining only two players namely Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer. Both Pant and Iyer are integral members of the Delhi batting line-up and the franchise owners don’t want to let go of their prized possession considering that they would have to dash out much lower fee on the duo. 

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