As expected, Indian Premier League franchises have retained their top-performers for the seventh edition of the tournament. There were no surprises when Chennai Super Kings retained skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Suresh Raina, Royal Challengers Bangalore held on to Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli, Rajasthan Royals kept their stars Shane Watson and Ajinkya Rahane while Mumbai Indians retained Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard. The rules, of course, will force several top performers like Mumbai's Mitchell Johnson and Pragyan Ojha into the auction pool. In a 'game' limited by numbers, there will always be 'winners' and 'losers'. For example, Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen and David Warner will be the biggest losers after Delhi Daredevils decided to axe their entire team. The Delhi team management explaining the decision said in a press statement: "It was the unanimous decision of the management with the focus of building a fresh team that the fans would be proud of."
Every team was allowed to retain a maximum of five players. Mumbai, Chennai and Rajasthan opted to make full use of their retention quota. The three teams have spent Rs 39 crores out of a total budget of Rs 60 crores -- Rs 12.5 crores was allocated for the first player retained, 9.5 for second, 7.5 for third, 5.5 for fourth and 3.5 for fifth. This means the remaining 22 players will now have to be bought from a 'paltry' remaining sum of Rs 21 crore!
Every team has gone in with a strategy. Teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore - who have retained three power-hitters -- seemed to focus on keeping more in their purse for the February 12-13 auctions. The option of using the 'joker card(s)' will also be crucial.
Here's a look at teams and their retained superstars:
Chennai Super Kings: Two-time IPL winners put its faith in three players who have never played for any other team - skipper MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin. Joining them once again, are T20 specialist Ravindra Jadeja and West Indies' all-rounder Dwayne Bravo. Chennai's preference for Bravo over the likes of Michael Hussey and Albie Morkel shows the importance of genuine all-rounders. Dropping Murali Vijay into the auction pool though can prove to be a gamble.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: The franchise has chosen to put its money where its strength lies - explosive batting. Retaining Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers therefore was a no-brainer. Still armed with a chunky purse, expect RCB to be one of the most aggressive bidders during the auctions.
Rajasthan Royals: In the past years, this side has lost two skippers - Shane Warne and Rahul Dravid - to retirements. Having all-rounder Shane Watson, therefore, made perfect sense. Apart from the Aussie, the team also chose to retain pacer James Faulkner, opener Ajinkya Rahane, young-star Sanju Samson and the latest entrant to India's ODI squad - Stuart Binny.
Mumbai Indians: The IPL champions have utilized their full quota of five retentions. Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Raydu and Lasith Malinga will form the core of the team once again. Mitchell Johnson and Pragyan Ojha will have to await their fate in the auction. For Johnson, his immense Ashes success was no guarantee to seal a MI berth.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir, who wants to end his IPL career in Shah Rukh Khan's team, has been retained. West Indian spinner Sunil Narine had been retained too. KKR will spend big during the auction and will also have the option to exercise the joker's card twice.
Kings XI Punjab: South African middle-order batsman David Miller, who struck a sensational century last season, has been retained by the franchise. The Preity Zinta-owned team has also kept hold off uncapped Indian batsman Manan Vohra. By retaining just two players, KXIP are quite clearly keen on overhauling their squad.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Have retained their two big guns, Indian opener Shikhar Dhawan and South African speedster Dale Steyn.
Delhi Daredevils: No retention for Delhi as they look for a complete overhaul to their squad.
|Chennai Super Kings||MS Dhoni||India |
|Dwayne Bravo||West Indies|
|Mumbai Indians||Lasith Malinga||Sri Lanka |
|Kieron Pollard||West Indies|
|Ambati Rayudu ||India|
|Rajasthan Royals||Shane Watson||Australia |
|James Faulkner ||Australia|
|Ajinkya Rahane ||India |
|Stuart Binny ||India (uncapped) |
|Sanju Samson||India (uncapped)|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||Chris Gayle||West Indies |
|Ab de Villiers||South Africa |
|Kings XI Punjab||David Miller||South Africa|
|Manan Vohra ||India (uncapped) |
|Sunrisers Hyderabad||Dale Steyn ||South Africa |
|Kolkata Knight Riders||Gautam Gambhir ||India|
|Sunil Narine||West Indies|
|No. of players retained in advance of the Player Auction||Salary Cap left for the 2014 Player Auction Rs. crore||No. of RTM for the 2014 Player Auction|
|Chennai Super Kings||5||21||1* |
|Kings XI Punjab||2||43.5||2 |
|Kolkata Knight Riders||2||38||2 |
|Mumbai Indians||5||21||1 |
|Rajasthan Royals||5||22.5||1 |
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||3||30.5||1|