As the Indian Premier League retention date inches closer the franchises look decided on the players they don’t want to let go of. January 4 is the last date of submission of the names of three players each of the IPL teams wants to retain. The upcoming season of the T-20 fiesta is expected to be a mega affair with the returns of Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings, the two of the most successful teams in the league. Both the teams will also get back their Original players who mostly plied their trade for the newbie Rising Pune Supergiants and the Rajasthan Royals.
The most interesting part of the upcoming IPL auction slated to happen on 27th and 28th January in Bengaluru is that it will have a maximum number of players go under the hammer since the first season. But before the auction day, the retention event is scheduled which is also set to go live on the Star Sports Network. Each of the eight IPL teams will have to put forth names of three players they want to keep. Earlier the IPL governing council had announced that every side would be able to hold back at least 5 players: three retentions and two by the use of the RTM (Right to Match) card.
Most of the teams have already decided on the players to retain. Reports have suggested that the Chennai Super Kings is set to bring back Mahendra Singh Dhoni back in yellow. They have also made up their minds on roping back T20 specialist Suresh Raina and star All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja. Meanwhile, reigning champions Mumbai Indians are expected to go ahead with three certain retentions in Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya and Rohit Sharma. Delhi is likely to keep Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.
We bring you our predictions on which IPL franchise should retain which players:
Kings XI Punjab: The Kings are yet to taste success in the competition. They have one of the most experienced coaching setups and possess a good combination of players but have failed to create an impact. This auction could be an opportunity for them to rejuvenate their squad and get due quality in the line-up. The Punjab outfit has some of the most explosive T20 batsmen in David Miller and Glenn Maxwell who can play the role of a game changer for any team. Coming to the bowling department Sandeep Sharma has been one of the most consistent performers for the Punjab outfit and he could be their best bet costing significantly lesser than a capped player. Mohit Sharma can also be in contention to regain his place in the side.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK): It is all but certain that Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be back to lead the men in yellow and will get two of his most loyal players in Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja. The two-time champions will be marking their comeback in a stylish way after serving a suspension of two years. Apart from saving the superb trio, CSK is reportedly keen on keeping Ravichandran Ashwin and Dwayne Bravo through the RTM card.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): The Bengaluru outfit is still to decide on the players they want to retain and sources have strongly suggested that RCB might not retain any of their old players. Even the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers will be up for grabs if RCB decides to revamp the whole squad. However, it won’t be a good idea on the team’s part to let go of their stars that can unarguably create a difference single-handedly in any team that they go into. RCB might want to keep their solid top-order trio of the mighty Chris Gayle, the ever-reliable Virat Kohli and the veteran AB de Villiers.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: The David Warner led team has the most sorted bowling attack in the league and they might be the rare one to save two bowlers and one batsman instead of going ahead with two batters. The likes of Mustafizur Rahman, Trent Boult, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan are sure to give the Hyderabad administration a headache in selecting the players they want to keep in fary. The Australian superstar and skipper David Warner is most likely to be retained by Sunrisers along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar considering his experience in the Indian conditions. The other player could be one among the duo of Boult and Mustafizur.
Delhi Daredevils: The Delhi Daredevils have so far never managed to finish even as runners-up, the team has continued to struggles since the start of the competition by losing on their stars one after another. As the season progressed the Delhi outfit became more shambolic. Though now they have a few great young batting talents in Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant who they are likely to retain. Chris Morris was also the stand-out player for the Daredevils and his all-round abilities make him a perfect retention for the IPL franchise.
Rajasthan Royals: The Rajasthan Royals will be the second will be the second team to mark a return with Chennai Super Kings. Before being suspended Rajasthan had one of the cheapest yet effective squad with a perfect balance of top batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders in a perfect mix of international and local talents. Skipper Steve Smith will be coming back in the colour blue to lead the Rajasthan outfit and might see his Australian teammate James Faulkner come back. Along with the two, Rajasthan might go ahead by retaining Ajinkya Rahane who remains one of the highest run-getters for the side.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Unarguably the most loaded side with a number of stars, KKR would be in all sorts of a dilemma on whom to retain. Gautam Gambhir has been largely credited for the immense success the team scalped under him and it will be a no second thought for owner Shah Rukh Khan on the veteran left-hander. However, a tussle could be between Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. Both the players have been equally sensational in their roles and have been a part of the franchise for quite some time. Among the Indian players, Kuldeep Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav and Manish Pandey will be in the fray.
Mumbai Indians: Recent reports suggest that Mumbai is keen on keeping the services of the Pandya brothers: Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya and skipper Rohit Sharma. It will be perfect for the reigning champions to retain the three players as they would be able to keep two all-rounders and most importantly their captain back without disrupting the dressing room atmosphere. Mumbai will use the RTM card for Kieron Pollard and most likely Harbhajan Singh who has been with the team right from the first season. Nitish Rana can also be the player Mumbai can keep after his heroics with the bat last season.