The rules of the game have been set and it’s up to the teams to make their choices now, having been handed the option of retaining the nucleus of their teams or going for an entirely new look.
The first step towards team formation for IPL 2014 begins within 48 hours, the deadline for the owners to take a call on whether to exercise their right of retain five players. Team officials are breaking their heads over the merits of retention and the amount that will be deducted from the salary cap.
All eyes are on the two heavyweights, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. While most teams dither over whether they have names which offer value for money, CSK and MI should be happy to exercise the retention option. Simple reason: the success rate of their outfits.
CSK is likely to exercise all its five options to retain key players — the preferred choices being skipper MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Murali Vijay. They are also expected to exercise the ‘right to match’ option to get their fifth capped Indian player. “They will retain as many as they can. In the 2011 auction too, they were the only ones who managed to retain almost 90% of their team,” said a seasoned IPL official.
The demand is for Indians. With only four foreigners allowed in the playing eleven, teams with stronger Indian talent call the shots. “There is a dearth of capped Indian players. There are around eight good capped players and seven to eight decent cricketers. Foreign players are available in plenty,” said the expert.
Mumbai Indians too had built a good team around Indian players. Having led them to the IPL-Champions League double, Rohit Sharma will be retained at all costs. Along with Dhoni, Sharma is the player valued the most. He is a local boy too, has a great T20 record and has been a revelation as captain.
At Rs. 12.5 crores for the first capped player retained, the governing council has kept the price tag quite high and most teams will be tempted to wait for the auction and use the joker card. It will help get the player at market value.
But MI and CSK might have to shell out more to retain Sharma and Dhoni, given their market value. “The Indian players are demanding more money (given their dearth). The rule only states that 12.5 crore will be deducted from the salary cap irrespective of the fee agreed between the two parties.”
The other first-choice players for MI are likely to be Ambati Rayudu, Dinesh Karthik, Harbhajan Singh and Mitchell Johnson.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will not think twice before going for Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. KKR’s automatic choices are likely to be Sunil Narine and skipper Gautam Gambhir and for Rajasthan Royals, Shane Watson,
Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson (being uncapped, RR will have to pay Rs. 4 crore). “Those retaining all five players will be left with only a purse of 21 crores to form the rest of the team in the auction. It’s a tricky situation for everyone.”