IPL 2018 Retention: MS Dhoni back in CSK yellow, KKR release Gautam Gambhir
MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli were retained by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) respectively while Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) parted ways with Gautam Gambhir ahead of the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season.cricket Updated: Jan 05, 2018 12:08 IST
MS Dhoni will be back in the familiar yellow colours of Chennai Super Kings when the IPL XI begins in April. CSK, back after serving a two-year ban, retained Dhoni on Thursday.
On expected lines, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians went for their captains Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma respectively. Australia captain Steve Smith, who is in roaring form, was Rajasthan Royals’s only pick while Sunrisers Hyderabad retained David Warner, who has led them superbly in the last two seasons.
The biggest surprise was RCB’s decision to pick uncapped hard-hitting batsman Sarfaraz Khan as their third player after Virat and AB de Villiers, thereby releasing Chris Gayle. Sarfaraz was injured and missed the entire last season.
RCB team director Amrit Thomas said Sarfaraz’s selection had Virat Kohli’s blessings. “All cricketing decisions are taken by captain Virat and coach Dan (Vettori). The captain has to get the team he wants and coach is part of the decision making,” Amrit Thomas told HT, on their surprise pick.
“In Sarfaraz, we wanted to invest in youth as he is a phenomenal player.”
Kolkata Knight Riders too sprung a surprise when they chose not to retain skipper Gautam Gambhir under whom they won two IPL titles. KKR opted to retain Sunil Narine. The Trinidadian is their premier spin bowler and last year shone in the role of a pinch hitter at the top of the order. Andre Russell, the hard-hitting medium-pace bowling all-rounder, who has served a one-year doping ban, was KKR’s second retention.
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya was the second player bagged by Mumbai, and Jasprit Bumrah third. Bumrah has been India’s best bowler in one-dayers and T20s ever since making his debut in 2016.
“Rohit is synonymous with the Mumbai Indians and Pandya and Bumrah are our two finds. They are now the two pillars of the Indian team and also the Mumbai Indians side,” said owner Akash Ambani.
CSK also retained their batting star, Suresh Raina and all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.
“Dhoni is extremely excited, he is waiting to wear the yellow jersey again and we are excited to have him back. We are looking forward to building a team. We just want to retain the core, which is what we have always done,” said CSK Team Director George John.
Delhi Daredevils reposed their faith in youngsters Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer. Dhoni is the current No 1 keeper-batsman in limited overs format in the Indian team and Pant is tipped to take over from him in future.
Although, Pant will draw a bigger contract, DD CEO Hemant Dua said their first pick was South African all-rounder Chris Morris. “In our records, Morris is out first retention. As for Pant and Iyer, they are our finds, and we believe in their talent,” said Dua. Pant had a below-par first-class season, but DD are clear about their selections. “Anyone can have one bad season. And red ball and white ball are different ball games. Pant is still the captain of Delhi Ranji team,” said Dua.
Kings XI Punjab chose to retain only all-rounder Axar Patel.