From left: Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja will continue being teammates © IANS
From left: Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina, and Ravindra Jadeja will continue being teammates © IANS

The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016 player draft was held on Tuesday. The two new teams, from Pune and Rajkot, got to choose five players respectively to give their team a core ahead of the player auction to be held in February 2016. Rajkot opted for Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, and Dwayne Bravo. The core team wears a remarkably similar look to Chennai Super Kings (CSK), with all but Faulkner having played for CSK till last season. Team Pune got to choose first, picking MS Dhoni to begin with. This meant that Rajkot could not opt for the former CSK captain, but that aside the team is almost a CSK reunion. One thing of note is that Rajkot opted to go the way of glamour rather than choosing dependability. READ: MS Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis: IPL 2016 draft gives Pune a strong core

Rajkot’s first pick in the draft was Raina. This was a smart move given Raina’s fantastic IPL record. He has scored by far the most runs in the eight-year history of the tournament, and missed scoring 400 runs on only one occasion (2015). It would not be a stretch to call him an IPL legend, given what he has achieved in the tournament. He has the explosive McCullum for backup, whose top-order exploits will be a huge source of excitement for Rajkot fans.

Perhaps the player Rajkot crowds will be happiest at watching will be local hero Jadeja, who has been in prime form over the last couple of months. They will hope he can continue his comeback trail to the national team and provide some explosive performances for his new IPL team, more so because the other famous current cricketer from Saurashtra — Cheteshwar Pujara — may not get to represent his hometown. READ: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum among players picked by Rajkot franchise for IPL 2016

To add to the all-round skills of Jadeja there is also the duo of Faulkner and Bravo. The fact that both are wonderful all-rounders cannot be disputed, and both have proven themselves in the past in IPL. However, when one looks at the five players Rajkot have chosen — Raina, Jadeja, McCullum, Faulkner, and Bravo — the immediate impression is that this is a team of mavericks without a lot of stability. Of course, it is still far too early to judge the team, but there is an inkling that the Rajkot team philosophy seems to lean more on flamboyancy than stability.

The Pune team, on the other hand, boasts of the likes of Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Steven Smith, and Faf du Plessis. Each of these players are reliable and have a calming aura about them. Rajkot looks to be more explosive, but they could have opted for an all-rounder less, and have gone for a Smith or a du Plessis. Of course, they may yet recruit some calm customers for IPL 2016, but till they do it seems like Rajkot is playing with fire. READ: MS Dhoni to play for Pune in IPL 2016

(Shiamak Unwalla, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek who loves cricket more than cricketers. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)