IPL auctions likely to allow old teams to retain four players
- Two new franchises--Lucknow and Ahmedabad--are likely to be given the chance to pick three players before mega auction.
MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Jasprit Bumrah are some of the big names likely to be retained by their respective franchises ahead of one of the biggest auctions in the history of the Indian Premier League this December for the 10-team season next year. Though the date for the auction has not been announced yet, there may be a new set of rules governing the auction and retention of players according to informal discussions between the IPL governing council and the franchises. It is likely that the eight existing IPL teams will be allowed to retain a maximum of four players. During the earlier mega auction before the 2018 season, teams were allowed to retain up to five players. The two new franchises—the RP-SG owned one from Lucknow and CVC-owned franchise from Ahmedabad—will be able to pick three players, including at least one overseas player from a player pool before going into the auctions.
The 2018 auction featured a "Right to Match (RTM)" card, which allowed franchises to exercise the power to have first right of refusal over a former player picked by another franchise in the auction. Like in 2018 when Chennai Super Kings had released Faf Du Plessis before the auctions but used their RTM to retain him despite Kings XI Punjab winning a ₹1.6 crore bid on him. This time, RTM card may be removed, which means franchises will seek to retain a core that should remain viable for at least the next five years, if not more.
Franchises may be given the last say in deciding upon the combination of retention—three Indian and one overseas or two Indians and two overseas players—with an overall purse of approximately ₹90 crore, up from ₹85 crore in the auction this year.
For the pre-auction pick for the new teams, the big names doing the rounds are KL Rahul, David Warner and R Ashwin. Rahul, consistently one of the highest scorers in the IPL may want to make himself available for one of the two new teams who may be seeking a premier India batter as captain. Warner is almost sure to be released by Sunrisers Hyderabad after he was dropped from the team this edition, prompting the Australian opener to declare he won’t come to the ground before he changed his mind.
Kohli, despite not leading Royal Challengers Bangalore to an IPL title in 11 years, should be retained not only because he remains their best batter but also for being synonymous with the franchise. Dhoni, 40, has spoken of the need for Chennai Super Kings to retain a core that should last 10 years but there is almost no doubt he will be retained after franchise owner and former BCCI president N Srinivasan said there would be “no CSK without Dhoni and no Dhoni without CSK”. Whether he continues to be a player or a mentor-cum-player (he finished this IPL leading CSK to the title but notched his worst ever season average with the bat) is a call the franchise will have to take in the long run.
All retentions could be announced by November, just before the auctions, leaving franchises enough time to negotiate with players. The IPL is also yet to firm up the retention caps and the percentage of the auction purse each franchise can spend overall on retaining players. Five-time champions Mumbai Indians again look the most settled franchise with Sharma, Bumrah, Pollard and Ishan Kishan almost sure to be retained. CSK may not want to part with the likes of Ruturaj Gaikwad---top scorer this season---or Shardul Thakur. Delhi Capitals would want to continue with Pant as captain and probably retain Avesh Khan, Axar Patel and Marcus Stoinis but the futures of Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Anrich Nortje is less certain.
IPL finalists KKR too are expected to retain a strong Indian core of Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer and Varun Chakaravarthy but captain Eoin Morgan, already 35, may not fit into their plans going forward. For Hyderabad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Umran Malik and Abdul Samad seem the likeliest retention as they might want to go for a complete overhaul of their batting. Punjab Kings too could go the same way, invest in Arshdeep Singh and spinner Ravi Bishnoi with Mohammad Shami as the bowling spearhead, and give their batting a makeover. Rajasthan Royals may be pressed into thinking long and hard before coming to a decision on match winners Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer who were unavailable in the UAE leg of the IPL due to injury apart from Mustafizur Rahman. They are also likely to retain a young Indian core in Sanju Samson, Kartik Tyagi and Chetan Sakariya.