The Indian Premier League (IPL) Governing Council released the rules and regulations for the 2014 Auctions. Interestingly, they have introduced a “rights to match” feature — which will let the franchises bid for a player, after they have retained five players from their respective 2013 squads. In the second and concluding part, Sudatta Mukherjee looks at the players KKR, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab are likely to retain.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Shahrukh Khan’s franchise will find it difficult to let go of many players. They have as many as 11 players who they would like to retain. Let’s see the players Kolkata will choose first up:
1. Gautam Gambhir: If KKR won the IPL title in 2012, it was largely due to Gautam Gambhir’s captaincy. He has been one of the team’s leading run scorer and the balance that he provides as an opener, Gambhir will surely be retained.
2. Jacques Kallis: The South African all-rounder was one of their main weapons. He has been one of the major all-rounders in the world and has been well utilized by the Kolkata franchise. His experience has helped the team get out of dire situations.
3. Brendon McCullum: A weapon of mass destruction! McCullum will always be remembered for his sensational blitz in the first match of the inaugural IPL, when he scored the then highest individual score in T20 cricket. Is a match-winner with the bat who also brings in added value as a ‘keeper.
4. Mohammed Shami: Even though the franchise has not used him as much as one would have liked, his stocks have soared since the last IPL. KKR will feel blessed to have this rising start in their ranks.
5. Sunil Narine: The mystery weapon of the Kolkata team, Narine is one reason why Kolkata won the 2012 title. His deliveries are yet to be deciphered by many batsmen and he has been one of the most successful spinners in recent times. Kolkata have to retain him.
Apart from the above five, KKR has more players whom they wouldn’t let go of:
1. Ryan ten Doeschate: The Dutch has been an asset to the team. His presence in the team provides balance to the middle-order and he can be a handy bowler. Even though he hasn’t been utilized a lot, one needs him in the roster.
2. Rajat Bhatia: A utility player in every sense, he is one cricketer who hasn’t got his due. Bhatia has provided economical bowling spells and handy batting performance.
3. Shakib Al Hasan: Bangladesh’s premier spinner and lower middle-order batsman, he is a big-match player. On his day, he can destroy the opposition with his wide range of strokeplay and wicket-taking ability.
4. Lakshmipathy Balaji: Gambhir has been all praise for the Tamil Nadu seamer. KKR may not like to part with his service.
Having Rahul Dravid and Shane Warne in the team helped Rajasthan reach highs. In the absence of these two stalwarts, Rajasthan has to be very careful in retaining their star resources.
Following are the players that RR will look to retain.
1. Ajinkya Rahane: In the last two seasons, Rahane has been phenomenal. He smashed 560 runs in 2012 season and 488 in 2013. He comes with the ability of scoring big runs on a regular basis with a unique calm and composed temperament. After Dravid’s retirement, Rahane will be the batsman to watch out for.
2. Shane Watson: The Australian provides balance to the Rajasthan squad. Like his Australian counterpart Warner, Watson can destroy the opposition. He has been quite successful in IPL with the ball as well., He took 13 wickets and scored 543 runs in 2013 season.
3. Brad Hodge: One of the most experienced T20 players, he has been a star in the limited-overs format. Known to be a T20 specialist, Hodge brings value to the Rajasthan middle-order.
4. James Faulkner: The Australian youngster brings value in the bowling department and comes handy as a batsman. His recent performances in India have shown his quality and Rajasthan would be happy to retain him.
5. Pravin Tambe: He has been the revelation of the 2013 season. Tambe gave a fitting reply to those who said that age matters in T20 cricket as he took the most wickets for Rajasthan at the CLT20 2013 having made his IPL debut at the age of 41.
Some of the players who RR would like to retain are:
1. Sanju Samson: For a team which pays great importance to Indian young talent, Sanju Samson will be one player they would like to bid for. He was the Rising Star of the IPL 2013.
2. Kevon Cooper: The West Indies bowler has been an influential and impact player for the Rajasthan franchise. Providing breakthrough for the team whenever needed, he is one of the players that Rajasthan is likely to bid for.
The reformed Hyderabad franchise has had a wonderful 2013. They reached the play-offs but were defeated by Rajasthan. They do need a few players to strengthen the promise and it would be interesting to see whom they retain and also bid for.
Following are the ones Sunrisers Hyderabad are likely to retain.
1. Shikhar Dhawan: The Indian opener has been one of the rising young stars in the current Indian side. He is in top form and has scored five ODI tons in 2013. Dhawan is in the form of his life.
2. Dale Steyn: The world’s most dreaded pacer has been the nightmare for the batsmen. Quick and on the target, he can swing the ball both ways. A major force in their bowling department, Hyderabad should keep him in their side.
3. Thisara Perera: The Sri Lankan star has been an impact player for the franchise, and a genuine match-winner for the team. In the 2013 auction, Sunrisers grabbed Perera for USD 675,000
4. Cameron White: An important player in the side, White can give it a go in T20 cricket. Not only that, but his sound cricketing mind should also be factored in.
5. Quinton de Kock: The young wicket-keeper has shown his quality in recent times and Hyderabad may want to invest in this tyro now. .
Sunrisers have only a few players that they will be surely looking to bid for:
1. Darren Sammy: A wicket-taker and a handy batsman, Sammy has been one of the most talked about player in the Hyderabad squad.
2. Amit Mishra: The Indian leg-spinner has taken wickets in regularly for any team that he has represented in the IPL. Hyderabad would ideally like to retain Mishra, however, keeping in mind how the tough the competition would be, he would have to go under the hammer.
3. Kumar Sangakkara: A world-class player, Kumar Sangakkara hasn’t done well at the IPL. Leading the side in the IPL 2013 season, his average was a paltry 13.33. Hyderabad may not retain him, but he brings in quality and one cannot rule him out.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The most entertaining side in the league, Bangalore has a lot of players to look up to. Here are some of them who the franchise is likely to retain.
1. Virat Kohli: As one of the best batsman in the world, he is Bangalore’s prized possession. A batsman who can perform under pressure, Kohli is aggressive and energetic, as a captain and fielder.
2. Chris Gayle: Quite simply the most coveted play in T20 cricket who has to his credit the most number of sixes and highest individual score. His last three season aggregates reads: 708, 733 and 608. A big hitter and a handy off-spinner, Gayle is a crowd-puller.
3. AB de Villiers: AB de Villiers has been the man who has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat numerous times. He provides stability to the RCB middle-order. Apart from being an excellent wicket-keeper, he can be an excellent fielder too. After buying him for US$1.1 million, it is unlikely that Bangalore will let go of the world’s No 1 ODI batsman.
4. Tillakaratne Dilshan: Providing strength to RCB as an opener, Tillakaratne Dilshan is a must. One of the best fielders, who can bowl handy off-spin, Dilshan and Gayle makes an explosive opening pair for Bangalore.
5. Cheteshwar Pujara: He isn’t a hard-hitting batsman, but Cheteshwar Pujara provides strength and balance in the team. Even though he has hardly played in the IPL, you would want him to hold your innings together.
Having mentioned the above players, there are still a few others who have been assets for Bangalore:
1. Zaheer Khan: Zaheer Khan is one of the best seamer in India. With his lethal reverse swing, he has tormented batsmen all over the world. He recently made a good comeback to the Indian Test side and is looking much fitter. His presence in the side can help young bowlers.
2. Daniel Christian: A handy all-rounder from Australia, Dan Christian can adapt to different conditions and situations easily.
3. Ravi Rampaul: The West Indies pacer had a good 2013 IPL season for Bangalore. He has a good record in the Indian subcontinent. If all forms of cricket is combined, Rampaul has taken 26 wickets from nine matches in India. His highest ODI score of an unbeaten 86 was made in India. He also played a big role in West Indies ICC World T20 2012 title triumph.
Kings XI Punjab
Despite having some big players in their squad, Kings XI Punjab hasn’t really been able to live up to the expectations. With Adam Gilchrist retiring last season, there will be a big hole in the side. Yet there are players whom the owners are likely to hang on to. The players who are likely to retained are as following:
1. David Hussey: Known to be more a destructive batsman on his day, Hussey is also a match-winner like his elder brother. He was bought for US $1.4 million in 2011 and has more than 5,000 runs to his name in T20 cricket.
2. David Miller: The South African had an wonderful 2013 season with Punjab. He had a batting average of 59.71, scoring 418 runs from 12 matches. He provides strength to the middle-order and is a hard-hitter of the ball. His whirlwind ton against Bangalore last year has increased his reputation and shown what he is capable of.
3. Ryan Harris: He is a key bowler for any side, if he stays injury free. There is no substitute for quality and he brings that onto the table with his pace bowling.
4. Azhar Mahmood: He is one of the most successful T20 all-rounders in the world. Azhar can swing the ball both ways and is handy as a lower middle-order batsman. Hed helped Punjab win a couple of matches last season and is quite surely here to stay with them.
5. Piyush Chawla: Along with Ryan Harris, Piyush Chawla has been the highest wicket-taker for Punjab. Even though he is regarded as a leg-spinning all-rounder, Chawla is yet to perform with the bat. He has been a big asset for the Mohali based franchise.
There are few players in KXIP squad who have reputation of being match-winners. Some of them are:
1. Praveen Kumar: A lot of fans were disappointed when Praveen Kumar was ruled out of the ICC World Cup 2011. The Uttar Pradesh cricketer provides breakthroughs whenever the captain needs. He comes handy with the bat too, hitting a couple of big shots.
2. Mandeep Singh: Young Mandeep Singh has been one of the rising stars in Indian cricket. He is a powerful striker and an exceptional fielder. Young and fresh, Punjab may try to get him back as he has grown as a player during the previous two seasons. He was the Rising Star of the tournament in 2012.
3. Shaun Marsh: Even though he didn’t play much in 2013, Marsh has been one of the key figures for Punjab since the first season. To inject new and more powerful players, Punjab may not retain him at the outset but with the rights to match feature, there is a high possibility that they will try to get him back.
IPL auctions in the past have been full of surprises and one expect the same next year — probably more than ever before.
(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)
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